I am fortunate to be part of a fundamental change in the way consumers perceive products and services in the world we are today. Excellence in service has become a requirement, and not an option. Businesses that thrive in today’s world are those that have figured out a great and cost effective way to deliver outstanding value and be human about it, putting the customer’s experience at the forefront of service delivery and in turn making it a competitive advantage.
A huge driver of this fundamental shift is the knowledge economy. Today’s consumer is armed with lots of resources that they can use to take informed decisions on what products or services to consume. Not only are they armed with resources to research, they are also armed with resources to share the experiences they have had.
As a result, the options are practically limitless for the typical consumer, and the major differentiator from their perspective is the service that comes with it, which is really just human. I read somewhere on my waltz through life that people will almost always choose to buy a product or service from people who they consider their friends when faced with decisions of that nature.
Another driver is the reduction in barriers to entry into almost any product or service we have today, and this will continue to be the case as new technology like 3D printing, platforms, utility software and frameworks are being developed. Time to market for a great web application today is as little as 6 hours, for applications that could have taken 6 – 12 months as little as 5 years ago.
The point being, anyone can create a new product or service in less amount of time than they previously could. So, the true people who can hold on and continue to grow their business without the risk of disruption are those who can create a service culture within their organization that is delightful and is difficult to replicate. This has to do with people and cannot be ‘coded’ or ‘programmed’. It has to be carefully crafted and driven to commitment across the company, from top leadership to the front line.
The why? The only companies that will make it in our evolving knowledge economy are those that create a unique human connection with their patrons, and this can only be done on the front line. Now more than ever, creating the right type of culture, cemented with the company values and a genuine display of commitment to upholding those values across the board are what make the difference. That is what enables your team live up to the human experience you want your patrons to have when they engage with your organization.