Don’t focus on being essential, proactive or anything else. Focus on being the best at what you do. Customer service is the only place left to beat your competitors.
There’s a force in most industries to be seen as a necessity. Companies want to be needed and to be essential in the daily routine of their customers. Just sit back for a moment and think about all the services you pay for that you don’t think you will get rid of, because you use them so often it has become a part of your daily, weekly or monthly routine, be it in your personal life or in the day-to-day workings in your company. Some of us take vitamins in order to be proactive and not get sick, but most, if not all will take medicine when we get sick. This analogy is what drives companies to be seen as the medicine, not a vitamin.
Very few services are in their essence essential. And for most companies who view themselves as essential, alternatives exist. Embracing what your company does without trying to be something you’re not will keep you from overpromising and under delivering. Being a vitamin and preaching yourself as a proactive service is only one of many ways to go, but to market yourself as “the extra mile” is even better. For every company out there, there’s a horde of competitors, and setting yourself apart from the competition happens in the less crowded extra mile. Competition drives us all to up our game and force us to perform better. If you don’t keep up with your competitors they will pass you and leave you ass up in the dust.
As companies are becoming more competitive and catching up with each other, very few factors actually separate them, be it price, product or service, it’s mostly similar. One of the few ways to outperform your competitors is to focus on customer service and differentiate yourself from the crowd. Make it personal for both yourself and your customers. As time goes by, customers will have more options to choose from, and those choices will mostly be based on who they like, rather than product, service or price. Show your customers that you care more about them than anyone else. A sale is all well and good, but creating and having loyal customers is where the real money lies, and loyalty comes from personal connections and real interactions. This is how you do it.