A sustainable Competitive Advantage (CA) gives a company an opportunity to focus on growth and increase its sales and profits relative to its competitors. Apple, for example, has a Commanding Strategy of building products and services within an ecosystem that constantly reinforces its incredible brand value – high quality, excellent user-focused design, superior resistance to cyberattacks, etc. As long as it continues to build products and services based on this strategy, it will maintain its leadership role. Recognizing the power of companies to build sustainable CAs, we launched Commanding Strategies to help companies do so, through our workshops and consulting services.
Therefore it pains us when we watch companies who, once committed to a Commanding Strategy which led to growth based on superior service within its defined niche, begin losing it. Imagine you’re a bank who marshals its resources and designs a supporting structure to better service retail customers through convenience and service. What happens when you start cutting corners: it takes six months to process a request for credit cards; calls made to, and hand-written notes left for, branch representatives aren’t answered. All the ads in the world proclaiming superior service will have virtually no their power as the social media of experience, as disappointed customers share real experiences… through blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
The lesson is clear: get out of the silos of sales vs. marketing vs. customer service, and listen carefully to customers’ current experiences. If you’re not getting them, then ask for feedback, frequently. Mistakes can happen, as everyone knows; but the sign of a successful company is repairing the damage as fast as possible and ensuring that it’s not repeated. Otherwise , one customer will tell lots of other people – and what was once a Commanding Strategy that could have allowed you to dominate your industry niche will be lost.
Have you had such experiences as a customer or as a business owner? Share with us he experiences and how they were or weren’t resolved. Let’s help the companies that deserve to be winners maintain and grow their potentially sustainable CA rather than lose it.