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Should you answer a customers question about the competition?

Posted by Linda Chambers on Fri, Jul 11, 2014 @ 12:28 PM

I saw this come up in a Travel blog (Disney vs. Universal). Sould employees of one be allowed or banned from answering a question asked about the other? And thought it can easily relate to our business as well since it comes up for us at least a couple of times a week.

Now obviously you are not going to know your competitions actual prices, even if you do, you do not need to answer that one but simple questions should be answered as just good form and quality customer service.

Also you should try very hard not to bad mouth the competition nor give info you do not know as fact, just an easy I do not know would be fine.

For instance I am asked all the time if some other companies specific chemical is as good or better than one of ours or vice versa.

Question I usually answer by finding out and going over the products ingredients, their strengths, weaknesses, and how they work for the job the customer is wanting to get done. If they already have a product on hand that should do the job whether it is ours or not I will tell them. That is just good customer service and normally that caller will appreciate that and think of us again the next time they need a product we have that they need and will make a purchase.

It would do us no good to tell the caller they need our specific product to do the job right, then once they get it find out by the label, MSDS or other ways that they already had an item just as good, so they just wasted time and money waiting for ours. That contractor would most likely never want to buy from us again and would bad mouth us all over the place.

Same with your customer and the competition. If a customer asks if so and so also soft washes? or some one told them that using bleach is bad, or why are you more than so and so? Just honestly answer the question with what you know, educated them on the pro's and con's of a certain method or why your price also comes with added benefits and be ready to list them.

That customer will be much more likely to go ahead and use you and feel good about hiring you, your company and about passing along a great review to their friends and family.

Just like what the writer of the travel blog said. "Guests won't think less of Disney if its cast members answer questions about Universal. Quite the opposite: it reflects well on Disney when its cast members answer questions even when Disney doesn't stand to make buck from the response. Great customer service is work that creates value for a guest. If you're working only to create value for your company, you're not providing great customer service. But smart business managers know that if they and their employees provide great customer service, their business often ends up making more money in the long run than companies that put themselves ahead of their customers."

Be the bigger, better company and answer any question your customer asks, even if it is about the competition.

Tags: customer service, added value service, competition

Competitor Comparison

Posted by Linda Chambers on Thu, Dec 15, 2011 @ 09:30 AM

Do a Competitor Comparison Chart to see where your business stands in your market.

First list who your competitors are by name and address. Do they compete with you in just one area, for just one service or type of customer? Do you only have competition with one other business for one service by five for another? You might want to switch your service emphasis more to the one with less competition for a possible larger profit?

Not all of you competitors may be easily recognizable. They may not be listed in the yellow pages, have a physical office, or even have applied for a business license that you can reference.

Look in your own mail for coupons for those advertising to do your services, keep your eyes open for signs, vehicles, other print advertisements. Check on line by doing a search by service name and location name. For example: "Roof Cleaning" + "Snellville, GA". I just did and got over 4,000 results, basic "pressure washing" was even higher, 6,780. But more specific services like "exterior house washing" + "Snellville, GA", got only 49 results. So who's name keeps coming up? Those are your competitors.

Just because some may be small does not mean that they are not a threat to you. Nor does the fact that your area might have some big players mean that there is not enough business for you all. What you need to find out is what each player is doing so that you can do it better and gain a larger and hopefully a more profitable share of what is out there.

Here is an example analysis grid. Make changes to headings and cell sizes as needed. For example: Many may not need a selection row. Fill out the me section to compare. You may also have to break down some cells in to sub cells, like "Service" in to multiple services. You might also first fill in what the competitors have to be better able to fill in ours to match "apples to apples". Do not be afraid if you find that you have something no one else does. That may not be bad at all but in fact a great marketing and value point for new customers.

Table 1: Competitive Analysis 

 

FACTOR

 

Me  

 

Strength   

 

Weakness

 

Competitor A

 

Competitor B

 

Competitor C

Importance

to customer

Service

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Price

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quality

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Selection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Products

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reliability

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stability

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Expertise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Company reputation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Location

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appearance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sales method

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Credit policies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertising

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After you finish filing it out you will have a better understanding of who your competition is, what a customer may see in them and how to improve your postion to these customers to gain their business.

 

Tags: business plan, competition, analysis

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