Something I love about racing and riding my bike is that there is so much to learn in the process of trying to go fast. There are so many options in the way of choosing bikes, components, methods to training, clothes, nutrition, rest, race preparation, the list is very long. So whenever there is an opportunity to meet some seriously fast professional bike racers, I take full advantage. One panel that assembled in Denver a few months ago included some top-pros and former national champions from the U.S. I asked them the question: "What one thing do you feel played the biggest part in your success in cycling?" I was pretty impressed with the answers. You'd pay Steven Covey thousands of dollars to say the same stuff (since these can be applied to anyone):
* Find one or two people who you really trust. (Coach or mentor.)
* Make goals, short- and long-term ones that can be measured. Make sure to
accomplish each of them.
* Track your progress to reaching your goals.
* Eliminate/minimize distractions.
* Surround yourself with people stronger than yourself.
Dove is a Unilever brand. Axe is also a Unilever brand. Dove celebrates the beauty of woman. Axe portrays woman as man hungry beasts clawing over each other to get to their prize. So is Unilever being disengenious? Do we care as customers? Should we care?
In a product industry, authenticity may not be a factor in the customer's decision-making process. However, in a service industry, this is far from the truth. A lack of authenticity will kill a service model as customers quickly realize you are more interested in the dollar than serving them.
My first post here and I am looking forward to meeting new online members and forming a community. My current capacity is Social Media Director. We are a small company delving into the world of blogging and are hoping to make an imprint on our customers and the industries we touch.
But, I digress, my original position here was customer support and thus it is fitting that my first post be about customer service. Being a small company, customer support is our mantra. We are passionate individuals that enjoy our work and helping people and it shows in our customer service.
Now to the point, I called my internet service provider (name withheld to protect the innocent) to fix my dead DSL line. The first thing the automated operator told me was that I owed money. I was then presented with two options – pay my bill by credit card over the phone or pay by check over the phone. That was it. No other options for help. OK, so I payed my bill and lo and behold, I now had other options to choose. I listened to the options and finally got to the end of the list. "Press 9 (yes 9) if you are calling about something else". Finally, I am getting somewhere – I pressed 9 and was immediately taken back to the beginning of the recording that listed all my options. To make a short story even shorter, I fixed my internet myself and was forced to pay my bill. What a wonderful experience.
So what is my point? When you are a small company like us in a commodity industry, customer support is an excellent way to distinguish yourself and remove yourself from the commodity paradigm. If you have something of value to offer above and beyond what your competitors can offer, you are no longer a commodity.