Uniqueness - Is This Not Okay?
As I travel around the country, meeting with various service business owners and speaking to different groups, I don't see much in uniqueness in businesses as I used to. It seems as if everyone subscribes to the same methods of doing things because some guru from the 1980's said it was how you become successful in that particular line of business or a they see competitors doing something and they just follow suit. This is especially true in residential service businesses. I've seen companies buy software that doesn't work, and is way too expensive, simply because they believe it is what everyone else is buying, and whether or not it works well and meets the specific needs of their business. It is almost as if they were proud to jump on board the "stupid train" because everyone else is.
I've been into businesses who have changed the way they hire, train, promote and compensate their employees because of the trends of what they see happening in other similar organizations around the country. Then to wonder why people are resigning and going to competitors. I've also seen the focus on quality and customer loyalty has changed from creating long term relationships to "get all you can while you've got there attention" mentality. This, with no concern for customer complaints or negative reviews online. As a result, new vendors have been popping up that fix online reputations for a fee. This practice annoys the heck out of me. How about getting to the root of the problem, you are doing things that people do not like, try fixing that!
As a former manager of one of the largest residential service companies in the world, my number one focus is to make sure our customers were completely happy with our products and service, no matter what. Today the focus is on finding a way to hide the truth from the public. This trend keeps growing, unfortunately.
I never cared for the idea of starting a business to be like everyone else. I started my business because I am different from everyone else. I sincerely believe most people think the same way when they start out. Unfortunately, they eventually get into a rut and give in to what seems easy, just going ahead and doing what everyone else is doing. Eventually, even though they really know this is not what they should be doing, these business owners actually convince themselves and their employees, that they are just following "Best Practices" of the industry. "Everyone else is doing it and making good money at it and still in business", is the comment I heard at a recent conference. "It's just how things are today", this same person said.
I've even heard some companies screen their customer phone calls through a series of questions. Thus allowing them to schedule visits with clients who meet the criteria of a potential big sale immediately and put off everyone else for several days. This series of questions are endorsed and made available to members of certain consulting and coaching groups who, for a significant membership fee, show businesses how to make more money faster. With no regard for the customer or potential long term negative results.
This to me is wrong! What would customers think if they found out your company was blowing them off because you weren't valuable enough right at this moment? Forget what the so called marketing expert who made a killing twenty years ago said. This is 2017, people do not buy the way they used to. People miss the idea of a local company they trust being there when they need them. People do not like being sold something they do not need, employees hate being pushed to become sales people when they are really service people. The customer wants to be in control of the buying decision and will resent a business forever when they realize they spent way more than they should have because of a high pressure sales experience.
Hey! All of you service companies who believe you have to follow "Best Practices" of what the "super rich and successful" business owners are doing. Trying being who you really are. If you don't know how to get back there, I'll show you how. Let's start doing what is right, not what people tell you and make you believe will work better because you may believe it is a "Best Practice" of the industry.
“Being a one of a kind means we are automatically the best in the world at what we do.” ― Victor WIlliamson