In this post and the two that follow, I’m going to share a straightforward approach to increasing profits that most of the companies I encounter fail to exploit. Implementation is within the reach of small and medium sized companies and the potential rewards should grab the attention of CEOs.
Most businesses with customizable products and services have a discovery, customer care or project management process to design and deliver the solution, including companies in the construction, manufacturing, IT, architecture, legal services, medical practice, events, transportation and many other industries.
IT companies meet with customers to discover needs and design solutions, event planners work hard to capture and deliver on client expectations, and manufacturers design equipment to customer specifications which must be identified and agreed upon in advance.
Just about any company offering a product with a service component will tell you that the solutions they recommend are unique to the needs of each client they serve. Though true, the means by which they design and implement the solution are almost always totally replicable.
Recognize the Opportunity
If you are in a business selling a product with a service component and you have a...
- Discovery process by which you diagnose client needs and formulate a recommended solution
- Project management or customer care process in which you define steps or milestones to complete the project
then you already have processes in place that can be standardized, packaged, named and branded as a key point of differentiation.
I have applied this approach successfully to companies in the custom and semi-custom residential construction space but the principles are transferrable to other industries.
Look for my next post where I discuss these examples in more detail:
- Logistics - UPS branded supply chain management
- iCare – IT managed services discovery process
- The Windward Way – Custom home building
Your service brand is a promise you make to your prospects, clients or customers that they value and that differentiates you from your competition.
When it comes down to it, service companies, such as law firms, accounting firms and consulting firms, and companies that resell commoditized products are, to varying degrees, indistinguishable from their competitors in terms of the products and services they provide.
The intangibility and complexity of their services, commoditization, inconsistent service delivery and front-line employee/consumer interactions constitute some of the challenges these companies face as they seek to build preference for their offerings.
Most don’t realize that naming, branding and "productizing" key processes afford them an excellent positioning platform and branding opportunity, as well as the added benefit of defining and standardizing internal processes, enhancing the business' ability to scale.
Branding your service process can be the key to gaining a competitive edge and enabling faster growth.
- Branding processes creates preference, adding value that customers are willing to pay for—confidence, familiarity, predictability, trust, improved experience and higher service delivery quality.
- Increased value translates to higher prices, customer loyalty and an improved bottom line.
- Standardizing processes increases efficiency, focuses marketing activity and enables the business to scale more easily.
When a potential client says, "We are considering working with your firm. How would we get started?” Which sounds more compelling?
"Great. We’ll schedule a meeting to assess your specific needs."
"Great. We’ll guide you through our proprietary and exclusive approach, iCare IT Strategy Planning, to create your optimized solution.”
Read my next post to learn more about how some different types of businesses use the process branding approach successfully.
A well-defined and executed brand is both a potent competitive weapon and an internal unifying force.