Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Are We Best?

Doesn't everyone say their product or service is best? Doesn't this restaurant say they make the better pizza than their competition in town? A bank says they have the best customer service in town. A deli in Tennessee says they make better Reuben sandwiches than delis in New York City. A restaurant in a 3-house town in Montana says they have the best food for 1,000 miles, which is quite a spectacular claim because there are a lot of major cities within 1,000 miles that have pretty good restaurants. (Of course, as you get closer, the sign changes to "best food in 100 miles" which is a little more credible.)

Are any of those really the best pizza, bank, or Reuben? Are any of those the best for all a pizza, bank or Reuben are supposed to be? Or just the best at one aspect of the product or service (and it's too long or complicated to explain in an ad)?

You might say your product is the best. You can test your product and benchmark your service against the competition's. Product or service performance is only one aspect of being the best. Appearance is also important. Ease of use and user interface are also parameters. There are numerous dimensions to being best: price, delivery, service, technology and quality. Some of those dimensions related to the price create the value that the customer experiences. A shirt may have 2 sleeves and buttons but if it doesn't look good, or is incorrectly sized, you can't wear it on a date. It doesn't have good value for the customer.

Look at your product or service compared to the competition. How would you rate it for overall value: A, B, C or F? Is there a "wow" factor? If you display your product or demonstrate your service at a trade show along with all of your competition, your customers need to say, "Wow!"

If they can say, "Wow!" then you may have won. I've had that experience and it can drive your organization for a year to regenerate that "wow" response the next year.

Here's another challenge: try to get that response with stock product (not special show samples polished and primped for display), and randomly selected company reps for the service demonstration. Can you still get the "wow"? If not, why not? Identify and fix those things.

Good luck!

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