So what is involved in escaping the trappings of a narrow customer service approach to embrace a more comprehensive and dynamic business model? In order to give a fair answer to this question, we first must take a new look at the common thinking behind traditional business models.
A New Look at Traditional Business Models
The "old or traditional way" of viewing businesses in terms of customer service is that a business produces or offers a product, service, idea, or sometimes a combination. This view presents more of an absolute separation of one or all three of these concepts from the others. For example, a product-based business has little or no concern or emphasis on services or vice-versa. The "new approach" I'm presenting in this article takes a slightly different angle or perspective on the direction of a business by proposing that all three concepts are a part of every business model and we need to think in terms of degrees instead of absolute separation.
A Brief Lesson on Trajectory and Destination
We know from aviation that a plane's destination is altered greatly over time by even a slight adjustment in direction. This can happen even by a few degrees over an extended time period. In the same way, when we view our business in terms having "degrees of emphasis" in the product, service, and idea outputs instead of having an absolute separation somewhere along the line, we can change our whole business model over time and our customer's overall experience with our business.
My Personal Experience
Recently I had to make a change in one of my health care providers after being loyal for many years. The impetus to this change was their neglect of my financial concerns because of their "hard focus" on the health care service they provided. In other words, the doctors were so focused on their service that they neglected the idea that their patients needed knowledge ahead of time regarding bills some of which went up to a hundred or more dollars per visit. When this issue was mentioned, one of the doctors just shrugged their shoulders and gave a response relaying that we need to "just pay our bills on our own" without any warning of upcoming cost or payment setup.
Every Business Conveys An Idea Behind Their Name
From the previously mentioned personal example, what kind of idea do you think patients associate with this business? How can this idea be changed by having a more comprehensive view and practice with regard to customer service? If we think of a business product in more abstract terms to encompass overall end results, what would be the final product of this business be when evaluated in terms of health services AND billing practices? Great health with financial stress?
Revisiting Balancing the Profits of a Business with the Interest of the Customers
Every business needs to know how to best help their customers while maintaining a profit. A few key points to keep in mind are:
- What can a business do profitably vs. giving referrals?
- How can a business adapt and grow to a changing marketplace and when does it need to shift, pivot, or move on to a more profitable venture?
In summation, a fair amount of businesses have traditionally defined themselves strictly in terms of offering a product, service, or idea when the reality is that most businesses are a combination of these three concepts that vary by degree. When embracing and practicing a more comprehensive view of customer service in our business, we can better serve and keep our current customers by giving them an overall better experience and hopefully add new customers through positive referrals. We always need to balance our business profits with customers' interests by being clear about our role as soon as possible.
So what emphasis does your business have in regard to what you offer your customers? What can your business not do for customers because of concerns for profit? Can you offer referrals? How can you improve your customers' overall experience by escaping the trappings of a narrow customer service approach to embrace a more comprehensive and dynamic business model?