Beating the competition through service differentiation is a topic that fascinates me deeply. Product is simply not enough.
Apple is known for making great products, but their whole service chain is equally impressive. I have a number of friends who tell good things about how Apple’s in-store customer care reps have resolved their iPhone problems. These friends of mine will naturally give Apple repeat business.
Businesses use different strategies to differentiate themselves from the competition. RyanAir doesn’t try to be Lufthansa for a reason. Both are profitable, both fly people from point A to B. Their difference make them profitable as they fill different market needs.
The greatest differentiation challenge arises when you are competing for the same market, using a nearly identical product, in the same place, at roughly the same price. This is a challenge facing all businesses from telecom operators, to hotels and airlines.
Some would argue that it is then your people matter more than ever, and I am prepared to agree. People, processes and physical evidence to be precise. What do you think?