It's a stunning thought mentioned by a friend and reader Matt Coniglio. After reading about my DISH Network Nightmare he said, "This could be a serious downfall for America since we are moving into the service economy from the manufacturing economy."
Matt may not know it...but he, just uncovered the root of the issue. And this critical lesson is key for any of us who say, "...service to our customers is important."
As our nation moved from a manufacturing economy to a service economy we, for the most part, failed to change one critical dynamic in the culture.
You see, in a manufacturing economy "service" is not an issue. Goods are manufactured for the consumer based on what the consumer desires. Little thought is given to the service side of the business: "Look, he asked for a self-weasel winding torque inducer and that's what we made!"
However, in most cases, the Manufacturing Economy Mentality continues to exist in the Service Economy.
Confused? Hang in there...
Look around you. We are flooded by business that provide service and yet...when we get "serviced" well by that business we are shocked. Why? Because even service based companies too often think like manufacturers. Here is an example...
There is a family owned chain of department stores headquartered here in Iowa by the name of Von Maur. On the outside it would appear that their business is selling clothing, shoes, jewelery, etc. But that is not what they really do. Their mentality is selling service first...the sale of the goods will come later.
The "sales people" actually engage the customer. They actually talk with the customer, laugh with the customer and will do just about anything to be helpful. After the sale they will often send you a thank you card! The entire culture, from "free gift wrapping" to a credit card that charges NO INTEREST...is stunning.
Or so we would think. It's only stunning because most of the department stores still work from the "manufacturing mentality". Head over to JC Penny or Sears or (sob) even Yonkers:
"You want pants? We got pants!"
That is why "service" companies like DISH Network don't give a rip about service. As much as they would like you to think they are providing a "service" they are not. They are providing you with a commodity and if you don't get the service they promise...they don't care...there is another fish in another town that will buy their commodity.
So...what has this got to do with you and your business? Everything!!!
When you really think about it, we all sell a commodity of sorts. At our advertising agency we sell ideas that produce results. But...if we do not correctly service our client base. Guess what? Somebody else will.
Matt sells advertising space in a magazine called FASTLINE. It is a commodity. (Believe me...there are other magazines selling advertising space.) If Matt or you or I do not bring along real customer service. (The key word is R-E-A-L and "real" is what the customer perceives is real. YOU do not make the rules here.) POOF! The customer is gone.
Moving mentally from the manufacturing model to a real service model is critical. Have you?
What do you think?
Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we really love this stuff and we've got our pants on.