Why Talking About Quality or Customer Service Makes Your Customers Yawn (find something else to say)

Let’s be clear. The days of saying you deliver either superior quality or superior customer service to secure yourself any competitive advantage are gone.

In today’s market, the competition is so ferocious that the customer now expects that you will deliver a quality product and provide decent customer service. These are a given – not things to set you apart.

If you don’t deliver these as standard practice, you won’t survive – let alone prosper.

As fast as the quality bubble grew, it popped.

Quality used to be a subjective concept – it meant different things to different people. That was until the academics, gurus (like Dr Edward Deming) and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) set about defining it to make it tangible.

Today it means nothing more than the product or service does what it is supposed to do. It is fit for purpose.

In the definition of quality there is no mention about the grade of raw materials used; the timeliness (or otherwise) of product production; the market price; whether the product is aesthetically pleasing (or ugly as ever); the emotive appeal of the brand or anything else.

Nope, quality is a very staid concept. Quality means fitness for purpose – in other words, it technically performs its job.

Here is the reality check. If you do not exchange or offer a refund against a product that is not quality (in other words it does not do what you say it will do) there is legal recourse that the consumer can take against you.

In most countries, including Australia, government has a legislative framework that outlaws the selling of goods and services that do not perform in the way you say they do.

Yep. Quality is a given. And you have no choice but to deliver it. And this doesn’t make you any different to any competitor in the eyes of the consumer which is why it can’t be used for positioning.

The early to mid 1990s will long be remembered for the flurry in interest in quality management systems (and getting certified as complying with ISO9000 standards became a business essential or B2B customers simply wouldn’t buy from you).

But as fast as that quality bubble grew, so too it popped; once everyone was certified, there ceased to be a point of difference between suppliers. The business buyer got used to quality certification being a given, and moved right on to the next big thing.

Customer service is done to death, Boring with a Big B.

A quick “customer service” search on Amazon returns more than 5,000 books espousing the best practices in customer service; whether its 101 training tips in blow-your-customer-away customer service; Super Service and how to achieve it with the author’s must-know Seven Keys; customer service for Dummies; and on and on it goes.

Customer service as a topic is done to death.

And the books on the subject blur into one another – since there is no clear point of difference between them.

If we accept that to prosper today you need to stand out from the crowd; this means you have to be different. To be different you have to say things other people are not saying. So this means you need to find a competitor that’s prepared to stand up publicly and roar to the crowd “I deliver lousy customer service!”

Of course. once you find that competitor, you can position yourself against them (Remember the positioning rules? Do the opposite of your competitor…). Good luck finding them.

The bottom line is that since everyone says the customer is king and that their business delivers great/top-notch/better customer service (whether they do or not is a different issue) – how can you stand out from the crowd if you are yet another voice saying the same thing?

Don’t you be the Dummie. Saying you deliver good customer service does not make you stand out from the crowd and every time you waffle on about how it makes you special, you keep your customer yawning. They’ve heard it all before.

Come up with something different to say.

But aren’t quality and customer service the hallmarks of good business?

Yes, quality and customer service are the hallmarks of good business – but they cannot be used to make you stand out from the crowd. At least – not directly.

Look at ways to position your business that implies quality and customer service – rather than states it.

Let’s look at examples of ways that imply these things rather than state them:

1. Statements of endorsement by people that matter (and good old testimonials):

“By Appointment To Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11”

Goddards Silver Cleaners and Lea and Perrins are both examples of brands carrying the royal warrant. And geez, if it’s good enough for Lizzie; it’s good enough for me.

2. Statements that reposition your competitors:

“Engineered like no other car.” (Mercedes Benz).

3. Statements about product attributes:

“At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock.”

4. Statements that explain your heritage:

“Proudly serving customers since 1896.” (The fact you’ve been around that long says something about how well you conduct your business.)

5. Statements of leadership:

“Australia’s fastest growing (whatever)” (The fact that everyone is buying yours means it must be good.)

Fiona Mackenzie is an experienced senior business and marketing strategist from Melbourne, Australia. She has a MBA and industry experience across telecommunications and professional services and more. Check out her blog archive at www.fionamackenzie.com.au

Debt Settlement Tips – Legal Way To Never Pay Back Half Of Your Credit Card Debt (B)

If we look at the present conditions we will come to know that the economic crisis has boosted up far enough causing instability in the present scenario. People are looking confused over the conditions as nowadays the trend of using liquid money has changed into plastic money like credit cards, debit cards etc. Life has come to such a stage where luxuries have become necessities and people have got excess burden of payables. In order to provide an effective and appropriate way to payback the debts, the Government has come up with Debt Settlement Tips to help the suffering citizens.

There are many ways to overcome high level of debts legally and a large number of debt relief options have been opened by the Government in this regard. Firstly, we will take a look at the option of bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is a process through which you can eliminate your debts but you have to pay hard for it. Due to bad credentials, you will not have any loan sanctioned for 8-10 years. The financial structure would be ruptured and would have an adverse effect on both lenders and borrowers and it will not be beneficial at any level. To overcome such an obstacle, it is better to avoid this option and look into other debt settlement tips provided by Government.

Everyone wants to get a chance to come out of debts in an appropriate way and have their hands cleaned in legitimate manners. This is their chance to never payback half of the loan legally through debt settlement. You have to go through a proper channel by hiring a debt negotiation firm and negotiating with creditors in order to get rid of the debts.

Opting for the debt relief option is one of the best Debt settlement tips that can really provide relief to consumers. This option provides you a legal option to never pay back up to half of your payables. This include series of process starting from hiring a reputed and well known debt settlement company that can access lenders in an appropriate manner and not only tell them the situation of their borrowers but also negotiate with them. In this way, this debt settlement tip works out to do well and form up a debt relief option that will go up to the mark. Through proper debt negotiation system, an appropriate position is cleared. Now it is clear that through negotiation, debt settlement can lead up to 50% reduction in the outstanding dues.

Protect Your Intellectual Property With Help From an IP Lawyer

While it might be easy to consider how something physical such as a corkscrew could be patented, it is perhaps less easy to grasp the concept of intellectual property. But the protection of an idea which you have developed is just as important, should that development be contained within a new process or piece of software, or in a brand that inspires people to carry on buying your product range as a result.

International law now has methods of protecting those with bright ideas. The 1967 convention that established the World Intellectual Property Organisation argues that intellectual property protection “shall include rights relating to:

– literary, artistic and scientific works

– performances, phonograms, broadcasts etc

– inventions in all fields of human endeavor

– scientific discoveries

– industrial designs

– service marks, commercial names, designations and trademarks

– protection against unfair competition and it also enforces all other IP rights resulting from the industrial, scientific, artist or literary activities.”

There are several legal avenues to follow, depending on what type of intellectual property you are trying to protect. Copyright can also apply to art work, books and scientific publications; and to performances from artists, phonograms and broadcasts.

Copyright is also used by companies which want to protect their public brand name, which has a high value in relation to bringing in custom. Another method of doing this is to use trademarking to protect the brand wording.

Intellectual property as a concept can apply equally to new inventions as to new designs. A individualist idea which takes current technology one step further into the future is often patenable, which will protect it from being copied by others. As an example, James Dyson’s concept for a better vacuum cleaner, using cyclonic technology, has been protected by the registering of patents; these have enabled Dyson to defend its concept against other vacuum cleaner companies who tried to copy the technology and introduce similar machines of their own.

An early consultation with an IP lawyer will establish the best way to protect your idea or concept against being copied by others. The fact that you will have sought protection, before showcasing your idea to the wider market, will give others who believe they were working on the same idea/project the opportunity to come forward.

Debt Settlement Tips – Legal Way to Never Pay Back Half of Your Credit Card Debt

The conversion of the liquidating money in to the plastic money such as the credit cards and the debit cards has facilitated the people by making their purchases and selling very easy similarly it has created too much stress on their users also. The extensive use of credit cards has caused a lot of loan problems for their users for eliminating which many debt settlement tips are operating in the interest of the debtors which you may track in this article and can know the legal way to never pay back half of your credit card bills.

Government has proposed so many relief options to get away from the loan problems. First of all we will discuss about the bankruptcy. Bankruptcy provisions are very problematic by which you can get the relief from your present difficulties. By adopting this method you are restricted to take any financial assistance from the banks or other institutes for minimum 7 years. As every person wants a realistic relief with the surety of future security therefore bankruptcy is forbidden by the new loan FTC laws. Other relief option in which you don’t need to pay in full to your creditor is the debt settlement.

In the debt settlement you negotiate with your creditor and try to compel him for a handsome discount in your liabilities by using the legal tactics. You may negotiate yourself with the creditor but to hire the legal relief attorney is a good debt settlement tip. The experts and the professionals of these attorneys may provide you with a 50 to 60 percent reduction in your liabilities. But if you want a legitimate result then a good reputed firm should be your lawyer who negotiate after a full preparation for handling the queries arisen by your creditor during the settlement meeting and can release your loan problems.

So By following the debt settlement tips of adopting the relief programs you become able to pay partially to your creditor instead of paying in full.