Chris Kranky

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We’re good, just trust us

Chris KoehnckeChris Koehncke

The CEO/founder was personally involved in a re-write of their company’s website. Like every CEO, he was an expert at marketing, but he asked me for some help anyways.

One of my first questions was, “What are your competitive advantages?“. He beamed proudly. “Chris, we have great service, our customers just love us“. Fantastic. I quickly asked if his competitors were advertising that they had ‘bad’ service. I got a bewildered look in return. I loaded a competitor website and BIG SURPRISE, they said they had great service too. So how are you better?

I dug a bit more. “What do you that provides great service?” Does your personnel answer phones 24 x 7? Do you have a faster time to clear a trouble? Can you describe the metrics that define great service? “Chris, we could get into legal trouble if we put metrics on the website”. I see. A quick view of another competitor defined their great service as answering their service line within 20 seconds with a live company employee, 24 x 7. Sounds like a metric to me.

“But Chris, we have really great people”, he offered. Ah, so the other companies gets to hire all the morons? Do you have more employees per customer than the competition? Don’t know. Are your employees better educated? Wasn’t sure. Do you pay more than your competition? Definitely not. So you do have great people.

I wasn’t prepared to give up. The CEO now clearly in defense mode, quickly listed off a number of marquee customer names. Fantastic. But then I asked, are you specializing in services to only certain types of customers, meaning you’re an expert in that space. Hell no. Any customer with money was a good customer.

If everyone has the same capabilities, how is this a competitive advantage and more importantly why would you waste precious marketing space to promote marketing dribble that has no impact. It’s a lot easier to market hard facts. We’re the cheapest in town. We have the best value package. Something where you can write down what you get. Or you can appeal to a specific customer group. An all things to all people with a vanilla offering is a tough one though.