How do you deliver great service and keep your prices down? Good article in a recent HBR about strategies for managing the variability that customers introduce when you’re in the business of delivering a high-end service. Here are a couple of hints:
On handling an overload
- Instead of hiring 93 extra people to make sure you can meet sudden demands, think about automating tasks, hiring lower-cost labor, or outsourcing customer contact.
- Instead of requiring reservations, or giving off-peak special pricing, or limiting service availability, think about how to create a complementary demand so your people and resources are more evenly allocated.
- And the biggest tip of all: think self-service. Follow the model of the Internet and let the customers do more of the work. They’ll love it because they take pride in their contribution to the finished result. The smartest software companies have been doing this for decades.
None of these are easy. They require highly creative thinking. What a great set of topics to blog about! Can you imagine enlisting your customers’ help in finding out just what would work best as an automated task? Imagine how excited they’d be about helping you design a system where they could feel a sense of ownership–and get what they need?
Win – win – win. Those are the kinds of solutions you blog about.