In today’s world of doing business, speed is an essential component to business success. According to Dr. John Sullivan, September 18, 2014, the 21st century could be, “the century when speed dominated”. It does not matter if you are selling a product or a service, customers expect to receive services in rapid speed. For example, once you have been seated in a restaurant by the hostess and your hostess utters, “your service provider will be right with you”, and the server does not show up for thirty minutes to take your order. Chances are during your wait you will become agitated, restless, and upset. Because of your unfortunate ordeal when your server finally shows up, the landscape for happiness would have been compromised. Your frustration and disappointment will probably be displayed and your relationship with the restaurant staff and your server starts to go south. If you and possible company choose to stay, your anticipated experience has already been compromised, and becoming a return customer or leaving a reasonable tip has all but been lost. In a competitive business environment, one distinction can be gleamed between businesses, that understand the importance of speed, and those who do not, the customers that receive excellent customer service tend to become committed and loyal, and those that do not tend to struggle to retain customers.
When designing your customer service strategy, it’s important to embrace the importance of speed and mindful of the danger of how it can negatively affect and distort your customer’s experience. Speed is a necessary step in your customer’ experience. In reference to the Interactive Intelligence Group’s Customer Experience Survey regarding valued attributes for client interaction, “a timely response” ranked higher than efficiency and professionalism”. As a dividend to solid leadership, the efficient management of speed can be (1) a premium to customer satisfaction, (2) an attribute for building strong relationships, (3) an element that enhances organizational value and reputation, and (4) a nexus for the formation of trust. It exemplifies the level of importance a business places on providing the highest level of customer service through the axiom of speed.
Today’s successful restaurants, like other businesses, understand the importance of weaving speed into current policies, procedures, and practices. In the past, larger businesses dominated smaller businesses or simply ran them out of business. Now, businesses, large or small, that have been able to adapt and use speed effectively are grabbing the attention of customers. According to some research literature, business leaders and managers are starting to realize that the need for speed may not just be an extravagance, but an essential component for business survival.
As a business owner, it is difficult for me to overstress the importance of speed in business. Without it your competitors will soon move you and your business to the sidelines. For several years Blockbuster was the giant for movie rentals. Recently, Netflix has come on board to offer a faster way for customers to get access to movies. Thus, Blockbuster’s competitive edge has become Pasay. Customers are now able to view a host of movies from the comfort of their abode. Customers today, are no longer satisfied with the status quo. They want “what they want” now. Businesses must be ready to meet and respond to the needs and desires of their customers or run the risk of losing them forever.
The bottom line is this, understanding the importance of speed within business practices allows your business to flourish and grow. Adapting a culture of speed allows your business to be more efficient, effective, competitive, and profitable for years to come.
Marlin R. Clark, Ph.D.
Owner, Salt and Pepper Communications, LLC
“Customer service is not a goal, it’s an experience”