18The Amazing, Simple, Overlooked Advantage

Stories about How Amazingly Responsive You Are

Having a consistently well-executed policy of immediate response to customers, prospects, and partners is the most overlooked and underused competitive advantage in business. It's actually difficult for me to write about this because it's so obvious, so powerful, so simple, and so available to anyone that I am in disbelief that anyone wouldn't use it.

Immediate response applies to communication with customers, prospective customers, and partners (vendors, collaborators, suppliers, etc.). It goes double, triple, or quadruple for any of those entities who are experiencing a problem. The idea is that I will respond to those people as quickly as I possibly can, or I will have a system or process in place that makes it happen automatically.

When I say automatically, I most definitely do not mean an automated, canned, one-message-for-everyone approach like, “Your e-mail/call/message is important to us. We will get back to you as quickly as we can.” All that shows is that once upon a time somebody programmed an auto-response because they aren't competitive enough to give you a real response. It also says: “We're busy working on something more important than you. We'll get to you when we have some extra time. Here's a canned response to hold you off for a while.”

The goal is for a real person to respond in real time in such a way that it differentiates your performance from anyone else they do ...

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