What does ‘Personal Service’ really mean?

Inspired by The Apprentice UK Final last night, we wanted to talk about companies using the fact they offer a ‘personal service’ to market themselves.

If you didn’t see The Apprentice final last night, the winning company was an SEO firm that claimed their USP was just that – they were different from the competition because their service was ‘personal.’

The issue we found with that, was they claimed their service was ‘personal’ because:
– They did a ‘Business Health Check’ prior to starting work.
– Their customers had an account manager they could talk too.
– They really got to know your business.
– Satisfying the customer’s needs was a priority.

Don’t get us wrong, they are ALL good things, however you would be naive to think that any of them are unique to your business. That is what EVERYONE is saying these days. So is the term ‘personal service’ now a bit redundant?

The product industry might be different, if you can personalise something that currently isn’t offered in a personal way – brilliant. But if you are a business working face to face with clients, competing with other businesses working face to face with clients – trying to win business by claiming your service is ‘personal’ is going to be an uphill battle. Simply because in that situation are most people not offering a personal service? Or at least saying they are?

So what can you do?
Luckily there are lots of things that you can be doing and saying to actually make this ‘personal service’ unique. Here’s 4 ways…

1. Can you develop a unique procedure that you guide clients through, that is branded as yours. You can get testimonials of people who have been through YOUR procedure or processes, that explain benefits that occur by doing things your way. Having an actual ‘way’ of doing things branded up in a unique process, makes it much easier to sell and STAND OUT from the lookalike competition. For example, if the SEO Firm Developed their own ‘7 Step Momentum Model’ to get you to the top of Google.

2. Quantify why your service is more ‘personal.’ How quick is your email support? Do you meet up more than the competition? What if the customer needs to change something? What are your exact procedures? Don’t fail to tell the potential customers what they actually get!

3. Could you invest in a customer service tool that helps you manage customer support. A tool like Zendesk to manage your customer service is quite inexpensive. You could then give your customers a separate support email address to reach you on that registers a support ticket – ensuring no questions get missed.

4. Put yourself into your business. Another issue we had with the SEO firm on The Apprentice was that the ‘personal service’ was hidden behind a generic logo and ‘corporate identity.’ Surely a personal service that is face to face should be about PEOPLE. It is oxymoronic to have your ‘corporate identity’ telling us how personal the service, would it not be more personal coming from the person we are going to be dealing with? Use yourself – use photos or videos of yourself to SHOW not TELL us that your service is more personal than the competition.

ACTION: Do you offer a ‘personal service’? Write down a list of what makes your service personal?
ACTION: Go through your list and honestly ask yourself if your competition could or does any of the above.
ACTION: Go through 4 ways above. For each one ask yourself. 1) Do I do this? 2) How do I/can I do this? 3) If I don’t what are the next steps I need to take to do this.
ACTION: Next time you claim you have a ‘personal service’ back it up with reasons more than the SEO firm did on The Apprentice last night.