How can we compete with online retailers?

How can we compete with online retailers?

This is a question we help a lot of our customers with.

The business landscape has changed dramatically, and this is affecting every business sector: the revolution that began with the world’s biggest bookstore online, now is effective goods and services in every sector around the world. Just look at a website like for evidence.

So, how can a ‘traditional’ retailer compete?

We suggest two approaches.

  1. ‘Get great’
  2. ‘Get involved’

And you can use these individually or separately.

Get Great.

Customers do NOT buy on price … they buy on value. All great brands and long term successful businesses are NOT the cheapest … they are the best in terms of the value to the customer.

By this we mean that your value is your price multiplied by your customer experience (CX).

  • If your customer is only interested in price, then the CX score is 0 and these are your price obsessive fickle customers … and you don’t want these customers if you want a profitable sustainable business … let your competitors have them!
  • If, on the other hand, there is some value to the CX, then you need to know what the value is and how you can add it at every step on the customer journey (and the online retailers themselves know this and are doing this exercise obsessively). We suggest you look at your customers’ REAL needs (these needs are emotional needs and triggers), and step by step, inch by inch, develop your systems and processes to blow their socks off at every step.

Of course this is easy to say, and much harder to do: that why we work in the area of providing our customers with a simple and powerful systematic approach to help them do this: it’s called the ‘Great or Poor’ approach.

Do this well, as well as keeping a close eye on your online competition (which your customers will help you understand if you let them), and you’ll not only survive but thrive by offering new services that turbocharge your customer offer.

A good example of this was the wedding photographer client of ours who was suffering from lack of demand (everyone’s got a camera and a video camera with them on their phones these days), and listened closely and changed his business offer to include managing and sorting all these pictures and videos (rather than just taking the pictures in the 1st place), and now has had to take on 3 members of staff to cope with the demand.

Get involved

The other option (that can only work in addition to the above point we suggest) is to join the online retailing movement and offer your particular specialist skills and services online.

How can we protect our reputation from malicious reviews?

How can we protect our reputation from malicious reviews?

This is a question that more and more people are asking as reviews and online feedback sites become more and more popular, and there is a simple answer.

You can’t control the reviews, but you can control how you treat the customer AND how you respond to the reviews. Any attempt to do otherwise is futile, dysfunctional and counterproductive.


  1. How you treat the customer: no longer can you see ‘customer service’ as a ‘quite important issue’, it is now the heart and soul of all you do (whether you like it or not). We write and teach extensively on what to do to get this right, so look for our work ‘Great or Poor’ in this area. This includes a proactive system to encourage feedback direct to you (and then shared with others).
  2. When you get online reviews, the key is to respond to them (every one of them): there is no such thing as a ‘bad online review’ … if you do the above right, most of your reviews will be great and positive, but even the best organisations make mistakes sometimes, and critical reviews will always be experienced. You should not be afraid or angry at these (leave your ego out of this!), but treat them as valuable feedback and respond politely and positively, exactly as you would if they’d told you this information in a constructive and kind way to you personally. The key to remember is that this is NOT a personal conversation, you are talking to the world, and the world is very interested in how you deal with complaints (it exposes your true character). So do it well and be constructive and positive!

And malicious reviews? They’re just a minority of customers, don’t worry about them. Stick to the above 2 points and they’ll go away and get swamped by all the great stuff. We’ve seen it happen with our clients time and time again.

Why doesn’t customer service training work?

Why doesn’t customer service training work?

Because you can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

You people WANT to do a great job, but they are faced with a million things that are stopping them:

  • How they are treated
  • How they are feeling (this one is not really in your control, but how you identify and deal with this IS in your control)
  • The way the organisation behaves
  • The processes you employ
  • The culture you promote

The only true answer to the oldest employment problem in the world (How can I make my people motivated and enthused to give great service?) lies in systems.

Great or Poor ® systems to produce a consistent and continually improving customer experience.

Sales through Service ® systems to enhance long and short term sales (and reduce costs) at every step.

In today’s’ hyper competitive transparent market, it’s unlikely that your organisation can thrive without starting to get this genuinely right.


‘Sales through Service’ is a proven and powerful set of systems to boost sales whilst also enhancing the customer experience – to receive a free ebook ‘The 7 Deadly Sins of Service’, please email or visit