Just a little bit better doesn’t delight customers, it puts them to sleep

Let’s be competitive on price and offer just a little bit of better service…

I heard an on the ground salesperson say that on a call last week. I later told the CEO about it and let him know what I thought about “just a little bit”. Below is an extended version of what I said to him. A quick thought is you will never hear innovators say “just a little bit”, only non-innovators say that!

“Just a little bit” sounds like you are only doing something because you have to; not because you want to.  Just a little bit is the same as mediocrity. I believe that as a customer, receiving “just a little bit” more attention is insulting. Imagine if you told any client/prospect that you offer them “just a little bit better service” than alternatives, do you believe they’ll jump with excitement?

Of course, there are situations where bad service can be good business. Just ask Ryanair. But, that’s a different industry and different business model.

Everything is ripe for innovation

A safe bet in most industries is this: 99.99% of the things we do in business are being done the way they have always been done. No one has re imagined how things should be done.

Innovators look at what is and imagine what could be. They reimagine solutions with better outcomes for the customer in mind, and if all works well they change the game and kick “more of the same” to the curve. Simply put: True innovators make competition irrelevant by redefining their industry; and in the process create a new and better standard.

Remember, perception separates the innovator from the imitator. Anything can be reimagined, and it doesn’t matter what industry you are in. Anytime an industry is stuck, is boring, that is a good sign that everything is up for reinvention. So, if your business exists in a boring industry that hasn’t changed in a long time, that has cliches such as “just a little bit”, recognize that you can change the game (here are some ideas on how you can change the game).

But, you will not find new ideas in your industry; you will find them outside of it. So, it’s time to go idea hunting.

Bottom line: No one gets excited about incremental ideas, including customers. That’s why just a little bit better doesn’t delight customers, it puts them to sleep. So, as a business, and as a customer, there is no excuse to settle for “good enough” anymore. If we want to be great and make an impact, we have to transform good enough solutions into exciting ones that lead to better outcomes for customers.