What might the contrast in sales performance at Volkswagen and Ferrari have to do with the business of electronic security? Recent sales activity for each of these automakers can shed some analogous light on the risks associated with pursuing aggressive sales goals vs. hyper attention on providing a quality customer experience.
I came across an article on Businessweek.com that explained how a heavy emphasis on rapidly increasing sales in the United States has proven counterproductive for Volkswagen, whereas a focus on the customer experience and branding is reaping big rewards at Ferrari.
As the article’s author, Steve McKee, president of McKee Wallwork & Co., explains, an aggressive push to drive sales volume can create real challenges, including service quality issues and internal culture conflicts. This very strategy has essentially derailed Volkswagen’s ambitious goal to sell one million vehicles in the U.S. by 2018; sales were down 7% in 2013 and the German automaker now lags behind its rivals in quality rankings. Ouch.
Pursuing “a goal that’s too ambitious often leads managers to lose focus,” McKee, a branding and marketing consultant, writes. At the other end of the sales strategy spectrum, maintaining laser focus on your core customers can spawn growth through customer satisfaction and loyalty. Such positive results can often lead to improved margins that further support a company’s ability to enhance its product and service quality.
In the case of Ferrari, it recently maneuvered to enhance its already rarified brand by nurturing customer loyalty, in part, by reducing the number of vehicles it produces. The outcome to date? Ferrari sold fewer than 7,000 cars in 2013 and yet the company posted its second consecutive record sales year.
Chasing higher sales volume and fostering a company culture that first and foremost promotes impeccable customer care is a tug-of-war many installing security contractors are all too familiar with. Certainly there are companies, large and small, that do strike a successful balance in the security industry. The key is to never fail to appreciate that when you deliver a bad customer experience, it can actually be more costly to your business than sustaining great customer service.