Service IS a Differentiator
Superior customer service is a differentiator, but only when paired with expertise and availability. Within the PEO space, many smaller PEOs compete on service, whereas many larger PEOs compete on scale and product availability. Smaller PEOs can win new business and increase margins if they execute a superior service model. However, please note that service alone will not compete well against larger PEOs. Superior service mentality must be paired with expertise and availability.
Expertise is Essential
Assume that a PEOs service staff is willing to help its client in any way it can, but when the client calls, the PEO staff doesn’t posses the expertise to solve the client’s issue. This is not beneficial to the client. The client may appreciate the willingness of the service staff to help, but ultimately, the client requires the expertise necessary to solve its issue. Service without expertise is not a sustainable client retention model.
Availability is Key
Now let’s assume that the PEO service staff is willing to help its client in any way possible, and the team possesses the requisite expertise to solve the client’s issue. If the team is not readily available, the timing of the solution is problematic. Often, a client will only require true expertise from the PEO service staff a few times a year. This is where the PEO can legitimize its value proposition and ensure they satisfy their client’s needs. If the PEO team is regularly unavailable, the client suffers.
Combine the Three Keys to Service as a Differentiator
Finally, lets assume that the service staff is willing to help its client, the team is available to help its client, and the team possesses the requisite expertise to help its client. This is the winning recipe. As a business owner, I am willing to pay more for quality and availability. In today’s world of chat bots, FAQ pages, and call centers, superior service driven by experts within their field is invaluable. These attributes should be highlighted within the sales process and executed within the client service model.
I have often seen smaller PEOs tout service but fall flat on availability and/or expertise. A PEO that employs experts in their field, reinvests in the staff’s education, adheres to appropriate WSE to EE ratios to ensure availability, and one that is committed to superior service will gain market share, increase margins, and create positive brand equity and awareness in the marketplace. This will stimulate future sales and client referrals. A PEO must decide what it wants to compete on and then execute this strategy to promote growth and positive cash flow from operations. Don’t be duped. Service alone will not drive superior value to your clientele. Pair it with expertise and availability and your PEO and clients will benefit from the pairing.
Rob Comeau is the Founder and featured Author of NPG. He is also the CEO of Business Resource Center, Inc., a business consulting and M&A advisory firm to the PEO industry. To learn more about BRC, please visit us at www.biz-rc.com.