Football Victory“Being on par in terms of price and quality only gets you into the game. Service wins the game.” – Dr. Tony Alessandra, Author and Consultant

It’s football season people, and one of the best things about football season (college or pro) is the opportunity to compete against your rivals. Cowboys vs. Redskins, Raiders vs. Chiefs, Alabama vs. Auburn, Notre Dame vs. USC, Army vs. Navy, the list goes on and on….

Owners, coaches, staff, players and fans alike take rivalries personally, investing emotions, effort and dollars in the belief that their team is number one, and to make their team number one – or at the very least, better than their rivals.

While rivalries may be associated with brawls between teams on the field and brawls between fans in the parking lot, rivalries also bring out the best. They inspire:

  • Passion
  • Loyalty
  • Competition
  • Team Effort
  • Best Effort
  • An Analysis of Strengths and Weaknesses
  • And a Desire to Keep Improving

Some brands overall have had competitive rivalries in sales and marketing (think of the great Cola Wars of the 1980s), but what if customer service teams, or better yet, customer-obsessed brands began engaging in this type of competitive rivalry?

In a September 2014 CMO Council Report titled Mastering Adaptive Customer Engagements, survey results show that most brands need something to sharpen their competitive edge:

  • Only 14% of respondents rated the customer-centricity of their organization as high; and only 11% believe their customers would say the same.
  • Only 12% feel their brand’s heads of operations, line-of-business leaders, finance, marketing, sales, and customer service team are strongly aligned around their customer experience strategy.
  • Just 1 in 10 are highly satisfied with their company’s ability to listen and respond to the needs of the customer.

Complacency isn’t something any team or its fans are excited to be a part of.

Get your game-face on CEOs, CMOs, CIOs and Chief Customer Officers. The customer service and engagement playing field still looks pretty even. Choose a rival brand. Be secretive in your competition, or call them out. Invest in your customer service and engagement strategy and the tools needed to succeed.

Find and exploit your strengths and differentiators. Engage and empower your team.

Nine in 10 respondents to the above survey said that customer-centricity is critical to the success of their company. Make your customer fan base proud and inspire brand loyalty. If we make customer service and engagement more competitive, it’s pretty certain: everybody wins.