If you feel like you are swimming in a shark tank of competitors, you are probably right.
Today's example: we are miffed at the service from our pharmacy. We use their automated call-in service, which is nice when it works. But if you have a new prescription on file, they won't refill the old one. Even though the IVR accepts the order.
Okay, fine. It's not a perfect system.
But the pharmacy staff know that they aren't going to fill this order. They could call to let you know. After all, isn't that why the automated service confirms your phone number? Why wait until you come in to tell you this? [No kidding. When you put these things in words, the craziness is obvious.]
Other recent incidents: they were OUT of a drug I refill regularly (along with, my guess, about a thousand other women in a one mile radius). They told me to 'check back with them every week'. Are you kidding me? I transferred the prescription to another pharmacy. They had the same problem, but at least offered to call and let me know the situation.
Here's the thing. Within a 15 minute walk from my home, there are at least 5 major competitive outlets (some under the same banner, but with a different store operator). If I care to drive a little farther, there are many more options.
If there is a consolidation in this industry, (which seem likely due to other factors), who do you think will survive? What about you -- if there is a shakeout in your industry, will you be on the steamroller or on the road?
I ask myself these questions all the time. And honestly, I often find areas to improve. That's the nature of service businesses -- they take constant management.
My take:State your actual operating method in words, as if it were a service directive instead of just what you do. If this approach were the rule instead of just the habit, would it still make sense? What would your customers think if they saw it in writing?
Don't rely on inertia for loyalty. Try for actual loyalty. Then you have two kinds of glue in place, and a much stronger position.