Great Small Business Ideas to Start: Mass customization
Large-scale information gathering and storing enables the provision of a high-quality, personalized service for each client. By adding value to your product, you can shut out competitors and ensure repeat business.
By applying information technology effectively, and training all of its employees to use information, the Ritz-Carlton hotel chain has, over the last 15 years, developed into one of the most successful luxury hotel chains in the world, providing customers with a highly personalized service. The Ritz-Carlton strategy was quite simple: to differentiate itself from its competitors by offering distinctive service and customer value at a competitive price.
What was uncommon, however, was the emphasis on several key principles, which were underpinned by a blend of strong leadership and the successful management and application of technology.
These principles included:
- A vision of an efﬁcient, personalized service. It was important to ensure employees were committed to providing a quality service. IT systems were standardized throughout the business, and an organizational culture was developed that emphasized the need to capture and disseminate useful information about each individual customer.
- The desire to ensure hotels operated error-free and to retain customers through a precision marketing strategy. To achieve this, Ritz-Carlton spent years accumulating in-depth knowledge about its work processes, then combined technology with individual skills and innovation, which has enabled Ritz-Carlton to track individual customer preferences.
For instance, employees observe guests, record their preferences, and store the data on a company-wide information network. This enables other employees to reuse the information and provide the most personalized service available, leveraging their contact with the customer to shut out competitors. When customers check in, they receive the room and location they prefer, and throughout their stay Ritz-Carlton supervisors scrutinize relevant details for each customer so that they can personalize service, providing extra pillows, favorite beverages, preferred newspapers, and so forth.
The Ritz-Carlton approach is a great example of the power of mass customization—the ability to deliver rapidly, efﬁciently, and proﬁtably a range of products and services satisfying each individual customer.
- Utilize employees at every level within your company, as well as the beneﬁts of technology, to listen to your market at a uniquely advanced level.
- Store information on clients in an easily accessible way, to ensure that a distinguished level of personalized quality is provided.
- Swiftly reorganize people, information, and processes when necessary in order to deliver the beneﬁts of a highly customized and attentive service.