Project Management

Identifying Your Competitors

Tom Keenze

I once attended a luncheon that featured a guest speaker who expounded on the subject of customer service. There were between 600 and 700 attendees, most of them from various business units of the same parent company.

The speaker asked the group who they thought their competitors were. The names of various companies were called out from the audience. When things became quiet once again, the speaker opined that the answers he heard were all probably correct; but the list was definitely incomplete. According to this particular speaker, any company’s competitors must necessarily include every company in business in the world; at least with respect to customer service.

He told us a story that brought it all home for us. While headed home one weekend on an airplane, he was reading the in-flight magazine and noticed an advertisement for an automobile casualty insurance company. He had never heard of the company, but he noted that their advertisement boasted that their customers had access to claims adjusters on a 24/7 basis. 

Then on that Saturday afternoon, when he arrived home, he decided to upgrade his computer operating system from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95. As this happened a few years ago, he had some 31 diskettes to run for the installation process. When he got into the 11th diskette, the installation halted unexpectedly, and he got a …


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"There is more to life than increasing its speed."

- Mahatma Gandhi