Michele and I recently moved home.

If you’ve moved places, then you know the pain and stress it brings.

Even though we only ended up moving a few suburbs, the whole process meant we interacted with a number of suppliers, including:

  • Buyer’s Agent
  • Real Estate agent
  • Mortgage broker
  • Moving companies
  • Packers/Unpackers
  • Packing suppliers (boxes)
  • Solicitors
  • Electricians
  • Plumbers
  • Cleaners
  • Interior designer
  • Furniture companies
  • Blinds/Curtains companies
  • Media (TV/Audio) companies
  • Utilities companies (internet, electricity)
  • Home insurance company
  • Strata company
  • Building manager
  • and probably a few more that I’ve forgotten

When I think of our experience dealing with all of these suppliers, there’s one key thing that differentiates them: their responsiveness

Even though most of them provided the outcome we paid them for, the experience with working with most of them was frustrating.

Of the list above, only two (out of the 20 or so) were responsive – those being:

  • Buyer’s agent
  • Mortgage broker

These two companies (and to be fair, the specific person we were dealing with) were exceptional. Here’s what the experience was like:

  • They responded quickly (ie usually within minutes) to any questions (via email, WhatsApp, text)
  • We never had to chase them for anything (no following up on items)

It seems odd that this is a differentiator. Surely this should be table-stakes for any service business.

But no, most of the companies we dealt with we had to continually follow up and chase. And in many cases we were chasing them, so we could give them money! Just bizarre.

But it seems to be the norm.

(Maybe this is obvious in hindsight – perhaps it took the compression of some many companies in such a short timeframe for it to register for me.)

Which means that being responsive is a differentiator. It’s a competitive advantage.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the two companies that were responsive, were the only ones I gave a glowing review for. And the only ones that I’ll be recommending to friends.

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