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Beating Large Competitors With Superior Customer Service

You can beat your bigger competitors by offering superior service. Here's how!

WARREN CASSELL IS a small-business owner; you'd be hard-pressed to find one smaller. His Just Books bookstore in Greenwich, Connecticut occupies only 650 square feet, and he has "one and a half" employees.

So how does Cassell compete with the big guys, who probably have 650 square feet of restrooms in their megastores? "Very effectively," he says. To be more specific: "I live and die by service."

Before, above, beyond and over all other messages is that one. Of the seven cardinal virtues of running with the big boys, six are "service." The seventh is "more service."

"The entrepreneur has to differentiate," says William H. Crookston, professor of entrepreneurship at the University of Southern California. "If Wal-Mart moved into town, I would still find successful ways to keep people coming into my store."

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This article was originally published in the January 1996 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Beating Large Competitors With Superior Customer Service.

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