Some manufacturers have recognized the benefits of providing extensive customer training in the use of their products By providing such training their customers quickly become familiar with how the products are used Such training can be
viewed as a competitive advantage in that it acts as a barrier to entry for similar products that are offered by competitors For example why would a firm invest time and money to train workers in how to use another product if they are currently satisfied with the product they are currently using and have already been trained on that product? FedEx provides a good example of a service firm that does an outstanding job of this Even if a customer ships only a few packages a day FedEx will provide that customer with a dedicated computer that is directly linked into the FedEx system and also will teach the customer how to use it This is one of the major reasons FedEx’s competitors have significant difficulty in convincing FedEx’s customers to switch.
As another illustration, Le Grand, which is located in Limoges, France, produces electrical components such as outlets, switches, and junction boxes, all of which are considered to be commodity-type products To provide itself with a competitive advantage, Le Grand has constructed a large training facility in Limoges where architects and electrical contractors
are invited to view its wide variety of products and also to learn how to install them in various settings To accomplish this, the training facility has set up different rooms to demon- ‘mate how the various components should be installed These rooms include a kitchen, a bathroom and a bedroom in a private residence, as well as a patient’s room in a hospital The Foxboro Company which was mentioned previously, also uses training to distance itself from its competition Before its process control products are delivered customers are invited to Foxboro’s manufacturing facility where their equipment is set up and they learn how to it under the guidance of Foxboro instructors This is one of the reason Foxboro experiences a very high percentage of repeat busies from existing customer.