I recently read a great post by John Goodman over at The Retail Customer Experience in which he lays out Five Myths of Customer Service. It's a good, quick read and I particularly enjoyed his Myth #2: Price is the name of the game to expand share and profitability.
In over 15 years of measuring customer satisfaction and service inside client contact centers, I have learned that the easiest way to compete is with price – but it's not the most profitable way. Slashing prices is a sugar high. You get a quick infusion of business from those customers who scurry from supplier to supplier based on price. But, the same customers who came your way to get your low price will scurry right out your door when the competitor lowers their price. The crash comes just as quickly and may leave you lower than when you started.
What your competitor will have the greatest difficulty matching is a great customer service experience. Investing the creation and sustenance of a service culture within your company builds loyalty in your customer base. Customers keep coming back, even if your prices are a little higher than the other guy.
If you want to build long-term customer loyalty, learn to serve your customers well. Find out their expectations. Then build a service delivery system that will meet and exceed those expectations.