One of the most important things a business owner can do – no matter his/her industry – is to find ways to outshine his/her competition. As with most businesses, you likely offer something that is also offered by another business…or two…or more! As a result, it’s important to come up with ways to separate your brand from all the rest.
What makes your business stand out? Does it offer its customers one-of-a-kind customer experiences? If your products and services don’t stand out, your customer service must. That is, of course, if you want to avoid losing customers to your competitors.
Know your competition.
There’s truly no way to even begin thinking about outshining your competition if you don’t know who they are. We’re not just talking about knowing the names of other businesses in your industry. What are their business practices? What is their customer service like? It would be wise to pay these businesses visits yourself so that you, as a customer, can see the differences between your competing brands.
On his website, Neil Patel advises business owners to ask their customers about their preferences. “Do you know where your departing customers are going?” he asks, “Don’t make assumptions. Assumptions are dangerous. Your first goal is to discover which of your competitors the customer prefers, and why he prefers it. Finding out who your customer is switching to shouldn’t be hard. Just ask them.”
Stick to your word.
What is the most important element of any relationship? Trust. If you lose your customers’ trust, you will lose your customers. It’s that simple. Keep your promises. If you say you’re going to deliver an item by a particular date, make sure it arrives on time. As John Graham of IA Magazine points out, even the smallest of promises that are broken can turn a customer off for good.
“Little insults accumulate in a customer’s mind, tolerated and quietly dormant until something triggers a reaction,” he writes, “’I’ll call you back about that,’ but you forgot. ‘I’ll get on it right now,’ but you didn’t. They’re minor irritations, but over time, they become a big issue. That’s when the competitor arrives.”
Express your appreciation.
If you really don’t want to lose your customers to your competitors, let them know just how much you appreciate their business. Sometimes, all it requires is a simple “Thank you for coming, I look forward to seeing you again.” And, in other cases, you may just want to take things a little further. Sending “thank you” cards and emails is a great example of how to show your gratitude.
“Letting customers know you appreciate their business goes without saying—they like knowing you care,” says Graham, “But while tickets to sporting events, gifts, meals at popular restaurants, or contributions to a customer’s favourite charity are thoughtful, they’re poor substitutes for consistent top performance. Top-quality service is what justifies relationships.”
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