So, you want to stand out against your competitors? Maybe you’re a fledgling start-up, an established company (in a field that’s being inundated with fledgling start-ups), or somewhere in between.
Either way, before you can stand out and compete, you need to truly understand where your company stands and who exactly are your competitors.
Effective differentiation is one of the main challenges in today’s market since there seems to be a new online company with yet another solution popping up daily.
Let’s look at five primary ways to help your business stand out against your competitors. As you read through, think about how many of these are currently part of your branding strategy!
1. Providing Stellar Customer Service
This is the part where you have to really be honest with yourself and your company. Ask yourself these questions:
- Does my company provide the best customer service possible?
- What systems have I put into place to ensure that we do provide that stellar service?
Providing excellent customer service is pretty obvious, but saying that you’re providing excellent customer service and actually putting systems in place to ensure that you maintain an exceptional level of customer service are two different things.
In today’s competitive market, you’re just one bad review away from losing business. 27% of Americans report that ineffective customer service is their number one frustration, and 76% of consumers consider customer service to be a true test of a company’s adequacy. Stellar customer service has to be at the core of your business.
Treat your customers the way you would want to be treated. No matter your industry, this makes a big difference.
Maintain that same level of service with every interaction you have with them. Set a standard on response time, follow up calls or emails, and fulfill your promises you make. It could be as simple as emailing them a pdf with relevant information or just returning a phone call. You will eventually earn new customers’ trust and loyalty.
2. Admit Mistakes & Fix Problems
Your customers realize that you are human, and mistakes will happen. The key is to respond quickly to the error or problem. If it’s your fault, admit it, fix it, and move on.
This is a direct reflection of your brand. If a customer has even one bad experience that remains unresolved, they might not just write off the brand but fire off negative feedback online, which can quickly spread. Even if it isn’t your fault, you may need to go out of your way to maintain your relationships with your customers.
Think of this as an opportunity to build a good rapport with one customer that will echo through the internet forever.
3. Be Honest About Your Products & Services
Honesty has always been the best policy, but today if you lie to a customer, a quick Google search or a forum post can shed light on your mistruth.
If your product can’t provide a feature that your customer wants, be honest about it. Your honesty will build trust with them and will leave a great impression. Additionally, anyone in sales knows that it’s easier to work with an excited customer than a skeptical one.
If you’re not forthcoming with the truth, you will sabotage your current sale and any chance of future businesses or referrals.
4. Embrace Corporate Social Responsibility
While you’re in business to make money, build a company, and take care of your core stakeholders, experts believe that companies should give back to society as well.
This is a great way to stand out. It doesn’t have to be random. Pick a cause that you and your employees can get behind. It could lead to not only donations but volunteering efforts that give your company great exposure.
Subaru does a great job of giving back to society. Start small and find the cause that rings true for your company.
5. Offer a Guarantee
Your brand promise is at the core of your business. You promise to provide a service or product, and you deliver on that. What easier way to is there to ensure consumer confidence than a guarantee?
If you can’t offer some guarantee, then you need to reconsider your service or product line. Decide on a guarantee that you can deliver on and stand behind 100%—and make it easy.
Too often, guarantees are so complex that they lose the value of the initial intent; a guarantee should be straightforward. Just remember: you must be able to back up your guarantee if and when the time comes.
Standing out from the competition isn’t easy, and it’s getting increasingly more difficult every day. Start with these five tactics to stand out and build on them, since ultimately, you know your business and your industry.
If you need more ideas on how to stand out from the competition, check out digitalj2, and we will be happy to help you out!