When someone asks “What sets you apart from your competition?” almost always, you’ll hear “Our customer service”. But what does that really mean? Saying you have “great customer service” easily creates a disconnect because what might be “great” in one person’s mind could be “okay” to another.
Tell a Story
Rather than talking about your customer service, tell the story of your customer experience.
From the moment a future customer hears about you, how will they feel? What sounds will they hear and what visuals will they see? What will they experience? Don’t leave this to simple statements either. Set yourself apart by creating a narrative from beginning to end. If you’re thinking “Where do I even start?” think about Disney World. The Disney company is known for their customer service and experience. You’re not a customer, you’re a guest. Those aren’t employees, they’re cast members, and they will create a magical experience from the moment you set foot on the property.
Another company well-known for their experience that goes “to infinity and beyond” is Southwest Airlines. I had to tie in the Disney pun because of this story. There’s an example of feelings that created a memorable experience. See the common theme?
It’s almost a guarantee that your customers want to feel taken care of quickly. But what if you could take it a step further and confirm that your customers will be taken care of quickly AND thoroughly? Your customer experience involves your team taking extra time to truly hear and understand what the root of the problem is, so they can offer the best solution. Quick doesn’t always mean quality. But in some businesses, customers value speed over anything. It’s important to know not what you think is valuable, but what your customers think is valuable.
If you’re struggling to identify where you are set apart from your competitors, try these two activities.
Check out reviews of your company and others to see what people say they liked or disliked. (As always, please proceed with caution when looking at reviews – we can’t always see the full picture from just a short paragraph.) But let this exercise jog some ideas on what people want or don’t want to experience at a company. Maybe look beyond your competition and look at similar businesses across the company to look for those really great reviews. This can help you identify what also stood out to customers.
It’s a novel idea, but what if you simply asked your customers about their experience and what stood out to them. “What brought you in today?” is a start, but you can narrow in on the experience by asking “Why did you choose us?” Listening to what’s important to your ideal and trusted clients can offer new insights and ideas that you maybe didn’t consider before. This can be done as a question in person, through a survey, a poll online, or through a review. But be sure, however it’s done, that you not only make the effort to ask, but that you document results AND implement them as you see fit.
As you develop how your customer services creates an experience, think of the emotions that will lead to great memories of working with your company. And as your work through this, be sure to reach out to your ActionCOACH to help brainstorm ideas and strategies, then to help you implement and measure your overall effectiveness.
Author: Kyleigh Mazer, Business Coach in New Albany, IN