Regardless of your business and industry, you know that there are always competitors looking to be new, unique, and better than what came before them. When considering how you can sustain your business and remain competitive, there are many factors that can affect your viability.
With multiple ways to invest in your business, increase sales, and earn the trust of your customers, where do you start in differentiating yourself? While there’s no one right answer, here are a few things to consider to set your company apart from the competition:
Consider the full experience
In broad terms, every aspect of your customers’ experiences will have an impact on how they perceive your business and your brand. In fact, according to PwC, 73% of consumers say a good experience is key in influencing their brand loyalties.
At every single touchpoint, you have another opportunity to change their opinion—for better or worse. When considering what sets your company apart from others, the most effective strategy would be to impress the customer at every opportunity. This includes the quality of your product or service, as well as ability of your staff to go above and beyond to help each customer and provide them with the best information. Simply put, in order to stand out, your product or service needs to stand out as exceptional at every possible moment.
Wondering where to start? Consider taking a look at your online reviews (something you should practice regularly) to see what customers are saying now. If there are consistent issues, you’ll pick up on a pattern in reviews and online comments. By focusing your improvements on key areas, you can gain more respect and credibility where you may have previously underwhelmed customers.
Tell your story
In addition to the highest quality service, customers today care a great deal about authenticity. Consider the flood of advertisements, social media posts, and sales you see from businesses every day; when a company shows purpose beyond increasing sales, they stand out. Part of that authenticity is being able to clearly articulate your story or your mission. Additionally, today’s economy is increasingly global. When there are endless options to choose from, standing out means telling a different story from the rest of the crowd.
When you pull back that curtain and tell your story, you’re able to make a deeper connection with your audience—one based on shared values and an understanding behind the “why” of your business. When it comes time to make a buying decision, that connection will make a difference.
Customers today have unlimited resources to gather information. From 3rd party review websites to word of mouth, if a consumer wants to know something about your business, they can likely find it. As a result, this wealth of information makes it all the more frustrating when a company is not transparent with its customers.
This is especially true when it comes to pricing. If your pricing isn’t clearly communicated, or if it includes fine print, it becomes clear that you’re not being fully transparent, and they’ll be quick to look for another option that doesn’t need an asterisk to explain the cost.
In addition to making your pricing easy to understand, be sure that you’re transparent in every communication with your customers. The more information and value you’re able to provide, the more likely you are to gain their trust, and eventually, their buying power.
Invest in employees
In terms of setting your company apart from competitors, your employees’ job satisfaction may not be top of mind. However, in the long-term, keeping your employees happy can save you money, increase retention, improve the perception of your brand, and set an example of quality service for your customers.
So, how do you accomplish all that? Consider how you can improve your culture and benefit offerings to improve morale, empower employees, and build trust. When you show that you value employees, they’ll try to stay as long as possible.
Over time, this can increase employee retention, and you’ll subsequently lower your costs of hiring and training new employees. Additionally, keep in mind that word gets out. The better you treat employees, the more likely top talent will flock to your business. Soon, you’ll have the best talent to improve your offerings, offer better service to consumers, and increase your revenue.
Make it easy
Looking back at these suggestions, think about the actual goal you’re looking to achieve: the way to set your company apart from the competition is to make the customer’s experience easy. Aside from quality service and ease-of-use, make it easy for a customer to understand. Make it easy for them to trust your business, connect with your brand, and see added value in purchasing with you. Make it easy for employees who join your company to stay with your company.
When consumers are constantly faced with advertisements, they’re used to saying, “No.” When you make it easy to say, “Yes,” you’ve truly been able to stand out against competitors.
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