If you’ve followed my work, you may know one of my favorite questions to ask clients is: Why should I do business with you instead of your competition?
This is all about what makes you different. We look for compelling features, qualities or services that the competition can’t duplicate. For example, one of my clients is a healthcare system and they have a cardiac program that no other hospital offers in the area. They are also faith based, and that is especially important to certain patients and their families who practice that particular faith. When it comes to both these features, other hospitals in the area can’t compete.
However, there is another way to differentiate yourself. Make use of the connections or relationships you have to people or other resources that your competitors might not have access to. And, making them available to your customers may be the value-added benefit that separates you from your competitors.
It could be the services you offer. For example, my financial advisor has on-staff lawyers and CPAs to help me when I have questions about estate planning, taxes and more. That’s not typical at most other financial service firms. Note the word “most.” There may be a few other firms that can offer the same services, but most do not. I enjoy doing business with my advisor for a number of reasons. First, I like him and his ability to manage my finances. Second, which is a bonus, he gives me access to industry experts when I need them.
It could be the people you know. I work with a travel agent who has been in business for many years and has connections to some people that work at the different airlines. One day it looked like I might miss a connecting flight. The next flight was sold out. If I didn’t get on that one I was not going to make it home that night. But one call to my agent made the difference. He quickly got in touch with one of his contacts at the airline, and somehow a seat opened up for me. By the way, when I asked him how he did it, he said, “I just called one of my friends at the airline.”
One of my clients has regularly scheduled customer events – at least once a quarter – where they provide “access” to the company’s leadership team and business experts that the customer might not normally get to interact and network with. It’s just one of the ways that this client is able to differentiate itself from the competition while offering a value-added experience to their customers.
Who do you know? What resources do you have a connection with? What relationships with customers and potential customers might be enhanced if they knew who you knew and could connect them with? Identify advantages you and your company have that could be of benefit to your customers.
Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact (314)692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
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