Thousands of articles have already been written about the way the pandemic has changed the behavior and expectations of customers. Over the past year, many consumers have been forced to change their habits, use different suppliers and switch to new channels. As a result of this varied exposure, they’ve more than likely had the opportunity to compare your business with others they’re in contact with.
What does this mean, for example, for a small retailer? First, it means they’re no longer comparing your service with that of your competitor down the street. They could be comparing your service delivery to that of Amazon or any other huge company with vast resources at their disposal that has impressed them over the past year.
So how can you compete and retain your customer base? How can you ensure that you compare favorably to the big online players or the best in your niche?
Here are 3 Key Strategies
Your brand promise
Create a brand promise that’s not about you, it’s about what you promise to do for your customer. So it’s not: ‘We promise to be transparent’, it’s ‘We promise that you’ll know exactly the progress of your order at all times’. Your customers will understand how well you measure up to this in reality.
Get your delivery process right
Isolated at home, customers who order online have come to expect their purchases to appear on their doorstep almost instantly. Again, while the big players have led the way, smaller businesses are increasingly finding ways to compete. With the increase in online purchasing, many businesses have found themselves, almost by accident, with a far more geographically diverse customer base.
Whether you fulfill your orders in-house or outsource, choosing a reliable courier service is essential. As a senior manager at Texas Couriers explained “Each package we deliver to customers in our area is an opportunity to build our reputation locally. That’s why we commit to delivering in hours, rather than days.” Partnering with a local service ensures you both have a stake in outstanding service delivery and exceeding customer expectations.
Give your brand a human face
Whether your team encounters customers face-to-face, or electronically, choosing the right people to represent your brand and solve problems is an essential aspect of your service delivery.
For example, there are two trends in online support. Large organizations are using AI tools to deal with customer enquiries and provide support. However, how often have you been wowed by a robotic response? More likely you’ve been left frustrated and angry. That’s why many smaller companies can grab a competitive advantage by taking the opposite route. Pop-ups on your website promising that customers can talk to a ‘real person’ offer a human element that no bot can replicate.
Make sure you have the right people in all “customer contact “ roles- they should be empathetic problem-solvers. Move the ones who aren’t focused on engaging with customers and to other jobs, and reward your customer service superstars appropriately – they remain the key to your company’s continued growth success.
Jason is the Marketing Manager at a local advertising company in Australia. He moved to Australia 10 years back for his passion for advertising. Jason recently joined BFA as a volunteer writer and contributes by sharing his valuable experience and knowledge.