A disproportionate amount of sales and marketing’s attention is focused on customer acquisition. But what about your current customers? Why should they come back?
Customer retention is a branding challenge. What separates your business from the competition? And do your customers care enough to come back again and again?
You don’t have to be brilliant at everything. Pick a focal point. What is your business known for?
Focus On Customer Service
Zappos and Nordstrom are known for their customer service. They may not be the cheapest retailers, but they go way above the call of duty to serve their customers.
Delivering exceptional customer service is more than a corporate value, it’s a process. Companies that deliver exceptional customer service invest in it. They hire more people, provide them better training and tools, and give them the freedom and room to delight their customers.
It’s not easy to deliver outstanding customer service, and that’s what makes it a powerful differentiator.
Focus On Choice
Being able to buy everything you’re looking for in one place is appealing. This is what separates Walmart and Amazon from the herd. They can deliver an exceptional number of options in one, convenient place.
Offering breadth of service is a differentiator, provided your customers take advantage of your broad capabilities. This is a differentiator that I suggest cautiously, because offering too many options may dilute your brand. Build your portfolio of products and services around your customer and their needs.
Focus On Your People
David Cronin, CTO of DevFacto, argues, “Happy employees create happy customers.”
In some industries it’s very hard, if not impossible, to differentiate the products or services. Industries that become highly commoditized may not have a lot of external options to differentiate the brand. But that’s not the end of the world because you can differentiate internally.
Organizations that build dynamic cultures stand out. Customers notice happy, engaged, and productive employees.
Your culture creates an energy that radiates out into your marketplace, and sets your brand apart from everyone else.
Focus On The Experience
What’s it like to work with your company? Do you deliver a unique customer experience that sets your firm apart?
Panera Bread designs its stores to be an ideal place for people to meet. Its locations are very different from the hustle and bustle of Starbucks’ stores. You can always find a comfortable place to sit and talk. This creates a unique alternative to many other coffee shops and restaurants.
The experience goes beyond the products and services. It focuses on how your customers interact with the brand, and how you can aid them.
Focus On Convenience
Can you create a hassle free experience?
This could be achieved by where you’re located, and getting really close to your customers. It could focus on the buying experience, and streamlining the process. It could focus on the product, and making it easier to use and maintain.
Saving your customers time and energy is an excellent way to differentiate your brand.
Pick a Focal Point
A brand can’t be all things to all people, and it’s unlikely you can be excellent at all five focal points. Just pick one.
A brand can stand out by doing one or two things better than everyone else.
But always keep your customer in mind:
- Do they value the focal point?
- Does it bring them back again and again?
The goal is to create an experience that your customers recognize, value, and seek out. What do you have to do to give your customers a reason to come back?