Experience is quickly becoming king in differentiating between like-minded businesses and industries. Competition is everywhere, and everyone is striving to provide the ‘best’ experience for their customers. So how do you set yourself apart? Here, BARE International shares an article by Dan Gingiss for Forbes on Why Your Competition For Customer Experience Is Amazon And Everyone Else.
‘Do you know who your competition really is?
In the old days, your customers used to compare you to the local competition – the grocery store down the street or the “other” plumber in town. Then over time, they started to compare you to online companies. Today, your customers compare you to every customer experience they have with every other brand. The competition isn’t just your direct competitors, although they’re still there of course. It’s grown to include all of the customer experiences your customer has every day.
For example, let’s say one of your customers and a loved one went out to dinner last night at a nice restaurant. They had a great waiter that really took care of them, the special chef’s menu was unique and memorable, and they had a wonderful evening. It was a big bill at the end of the night, but they didn’t mind paying it, because the food, atmosphere and service were all stellar.
Then the next day, that customer walks into your store, or they go to your website, or they talk to one of your employees. Their expectation is that your company’s experience should be as good as that dinner they had the night before. Whether or not that comparison is fair is beside the point; this is how customers today think about the companies with which they choose to do business.
During my time as head of digital customer experience for Discover Card, I led the efforts to drastically improve the Discover.com website experience for the nearly 50 million customers who logged in every month. As the team and I sought out other great website examples, we realized that we weren’t just competing against other credit card websites. We were competing against Amazon, Netflix, Facebook and Google, because they’re the ones that set the standard for what a good experience looks like on a website.
Customer expectations continue to rise based on the experiences they have with other companies, and once they see what a great experience looks like, they then want that all the time.
Consider Amazon, which has completely reinvented the shopping experience, both online and offline. Prime members get used to seeing the UPS delivery person multiple times per week, because Amazon delivers packages for free in just two days. Those same shoppers occasionally find themselves trying to buy something on another site because the item isn’t available on Amazon, and they are charged a hefty shipping fee. The instant reaction is, “Why do I have to pay? Amazon doesn’t make me pay.”
Amazon identified something in the shopping process that was required – the shipping – and made it remarkable by making it free and fast. It has set the standard for what a great shipping experience looks like, so now customers expect that everywhere.
Your competition is everyone with whom your customers are interacting.
This is happening across industries, both national – people are learning to search Netflix, Amazon Prime, and others for the same movie to see which site offers it for free – and local. In Chicago, there are two two different deep-dish pizza companies that offer to ship frozen pies anywhere in the country. One of them offers four pizzas for about $100, but with a $24 shipping charge. In other words, it was essentially a “buy 5, get 4” deal because the shipping charge is the same as ordering another pizza. In contrast, their competitor baked the cost of the shipping into the pizza price (no pun intended), offering four pizzas for a few dollars more but with free shipping. When I had a choice recently for a housewarming gift, I went with the one that offered free shipping.
Consider these three steps when building your next customer experience:
- Expand your competitive set beyond your direct competitors. Look at every company that your customer may be doing business with, or a sampling of that, so that you can ask yourself whether your experience is as good as that.
- Experience those competitive companies yourself, to better understand what a great experience looks like. And don’t just experience them once; you need to stay up-to-date on the latest experience trends because your customers are, and these top companies are the ones that are continuing to innovate and raise the experience bar.
- Incorporate the best experiences into your own business, whatever business that is and however that may be applicable. Follow those brands that are doing it really well, and find ways to mimic the best parts of the experience into your business so that your company is considered just as remarkable.’
Assess the strengths and weaknesses of competitors using real-time data. BARE International’s Competitor Analysis reports provide comprehensive insights geared to give you the industry advantage. Ask us how.
Read the full article at the source here.
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