Now, you may be thinking that, in these price conscious times, that having the best (lowest) price is all it takes to get customers. But, in many instances, this is just not true.
Being a self-confessed travel-nut, I like to keep up with what the travel industry are thinking, and today's Travel Mole posted survey results that supported a lot of what I believe is important in ANY business.
Here's an excerpt of the findings:
The survey polled consumers about why they remain loyal to a travel company, and found that top of the list was 'past good experiences' (65%), followed by 'good reputation' (53%) and 'offers best prices' (51%).
Oh look — pricing is less important than good experiences and service. That's pretty vital to remember in business, whatever you are selling.
Competing on price can be a slippery slope to your own business disaster if the margins are just not there, and so you need to use other weapons at your disposal. Ramping up your customer service and attention to detail, and protecting your reputation, become key. And the good news is that this doesn't have to cost you anything!
Make sure everything that you and your staff are doing is the best job possible, go the extra mile for your customers, and make it a better experience for them to buy from you than from a (cheaper) competitor. This will work for some, if not all, of your customers.
Another example of cheap prices not equalling best results explains why Waitrose is doing well in the face of stiff competiton from the budget supermarkets. OK, so anyone who knows me now is laughing as I am a VERY loyal Waitrose customer (well, it's just so lovely to shop there!), but I am prime example. I could shop at Lidl (OK, cue more laughter again from anyone who knows me), but I actually enjoy shopping at Waitrose, and will pay a little bit more for the quality, service and experience. And I'm not the only one who thinks this — as Waitrose and John Lewis just topped a poll of 14,000 shoppers surveys by Which? magazine for: convenience, pleasant store environment, helpful staff and quality products.
The important lessons here are that you need to give your customers a reason to keep buying from you, even if you can't compete on price. And make sure you communicate this in your marketing. If you personally inspect or oversee what you sell, and have 15 years of expeience, say that. If you have a 17-point checklist that your goods have to pass before you sell them, explain it. If you always include a free review or consultation with your service — say what this is in advance, and describe the benefits. Then your prospects know why to buy from you, and your customers are reminded.
You have to be better than your competition — but you don't have to be cheaper.
Let me finish with another excerpt from the Travel Mole story on survey results. And remember — this applies to EVERY type of business and their customers:
“Word-of-mouth recommendations figure highly in a holidaymakers' decision-making process, so it's essential that travel companies assess where the gaps are in their customer care strategies and invest in the technology and best practices to deliver exceptional customer experiences that will help future customer retention and acquisition."
I couldn't have said it better myself — except I will — be good to your customers, they are the most important asset in your business!
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