Article provided by 1-grid
Positioning your new company in a sought-after market may be a challenge at first, however, it is not impossible. When you begin your entrepreneurial journey, you must identify what sets you apart from the rest. 1-grid CEO and hosting industry expert, Thomas Vollrath provides that “through a sustainable differentiating factor, a start-up business can effectively position themselves within a competitive market”.
The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged businesses, however, it has also provided opportunities for them to develop their digital footprint. Entrepreneur SA contributes that online businesses are the best investment you will make based on scalability, freedom, cost-effectiveness, and the accessibility to a global market.
There are a number of differentiating strategies that you may consider when developing your digital presence, namely:
- Product: the features; performance; efficacy; durability; reliability; warranty and diversity of the product offering.
- Service: the customer journey; delivery and installation; communication; customer training and consulting.
- Channels: the focus of channels is how quickly the product or service is provided to the customer. Consider things such as coverage; expertise and performance.
- Relationship: the competence; courtesy; credibility; reliability and responsiveness of the support team
- Reputation: the image that you wish to convey. Focus on perception and advertising communications.
- Price: adjusting your pricing strategy to suit a particular customer segment or to exhibit your brands quality
Vollrath states, “within the hosting industry, customer service as a means of differentiation, is essential”. Based off of our experience at 1-grid, we have put together a few tips on how you can differentiate yourself through offering exceptional customer service:
- Understand who the customer is
To provide solutions to your customers, you need to understand them and their businesses. Take the time to learn about the business, the industry and the query. Once you understand this you can assist the customer as if you were their employee.
- Ask questions
Never assume that a customer’s business is the same. Ensure that you ask questions that direct the conversation. This will ensure that you have all the information you require to effectively assist the customer.
- Own the conversation
Provide your staff with the knowledge and tools to best assist a customer. The conversation should only be re-directed to another staff member if the customer query is relevant to a different department. Be courageous and ask questions, your customers will appreciate this.
- Close loose ends
If you have reached out to a customer, ensure that you have assisted them until their query is resolved. This creates further ownership and provides you with rapport. Customers prefer dealing with one agent as opposed to multiple.
- Educate your customer
Guide your customer along the journey. Provide them with access to resources such as a knowledge base, where they can turn to if they want to do their own reading.
- Mistakes and their successes
We are all human, and mistakes may be made. Customers won’t judge you on the mistake that you have made but rather how you handle it. Mistakes teach you important lessons, but remember that you should avoid repeating these in future and work on the areas that require improvement.
The pandemic has proven challenging to many businesses, but not only in a negative sense. Many businesses have had to reimagine the way they do things; these changes have enabled businesses to realize their potential, and for others it has provided opportunities to start businesses.
Although times are trying, businesses can use differentiating strategies to position themselves effectively in the competitive market. Grab a pen and paper and start writing down your challenges and where you think you currently stand and where you would like to differentiate yourself and then execute.