Regardless of the supply chain disruptions everyone is facing, customers still want to receive their orders much in the same way they would receive products from Amazon. Fast. Easy. No hassle. “Give me the option to purchase my products on my own, please.” “Ship it to me the next day, please.” “Give me an instant refund on my returns, please.”
Although striving to be like Amazon is definitely setting a high bar, let’s face it, it’s not achievable at the same scale unless you’re adding 10 Airbus aircraft to your fleet to speed up fulfillment or hiring 150,000 employees for the holidays or adding next-gen mechatronics to the warehouse. The Amazonian Effect has significantly changed consumer-shopping patterns forever, with Amazon leaving its competitors in the dust.
You’ll never outcompete Amazon. You need a better strategy. And, what is that strategy? First, develop your differentiation. Next, set expectations with your customers. Lastly, personalize their journey and you’ll set you apart with your customers.
Develop your Differentiation
There are a number of smart ways to differentiate to make your products or services real standouts in the market. Automate your sales processes and you will enable effective account reps. Be flexible with returns, giving customers a 100%-satisfaction-guaranteed-or-your-money- back offer or a 365-day return window. Invest in technology to develop an intuitive, self-service portal that streamlines your customers’ ordering process. In doing so, you are bringing so much value that your customers will keep looking for the newest model or next release.
Set Expectations with Your Customers
When creating that experience of excellence for your customers, set expectations from the onset. Ensure customers understand your protocols. By communicating with customers every step of the way, you are creating strong relationships and loyalty. They will see you as a critical part of their team.
Personalize Their Journey
Personalize the customer experience by building a responsive customer success team. They will be there to answer questions on the spot and resolve issues quickly. This provides opportunities for conversations that develop trust. Excellent customer service programs that provide simple, positive experiences will create loyal evangelists who publish five-star reviews everywhere.
A great example of differentiation and personalization comes from one of our customers and their business model. A Midwestern audio and video electronics company — in business for 150 years — prides itself on having products that have evolved, but a sales and service process that has not. For them, local connections matter, and they’re proudly touting that face-to-face interaction and handshakes is how they’ve operated for six generations.
Certainly, one can buy online from their comprehensive website of more than 15,000 products, but when the customer wants or needs a face and a name to go along with a purchase, this company is there to assist. They use their vast history and vast service knowledge to grow the business. This gives their customers a support team that comes with many years of expertise.
By developing your differentiation, setting expectations with your customers, and personalizing their journey, you set yourself apart. You may not be Amazon, but your customers won’t care.