Longevity and uniqueness in the business world is almost a lost art form. Trying to separate your brand from the masses of other businesses can be exasperating. A half a century ago, business was fairly simple- you would get together with a couple of colleagues, decide on your brand, and if you were able to properly fund your idea, you would get started on advertising and marketing.
Today, with the power of the internet, the opportunity to own your own business is even more simple. With almost little to no budget, you are able to take an idea from its humble beginnings, to the pillar of success. The difference now, is that branding has become more difficult. With the onslaught of so many new businesses, everyone is almost a carbon copy of one another. If you’ve seen one brand, chances are you’ve seen the other, and with no distinguishable difference between the two. The question is: How can you make your brand stand out from all the rest?
Branding through V.I.P. service
Tony Hseih, the founder of Zappos, centered his business model around the idea of outstanding customer service. He figured out that when customers experienced more positive associations with their company, the more they would create repeat business, referrals and word of mouth advertising as well. His concept of V.I.P or WOW customer service developed into a successful billion-dollar corporation.
The experience that a customer has with a company can produce both positive and negative results. It goes without saying that if a customer has a negative experience, they will talk about it. The same is true about positive experiences. However, it should be known that a negative impact could have more of a detrimental impact on business profits…
A dissatisfied consumer will tell between 9 and 15 people about their experience. About 13% of dissatisfied customers tell more than 20 people.
Source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs, Washington, DC
Therefore, it should be the goal of all businesses to make the best impression possible with all of their customers. It actually costs 5 times as much to obtain a new customer than to retain an old one, so keeping and maintaining customers for repeat business is a necessity. To start this process, here are a couple of suggestions:
• Make customer service a priority. If you own your own business, go out of your way to make sure that your customer gets everything they need and more. If you are an employer, make sure your employees know that customer service is priority at your company.
• Make WOW a verb that is a part of your vocabulary. Not only should you strive to meet the needs of your customers, but also you should strive to go above and beyond. WOW is the verb that the Zappo’s company has ingrained into the very strain of their company, and every employee is expected to WOW each and every customer. Not just the standard service, but WOW service.
• Be accessible. Make sure customers know that you’re available for them. Post your phone number visibly on your website and promotional items. The more accessible you are, the more trust that is gained, and the more repeat business is earned.
So, to distinguish your brand, develop a culture of providing V.I.P. or WOW service to every customer. This practice will not only help your brand to stand out amongst your competitors, but it will also bring a stream of referrals, repeat business, and increased profit!
References: Hsieh, Tony. Delivering Happiness, A path to profits, passion, and purpose. New York: Business Plus, 2010.