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How do you become the obvious choice of your potential customers among a pool of equally good (or at least equally good-looking) service providers?
I started thinking about this after my experience of online shopping with two leading companies here in India. My first time shopping online was with this site called Myntra. I ordered clothes from them a couple of times and was quite impressed (of course, I didn't have anything to compare the service to). Though finding something I like for the right cost took some time, placing an order was easy, the deliveries were on time, I was notified by text message prior to delivery. Returning an item was a pain. It required that I log in to my account, place a return order, print out the specific return form, place it in a package with the product to return, print & paste the 'Return to' address slip on top and then courier it myself to the given address. They, of course, credited the courier cost back to me.
Now months later I heard about a competitor of Myntra called Fashionara. Having become quite familiar with Myntra processes, I was hesitant to switch. But still decided to give it a try. And I'm glad I did.
With the tons of filters and offers very prominently placed on the site, finding something I wanted was much much faster. But the factor that made me switch to them for good was, without doubt, the Returns process. Every product was delivered with its own returns form. To return an item all I had to do was put the product in the package with the provided return form. Then stick the 'Return to' address sticker (which was also enclosed in the original package delivered!) And then send a short text message to the company number. Blue dart courier people were standing at my doorstep to pick up my return parcel the next day!
As you see, the products were pretty much the same, but it was the service and the ease of operation that made Fashionara the obvious choice. Even the smallest things count when it comes to making your brand stand out against your competition.
What is the purpose of my company? What am I offering? To whom in particular? Who is my target audience? How are my services/products any different than what others in the same industry are offering? Why would I choose me over them?
Ask yourself these questions and note down the answers to get a clear idea. For example, I started 83 Oranges to offer awesome yet affordable designing services to small and medium size businesses.
Make yourself easily accessible to your audience. This can be through social media, Skype, phone number etc.
Make sure these details are clearly displayed on your website and other profiles.
Not every person that contacts you will be a potential customer but they might also contact you because they have a question or need help with something connected to your expertise. Be kind and communicate with these people trying to solve their problems. If your help comes with a fee, go ahead and tell them so. But don't ignore such enquiries.
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