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They all signal to customers that a company cares.
How do you attract customers in a race to the bottom industry? (hint: all industries eventually become a race to the bottom). Simply differentiating won’t work. Your competitors know how to be different too, so your only option is to out-care them. We love the companies that show they care more in some way. Or as Rory Sutherland from his book ‘Alchemy‘ would put it, the companies that signal they care do so because their business model depends on repeat customers.
Take Patagonia – they offer lifetime repairs on their clothing. How can they afford it? Is that a good business decision? When’s the last time you came across a lifetime warranty? It rarely happens anymore because few companies are focusing on the long-term. Patagonia is though. Given the choice in the future, you will trust them with your next jacket purchase because they care more than the competition.
My local cycling studio is taking Canada by storm, Wheelhouse Cycle Club has a unique strategy to ensure everyone feels welcome. When you arrive they high five you, when you go into the dark room they high five you, after your ride you get another one, and finally when you’re leaving – you guessed it – they give you a high five. It’s a funny thing that high five, it’s like a happy pill. Go on, give someone nearby you a high five, tell me you didn’t smile after!
We bake for customers. At the bottom of our invoices there is a line that reads, “pay within 7 days and we’ll bake you our ‘Free Prize Inside’ Cupcakes!” Why? Because it shows our customers we care a little more than the next company. Can you guess what happens in an accounting department when they see that line? This past year we delivered a lot of homemade cupcakes (brownies and cookies too!). We believe our ancestors, if in marketing, would do the same thing. Generosity seems to be in short supply lately, be generous to your customers and they will repay you with loyalty.
What do you offer for life? What’s your high-five? Do you bake customers cupcakes? Whatever it is you do, remember, caring more is a competitive advantage.