If you take the time to visit any website in any industry you will likely see a very common pattern. That involves the message. Each will talk about what they do and how great they are at what they do. A simple formula really and it speaks to human nature. We all enjoy talking about ourselves and given the opportunity that is exactly what we will all do.
To say it requires discipline to move the conversation to, “What is in it for the customer?” is an understatement. Quite frankly, along with people loving to talk about themselves, the next handicap we all suffer from involves us all thinking we are pretty darn good at what we do. It therefore goes without saying that anyone would benefit from a visit to our business and that will become clear after we remind everyone who visits our site about how great we are.
Web Design is a communication vehicle.
When thinking about your website you need to ask the all-important question, “How is my site different than everyone else’s?” Of course, to most people that means a better design with stronger imagery, photography and so on. This again follows an internal drive to express ourselves at the exclusion of what is best for the reader. Another extension of the “LOOK AT ME!” handicap inherent in human nature.
Distinguishing yourself from others means how are you different?
To differentiate yourself from the competition you must first ask yourself what you stand for and how are you validating that. There are two simple ways in which anyone can effectively validate their value: You can offer industry-leading guarantees or you can have exceptional customer reviews and testimonials. It’s that simple.
When it comes to guarantees I understand how many business owners are concerned about customer abuse. It’s natural to worry if you offer 100% money back guarantee for 90 days when your competition is offering a 30-day guarantee you will draw all the unsavoury consumers who will abuse your guarantee. Research simply doesn’t reflect this. There are many examples of companies who have tested extraordinary guarantees which resulted in sales increases which more than made-up for any loss. Zappos is a great example of a business that was built on extreme guarantees, but a more commonly known one might be Domino’s Pizza with their, “There in 30 minutes or it’s free!” guarantee. This offer has propelled the company into a leader in the restaurant industry. If you can create a guarantee that raises the bar you can rest assured it will translate into increased sales.
Testimonials are no longer a luxury
The data on what percentage of consumers read reviews before frequenting an establishment is staggering and projected to continue to rise in years to come. In the restaurant industry that is as high as 65% and if you are in a Business to Consumer (B2C) industry you must establish a strategy to capture and respond to reviews. As stated above, everyone believes they provide a good service and that should be your starting point. If you believe otherwise you should address those deficiencies before developing a strategy for collecting reviews and testimonials.
I believe it’s fair to say that a consumer would value a review from another consumer over any statement you might make. The word “self-serving” comes to mind. It is therefore important for every business owner to initiate a conversation with their customers on the quality of their experience. Nothing is more valuable in establishing your value and confirming the quality of your service than positive reviews from customers. If you haven’t done so already you need to get started today.