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In an earlier blog entry I asked readers to look at all the things they did in the business that impacted the customer, from how they dealt with initial enquiries through to supply of the product and even the processing of payment. If you haven’t done this do it now. You’re looking for small edges, improvements that can make a difference.

Most businesses don’t want to compete on price alone. One way to avoid this is to examine every step of the customer journey process and look for the value you bring. Once again, look at it through your customer’s eyes. In particular, look for the things you do well.

One customer of mine commits to have phone calls answered in three rings….by a real person. And their sales team always return calls on the same day. Some of their competitors cut corners with automated answering of phones (“press 1 if your call is to do with ‘x’ and press 2 if your call is to do with ‘y’) and ultimately routes callers through to call centres. My customer checked what their personalised approach meant to customers, and now makes sure it emphasises this benefit to all new prospects.

This is sometimes called ‘Added Value’ and is often worth something to customers. Eddie Stobart lorry drivers are famous for being smartly dressed, for many years wearing shirts and ties, when competitors’ drivers could be wearing, well, anything. It made his customers feel good, proud to have their promises delivered by his lorries, with their distinctive livery and well-turned out drivers. I am sure it was a key selling point when Stobart sales teams negotiated with customers in the very competitive haulage market.

Don’t under-sell yourself. Just because you do something well, doesn’t mean everyone does it well. Shout about your added value. And think what else could you do in your business to be that little bit better

Take action: examine all the things you do well. Add these to your sales or marketing pitch. Look for anything you can improve.

Next up: what to do when things go wrong