Hobson Associates

8 Ways to Set Your Company Apart From the Competition

Men wearing suits and bright colored socksNo matter what industry you’re in, you’re certain to have competitors-- whether it's someone selling a similar product or service, or someone who wants to snag your top job candidate. Whatever the competition is, we all want to beat them and stand out to our clients and consumers.

Yet, in today’s world where everyone claims to be # 1, it’s not so easy to differentiate and build your own authentic identity. Effective differentiation happens to be one of the main challenges small businesses face, as they are forced to compete against the big dogs.

Here are some effective ways to help your company stand out from the rest of the crowd:

Always provide top-notch customer satisfaction/service:  All customers have expectations of great service and will not put up with poor response time, long lines, and bad attitudes. Around 75% of customers state that they consider customer service a true test of a company’s competency. Both small and large companies are stepping up in this area, as they learn how powerful remarkable customer service is in generating loyalty.

Always be improving:  One bad experience that remains unresolved can cause a customer to write off a brand. Word of mouth and negative feedback spread like a wildfire and now with technology and social media, it’s explosive. Be on top of your game. Fix mistakes and resolve issues, whether they are your fault or not. Customers will respect a brand or company that owns up and resolves an issue-- in fact, it can make a relationship stronger.

Always be honest:  Transparency should be your main policy. Don’t overpromise and underdeliver. If you miss a deadline, let your customer know right away. You staff messed up or your rep made a mistake? Immediately have a tough conversation with your client. Do not shoot yourself and get caught up in lying. Customers and clients will lose trust and faith, and any negative backlash can bury your business.

Always be reinventing yourself:  Try to stay ahead of the curve by reinventing yourself, adopting new ideas, trends and emerging technologies to introduce a new product, process or solution. This applies not only in business, but in all aspects of life. Technology and social media have becoming the norm and primary way for most to express new ideas and grab your attention. However, to be effective, the product or service must be up to par. Don’t be late to the party.

Always embrace corporate social responsibility:  Some argue businesses solely revolve around taking care of their stakeholders, customers, employees and owners. Yet, businesses should also make an impact on their community by giving back. Take Microsoft as an example: They have an excellent Corporate Social Responsibility program that not only helps society, but also gives them good press. CSR programs help businesses stay in customers’ minds, improve goodwill, and often bring more revenue.

Always offer a guarantee:  If you can guarantee on time delivery of a product or service and can stand behind that statement 100%, then JUST DO IT. Customer satisfaction is paramount, but make sure you can back it up!

Always keep up your online presence:  Don’t be that company that gets overlooked online. Most companies, forward thinking companies that is, are familiar with the benefits of a strong online presence (website, social media, blog, SEO, etc.). According to Google, 97% of consumers use the web to search for local businesses – and if the vast majority of your potential customers are online, you should be too.

Always hire smart, nice people:  This element is crucial to the success or failure of your company. Be known in the marketplace as the company with the fun group of professionals who are not only intelligent and hardworking, but who are nice and empathetic...the staff that will hustle and stop at nothing to get something done. Be known as the company whose employees answer every call, come up with solutions before there is a problem, and are honest when things don’t go as planned. Be known as the company with the staff everyone wants.

In a world of infinite choices, fierce competition and the desire for instant gratification, standing out and gaining long-term loyalty is not easy, but certainly doable. By putting some of the above tactics into action, you’ll be improving and beating the competition in no time. 

What are your strategies for making your company stand out and leave a mark in your industry? Leave a comment below!

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