If you’re looking for points of differentiation, start obsessing over Customer Experience. Customer Experience (also known as User Experience) is how a business or product is designed. It takes into account how your customers’ needs are met or exceeded from the initial awareness of a business or product through to the post-purchase stage.
Airbnb is a great example as they really get the customer experience right. Airbnb enables people to rent out their spare bedroom or entire home. They target customers who are looking for cheaper accommodation away from the tourist track; and those renting out their homes to make additional income.
The thing is, room sharing sites or classifieds (like Gumtree and Craigslist) were around a long time before Airbnb came on the scene.
Airbnb approached the whole thing differently though. They didn’t just view their service as a simple listing of rooms on a website, they obsessed over the big picture as well as every minor detail. To alleviate trust issues, they handle the money exchange. To connect with their audience, they share emotional stories from travellers within their community. And the aesthetics of their website, mobile app and email marketing are sublime.
So how can you start improving your customer experience?
The best place to start is to map out how your customers expect to do something, such as booking a consultation or comparing why they should use your business instead of your competitors’. Then, look at how your website or service actually works. This technique is referred to as either customer experience mapping or mental modelling.
From your model above, choose an area or areas to focus on and seek out ideas to improve. When looking for inspiration, view not only at your competitors, but at other companies in different industries.
Once you’ve implemented improvements, test and tweak your changes until you notice positive results and receive glowing feedback.
High quality customer experiences can be applied to anything from buying a train ticket to acquiring lucrative financial products. As a business owner, you’re in the best position to implement changes and clients will notice when you do.