Your product or service must be good – that’s a given. But if you’re going to win, it’s about the experience.

Great companies understand that when it comes to offering a product or service, delivering competently on the basics is just the cost of entry: It’s necessary but not sufficient.

Customers have much higher expectations.

They’re looking for something that makes your company stand out as a little bit above average. These ‘moments of truth’ are critical and if done poorly they can send potential customers fleeing to your competitors.

Consider mobile phone companies, for example- while customers care about prices, Data allowance, number of minutes in their plans, the quality of connections and the phone models available, it turns out that it can be things like data roaming charges, unclear billing statements and surprise hidden fees that can drive people away from their carriers.

Or consider your local coffee shop- the shops that do the most business aren’t the ones that serve the best or the cheapest coffee, it’s those that provide Wi-Fi, ample space, easy parking, good lighting, nice comfy seating and allow you to stay, unrushed.

Or lastly, I recently brought a new house and received a new home pack from the estate agent filled with little treats for me and my family which was a lovely little gesture.

We are all experts on it; we all know the difference between good and bad products and services when we see and feel them.

All businesses, whether big or small, should go to the trouble of learning those little things that customers value above and beyond the basic product or service. If you don’t already, you should find out what causes your customers to be dissatisfied and try other brands. How do they make their choices when they buy?

You can learn this a number of different ways:

  • One-on-one interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Quantitative surveys
  • “Listening” to online conversations on Twitter and relevant blogs
  • Purchasing and experiencing competitors’ products and services first hand
  • Benchmarking other relevant industries to glean ideas

Once you have this essential basic knowledge, brainstorm all the ways in which you can surprise and delight customers. Then test them to see how big an impact they make.

If it doesn’t get your customers talking, it probably isn’t worth doing!

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