Differentiate Yourself by Leveraging the Complaints in the Industry by Carl Gould

There you are driving down the road to work when you come to a routine stop. You hear a grinding noise upon applying the brake pedal. You have heard that sound before and know what it means; it is time to get the brakes serviced. Where do your thoughts automatically go? What runs through your mind in the ‘grinding’ moment?

  • Inconvenience of the service
  • Being without my auto
  • Scheduling with the service center
  • What will I drive in the meantime?
  • What will the cost be?

Are these some of the thoughts you have as well? Have you noticed that the thoughts are mostly negative in nature? If so, you are not alone. If you are like most businesses, then your clients and prospects initially identify with the COMPLAINTS of your industry and not the benefits of your industry. This presents you with an opportunity: address the top-of-mind complaints of your prospects and you will differentiate yourself from your competitors who rarely take the time to address the complaints upfront.

Take a moment and write down the top five complaints in your industry. Which of those complaints can you fix, and roll into your business plan as a promise to your clients. Netflix’s mail-order movie business model did this and eliminated the traditional video rental store; The top complaints of renting videos were:

1. Video stores run out of titles
2. They charge late fees
3. The assess penalties (“Please be kind-Rewind” (remember that?))
4. Limited Store hours
5. Limited selection

Zappos online shoe distributor did this and transformed how people buy clothes, shoes and apparel online.

1. They don’t charge shipping to you
2. They don’t charge return shipping
3. Can’t decide? They will send you both choices
4. Send back the one(s) you don’t want at no charge
5. Excellent customer service and support

Where else can I learn about the top-of-mind customer complaints? Read customer reviews. social media groups and blogs to get a flavor for what are the problems that are being spoken about most. This will reaffirm your current list while providing some additional distinctions on consumer sentiment. How do I solve the top-of-mind problems of my clients? That’s a question you need to be able to answer. Most of your competitors focus on the positives of working with you; but the reality is that a lot of your prospects are thinking about the downsides of working with you. Leverage the complaints, solve those problems that are top of mind and you will differentiate yourself in the coming year.

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