This old marketing gem asks you to answer the question, “Why should a customer do business with me instead of my competitors?”
There are two major benefits in developing a USP. First, it clearly differentiates your business in the eyes of your current and potential customers or clients. Second, it focuses your and/or team on delivering the promise of the USP, helping to improve your internal performance.
The USP may be used repetitively in your marketing literature to build the customer’s or client’s identification of your company with your product or service. So many products have generic selling features that often the only way they feel they can differentiate themselves is on price.
The Extra Value Position EVP
You can differentiate your product by your Extra Value Position. The EVP is the service relationship that wraps around your physical product. In my previous rocking horse making/class business we placed a lot of emphasis on service and relationship factors such as providing telephone support when folk got stuck somewhere in the process of making or restoring their own horse. We strove to make sure that we provided a friendly, relaxed and fun atmosphere in the classes and that they are happy with their final results.
We exceeded the customer’s expectation with every contact. Our professional, friendly and helpful phone manner was a constant, even if it meant referring them to another supplier.
We provided additional information on accommodation, restaurants, tourist attractions, maps etc in the booking pack. They didn’t expect this, but the information provided took the fear of the unknown out of travelling to an area they are not familiar with and plants the seed that a few days extra stay in the area either side of their class might be fun.
On graduating from their class, we provided a graduation photo, framed diploma, silkscreen apron, embroidered cap and a goodies bag – all of which were completely unexpected. Some folk handed the cap and apron back after the graduation photo thinking they were just for the photo – the “something for nothing” takes them completely by surprise. Rewards (unexpected or otherwise), plus great service will build loyalty.
The students have expressed that they expected (and would have been happy with) sandwiches on an outdoor setting for the lunches. We exceed the expectation by having a three course catered lunch in the house, sitting up to a nicely set table with all the trimmings. While it seems a simple thing, inviting our students into our home to eat with us said to them “I consider you a friend and value your company”. It exceeded their expectation and built a relationship.
Ensuring customer satisfaction and loyalty will give you a competitive edge. We ensured customer satisfaction in our classes by taking care to read their emotional state at the morning/afternoon teas and resolving any concerns they have at that time. We also conducted a satisfaction survey at the end of each class so they can express anonymously their feedback on the experience. The satisfaction survey lets us measure and compare their expectations against the actual experience and correct as necessary.
To survive in business today, you not only need to differentiate, but you need to deliver, over deliver and keep on delivering. With social media, news travels fast and bad news travels faster than ever – so you must keep on delivering on your brand promise everyday – long after the initial purchase.