What’s the difference…?


Okay…, so how different is one drycleaner or laundromat from another? Or one mega-grocery chain store from its closest compeitor?

What about one branch or another at the county library, or one discount retailer from the one across the street?

The same can be said for many hotels, churches, accounting fims, banks, and… just about anyone else.

In terms of product or service, there is often very little difference. In terms of experience, however, …the sky’s the limit.

Beyond business model and marketing strategy, let’s just look at common sense. Let’s look at bringing current customers back.

Let’s start by treating them the way we would want to be treated… in fact, let’s engage them in conversations that will allow us to treat them the way they would like to be treated.

This is where every member of your team, and every touch point needs to be intentionally involved in marketing… creating the customer experience.


When the functionality of the product or service is similiar or equal, everything else carries that much more weight.

If delivery is messed up, you lose the customer… inflexible billing terms, yup… lose the customer. Discourteous receptionist or nonresponsive staff, lose the customer. Inaccurate information, missed deadlines… unkept promises… exaggerated claims… you guessed it…, lose the customer.

Employees make constant mistakes… well, you know the next three words.

Obviously, the possible factors that could influence customer experience are limitless. That being the case, be sure to focus on elements that are important to the customer…, things which are valuable, which make a difference, and which they are willing to pay for.


I would start by personally sitting down with the least satisfied customers, and go from there.

Drop all defenses and listen… really listen. We need to remove the emotional involvement and hear what they are saying if we want to keep their business… and improve our service.

Then work your way up, keeping in mind the profile you created of your ideal customer.

In doing so, you’ll not only save the cost of replacing customers… you’ll also save the cost of attracting new business; the referrals that satisfied customers always generate for you through genuine word of mouth.

When it comes to most small business marketing, differentiating ourselves is not typically that difficult. When we put ourselves in our customers’ shoes… see through their eyes, we don’t end up stuck having to compete just on price.

I look forward to speaking with you soon.



When all there is, is competition on price…, all that is usually memorable, is a bad experience.



1) During this Christmas season, take a notepad or mp3 recorder with you as you go about having your shopping experiences. Very consciously take notes of positive and negative interactions and experiences at each stop.

2) Then, in the quiet of your home or office, ask yourself what improvements you would make if you owned that business.

3) Begin applying this mindset and thought process to your own business.


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