Does the following sound familiar?
Your prospective customer has a problem. They research their problem and potential solutions. It may be that your prospective customer is trying to shrink their sales cycle or increase employee productivity. Or it may be that your prospect is a young lawyer who is looking to start his or her own firm and wants to reach out to others who have done the same..
Your company or membership organization has a solution. However, your prospect has found other solutions as well. To your prospect, the price, features, and company profiles are similar. How can you set your organization apart and close the sale?
Customer Experience is Your Secret Differentiator
Do you Know What Your Customers or Members Will Pay a Premium For?
In a crowded market where your organization completes for a share of your target audience’s mind and budget, it is critical to set yourself apart. However, just being different is not enough. As a sales, marketing, or membership professional, you need to know what your prospects are willing to pay a premium for and make that central to your value proportion. Here are some examples:
- Apple knew that their new 2012 iPad customers will pay a premium for an upgraded camera, 4G download speeds, and a ton more pixels on their screens.
- Guests to the Walt Disney World Resort pay a premium for customer service, cleanliness, and top-notch themed experiences.
- Salesforce.com customers pay a premium for a broad support ecosystem, the AppExchange, and R&D with deep pockets.
The common thread among these companies is that they stand out from a commoditized market by put their emphasis on the features that are most important to their customers. It would be an eye-opening misstep for Apple to highlight the price of the new iPad or for Disney to position their theme parks as thrill-ride destinations.
Are You Worth It? The Ways That Prospective Customers or Members Pay a Premium
In an era of tight budgets and visible accountability, every dollar spent is considered a premium. Every product and service is scrutinized heavily against the status quo. Even in industries where perks, gadgets, and the latest tools used to flow freely, compliance and cash flow oversight are high priorities. Viewing everything as a premium is the new normal.
Customers or members also see their time as a premium. What is it about the value your product or service provides that commands their attention and focus more than the hundreds of competing priorities your audience encounters each week?
In many cases, your target market is putting their personal brand on the line to work with your organization. When someone makes the case to work with your company, or join your membership organization, they often have to sell the idea internally to potentially dozens of people. Does your product or service uniquely solve a problem that is important enough that your champion will go to bat for you with co-workers and management?
Online Community Takeaway
Why Do Customers and Members Pay A Premium For a Community-Based Customer Experience?
Providing an online community in which your customers, employees, and partners can collaborate is not enough to close more sales. It is the way that you use your online customer community that matters. Here are three reasons that using your online customer community during the sales process helps you acquire more customers.
- Social Proof. By making your online customer or member community a central part of your value proposition, your prospects can see first-hand the success that others are experiencing with your organization, as well as diminishing risk by being exposed to the community that they will have supporting them.
- Flexibility. Professional online community software is the most flexible customer experience tools in an organizations tool belt. Whether the experiences that your customer or members are willing to pay a premium for are basic, such as networking, being social online, or having a central repository of information - or more complex, such as getting technical support quickly , collaboration, and access to experts – online communities can be shaped around your specific market or industry.
- Augmented Staff. Pairing your products or services with an active online community is especially important to prospective customers that want to do more with less. Online customer communities give your customers’ teams access to documents, templates, how-to videos, ways to validate ideas, and 24x7 access to getting questions answered to help them succeed in their jobs.
Positioning your online community to solve with your customers’ most critical problems is essential to providing a customer experience that sets your organization apart. When identifying which components of your offering that your target audience will ‘pay a premium’ for, keep the following in mind:
All Part of Your Product or Service are Cool, Many are Important, Only Few Deserve a Customer’s Time, Money, and Reputation. Build Your Customer Experience Around Those Few.