What makes some companies stand out?


Share on LinkedIn

I don’t think there is a magic formula, specific software, or a fancy marketing plan that can make a customer like a particular company. I just think companies like Zappos.com, Barnes and Noble, and Apple have figured out what customers like and have adopted the customer-centric culture where everyone in the company understands what customers expect.

Let’s start with how and why customers find us, and let’s assume a potential customer hears about a specific product from a friend, relative, or the internet. Most likely the search starts online, and the consumer searches for a particular vendor. Buyers may look at social media reviews, and then proceed to look for online promotions and sales. If your store fits the criteria, carries the merchandise, and can be competitively priced, the purchaser may show up at your brick and mortar store to make the purchase in person.

So how do you keep this customer coming back to you? Even successful companies struggle in this economy, but those who look at things from the customer point of view and make decisions accordingly seem to have the upper hand and the most business. Top performers have customer service agents who use positive language. “I can certainly help you with this,” is a far better statement than, “I will find my manager to try and help you.” Even with a complaint looming, a statement such as, “We certainly value you as a customer,” is much more positive than, “It’s not our policy to make returns on sale items.”

Customer feedback and information need to be widely available. (VOC – Voice of the Customer) Customers need to be able to lodge complaints because that can make a profound difference in solving future problems. For instance, if enough people complain about checking account fees added on balances of less than $500, there’s a chance for a bank to solve the problem and dispense with the fee. Customer service representatives need to be listening as customers lodge the complaints, and instructing agents not to type until the customer is finished can help agents listen more effectively.

A company can not always solve all of their problems at once, but being able to prioritize and design an action plan can benefit customer expectations. Everyone in the company needs to concentrate on specific tasks and have a plan. It’s no coincidence that top companies continue to make constant commitments to excellence, and share those commitments with their employees while carefully scrutinizing the latest innovations, economic, and social trends.

photo credit: h.koppdelaney

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Cheryl Hanna
Service Untitled
Cheryl Hanna is a successful real estate sales person in Florida and has used her customer service knowledge and experience to set her apart and gain a competitive edge in a very difficult market. Cheryl has been writing professionally since 1999 and writes for several blogs and online publications


  1. I couldn’t agree more, Cheryl. The best way to make your company stand out is to engage the customer in a personal way to create a positive customer experience . . . each and every time they do business with you.

    Exemplary customer engagement comes down to knowing what kind of information your customer wants, as well as when and how they want to receive it. Using communication technology such as voice mail, e-mail and SMS texting, companies can create a dialogue with customers that not only makes a connection, but inspires them to take action.

    Engagement Communications applies high technology communications in a way that creates a personal, human touch. The focus is not customer “contact”, it is engagement. Contact is one-directional while engagement is a two-way street. Creating these ongoing two-way dialogues with customers not only fulfills the promise of building better customer relationships, but also creates a constant feedback loop that gives companies deeper insights into their customers’ motivations and needs.

    Companies that pay attention to what customers do and listen to what they say can deliver precise and intuitive recommendations that result in more sales. In a customer’s eyes, this will help distinguish a company from their competitors.

    Let me provide this example. We recently had the opportunity to work with Cornerstone Family Practice to implement an automated messaging system called HouseCalls to remind patients of appointments and confirm their attendance. Before the practice began delivering appointment notifications, an average of 10-12 no-shows occurred each day among the 130 scheduled visits. This number was instantly reduced to 3-4 no-shows per day with HouseCalls in place – a two thirds reduction. At an average charge of $100 per patient visit, HouseCalls has resulted in approximately $800 of daily retained revenue, which translates into more than $200,000 in annual retained revenue.

    From the patient’s standpoint, HouseCalls appointment confirmations have been a breath of fresh air. Patient-specific information (name, doctor name, date of appointment) can be embedded in the message, which is delivered in a natural voice to retain the warm feel of a personal call. When the patient listens to the message, they are given the option of confirming or cancelling their appointment. Advance notice of a patient cancellation is an important feature for helping the practice manage its appointments.

    Likewise, the same practice implemented LabCalls to streamline the way lab results are communicated with patients. The practice gives patients unique login information that allows them to retrieve their test results messages 24/7 via toll-free number or the Internet. Test results can often be a source of anxiety for patients, and they would prefer not to have to wait for a letter. Patients are given the responsibility to dial in toll-free or go online to obtain an interpreted version of the results.

    Through communications with their patients, the practice found out patient satisfaction with the test results delivery process improved, indicating that when it comes to lab results, no news is NOT good news. This level of customer engagement redefines the customer experience and generates the level of brand loyalty that makes a company stand out.
    Thank you for the post.

    Scott Zimmerman


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here