Compete In A Crowded Industry With Better Customer Service
One of my weaknesses as an entrepreneur is that if I see even one other company that is offering the same products I want to sell I start to question whether the world needs another competitor. Stupid, isn’t it? Because if you look closely you’ll almost always find that there is something they are doing badly that you could do better.
Mark Holowaychuk, founder of Vitamart.ca, bought a lot of vitamins and other health products online, and he was frustrated by how badly many of the online companies were serving their customers. He believed that he could do better.
He’ll be talking at the upcoming eTail Canada conference, May 11 – 14, 2015, about surprising and delighting customers when they get your parcel. If you are thinking of going to that conference, my listeners and readers get a 25% discount, just by using the code ETAILCA15FRANK.
In today’s interview, he discusses how he’s built a fast-growing company based on offering better customer service than his competitors. Some of the things they do:
- 10/10 Customer Experience Guarantee:If a customer is not satisfied for any reason, they’ll give the customer a $10 gift certificate (as well as resolving the problem, of course!)
- A super-strong returns policy: If the customer is not 100% satisfied with their products for any reason, Vitamart will take any product back within 60 days, even if its been opened and used!
- Surprises sent with shipments: They’ll toss in samples, magazines or other unexpected gifts with shipments, so there’s always an element of surprise and delight when customers get their parcels.
- Personalized hand-written notes: As Mark noted, it is easy to forget, when you are ordering online, that there are actually people on the other side of the screen. Things like personalized hand-written notes help build a sense of connection between the company and its customers.
- New customer phone calls: When you are just starting a business, you have few enough customers that you can call all who place their first order to see how the experience was. This can be a goldmine of information for your business. Vitamart calls them “Delivering Happiness Calls”.
Margins are not huge in this highly competitive health products space. So how can he afford all this (as well as fast free shipping)? Mark’s answer: “Sacrifice short term profit for long term loyalty and success.” It works.
Over To You
What could you toss in with shipments that would surprise and delight your customers? It doesn’t have to be expensive; it’s the surprise that delights.