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When you’re a male penguin it’s difficult to impress the ladies with your attire. Even in the most exclusive sectors of penguin society, the black and white combination has been done to death. To inspire the hen of your dreams, you’ll need that “special something” to distinguish yourself from the rest of the colony.
The emperor penguin has developed a skill that allows him to do just that. He stands out above the rest. He marches past the masses of mirrored images and conducts business with a niche that is loyal to him. What is his secret and could it be transferred to the business world?
Entrepreneurs and small business owners often feel the “penguin syndrome.” They squawk a similar sound along with the competition, lost in a sea of noise, and they vie for enough sustenance to survive. How could they stand out above the rest and develop a loyal tribe of buyers when their larger competition can outspend them on advertising and greatly reduce their cost?
Related: How to Set Yourself Apart From the Competition
While there are lots of ways to lift your business above the pack, four are extremely practical, tremendously beneficial and often overlooked.
1. Be accessible
Somewhere along the business timeline, it became cool to remain hidden behind a website. Perhaps the more elusive you are, the more important you seem. Many companies give the buyer the challenge of finding their number, the name of the business owner, a personal email address, any access to a human, or even in what part of the world the business resides.
This is an excellent idea if you are a spy but customers like accessibility. They want to see your face. They want to know who runs the place and who is responsible. Whether they contact a human directly or not, they like to know it is an option.
According to the findings posted in a Consumer Reports article, two of the top irritants of customers are hidden or unposted phone numbers and the inability to get a live person on the phone.
2. Answer the question
“Will this parachute open when I pull the cord?” Like many other questions in business, this one requires a definitive answer. The very common, “It should,” will not be sufficient to close the deal.
With all the dodges, half-answers and verbal Jiu-jitsu, potential clients must sometimes wonder if anybody has a distinct answer to any question they ask.
Know your stuff. Give your asker an answer. Let them know you absolutely can and will solve their problem because you’ve done it a million times before and it is why you went into business to begin with. What a relief.
3. Eliminate the hassle
If your plate isn’t full every day, you are a rare bird. You likely don’t have the time or energy to jump through hoops to get help from a company that should have given it to you to begin with.
Placing the burden back on the buyer is a key factor in the loss of loyalty. When customers who call with a problem are asked to visit the website for answers or make efforts to fix errors made by the company, they tend to look for better treatment elsewhere.
In fact, in a 75,000-person study by the Customer Contact Council, the Harvard Business Review reveals that loyalty to a business is less connected to a customer’s delight in the business and much more related to their personal lack of effort in getting their problem resolved.
To stand out, make your transactions and problem-solving free of aggravation and watch your customers return even if they must pay a bit more.
Related: 7 Ways to Position Yourself So People See You as an Expert
4. Do what you say
In a culture of false promises, nothing makes a business excel in the eyes of the buyer like coming through on promises time after time. Phrases such as “Let me see what I can do,” and “I’ll get back to you on Monday,” are seldom believed by either party.
Be the exception and reap the benefits.
When you promise to call at a certain time and actually do, you may be met with surprise. It’s a sad treatise on the times in which we live but it works to the great advantage of the company that wants to stand tall above the rest.
The secret of the emperor penguin is that he has a special call. It is a sound that is unique to him. It resonates in the ears of his beloved as the one true white-crested king. It is this call that is distinguished above countless thousands of simultaneous sounds.
You too can have a distinguishable sound to your client base. You are the one who is accessible, you return calls, solve problems promptly and know the answers to the important questions. You take the burden on yourself, and you are reliable to do what you say.
The emperor penguin has much to teach us. He’s loyal, he knows his job and he does it, he stands strong in hard times and he cares about those for whom he is responsible. If he were an entrepreneur, he would, no doubt, be successful and make a lot of money.
But, no pockets.