What are your competitors doing with CX?

I do hope you have answers for this! But are your answers up to date? And do they lead to action?

I’ve heard many business leaders say they don’t check their competitors’ customer experiences at all! They say things like “We pay close attention to the market” or “We offer the best CX we can, so there’s no reason to.” For real.

But checking competition regularly with a focus on the experiences they offer sheds light on so much more than just your organization’s place in the market. By knowing what customers expect, receive and wish for in your industry, you can make improvements that differentiate your brand in ways your customers will notice. (And ideally, theirs will notice too!)

Here are a few ideas to help understand how your customer experience stacks up and discover how to make it stand out.

1. Find out why customers are leaving your competitors.

Customers love telling their friends about their bad experiences. They especially love broadcasting exactly why they. Have. Just. HAD IT! And this kind of insight is easy to find, thanks to forums, review sites and social networks.

Many customers are even telling your competitors how to make the experience better. And in many cases, that insight is being ignored. Their loss, but it can be an easy win for your organization!

Don’t wait for your customers to make the same complaints. Investigate and map out those parts of your own experience. If you’re doing the same thing to your customers, prioritize putting a stop to it before it becomes their last straw too.

2. Consider what’s missing from the typical experience.

Disruption always gets attention, but disrupting where it counts may not be a huge undertaking.

One thing I like to do for clients is look for archaic “standards” that don’t make a lot of sense to today’s busy, hyper-connected customers.

Think of common, dismissive phrases like “This is how it is done in our industry.” It is often where the best disruptions happen. Start considering these outdated standards as opportunities to improve and differentiate before your competitors catch on.

Here’s one of my favorite examples:

A friend of mine owns a salon that was closed on Mondays, as is the standard. He discovered it may be advantageous to be open on Mondays instead, so he tried it out. He kicked it off by taking walk-ins on Mondays, which was a clever way of shaking things up while taking some of the risk out of it.

Now his salon is busy all week long, while competitors miss out on all that Monday moolah!

3. Don’t underestimate those startups!

It’s easy to ignore the solopreneurs and startups that seem to pop in and out of existence overnight. They all claim to offer something game-changing, yet we all know most of them never do. But don’t fall into the trap of assuming they’ve got nothing on you!

While your back is turned, they are innovating around the latest demands and technology, delivering greater overall value, and giving customers much more personal attention than bigger brands. Their research and testing are based on what customers want TODAY.

Look closely at what they’re offering to get ideas for delivering something even better to your own customers, before they beat you to it.

Competition is good!

…but only if we leverage it to innovate around ever-changing customer expectations. What can competitors teach you about your own customer experience?