A Monday Series

It’s that summer Monday. The one where you’re getting the grill ready, if you live in the U.S. or Canada, and hoping it’s not too cold for one last dip in the pool. Enjoy your Labo(u)r Day!

If you need something to do while the coals are warming, you might want to:

Clear Out the Cobwebs

Smile for the Birdie

Have a New Logo Designed

Get Your Kids Involved

Read at the Beach

Walk the Grounds

Log In

and Cheat and Save Money!

If you’re burnt-out, antsy, and need to revitalize your attitude as much as your business, this is the series for you. Experience Design for beach-dreaming business owners comes to your summer Mondays.

Summer Is a Great Time to Drop In

This week let’s get out of the shop or office, to stretch that holiday a little further. Get out of the pool and dry off, devour the last juicy steak, and relax today. Then take Tuesday afternoon to try on an Experience Designer’s shoes.

Competitive Intelligence?

Competitive Intelligence. What is it really, and how can it help you drive business growth?

Maybe you’ve heard of mystery shopping—having an audit done on your own company’s sales process by an outsider who won’t be recognized as they shop your store, restaurant, or office.

At VisionPoints, we get much more comprehensive than simply buying a pair of shoes, or eating your lunch, or keeping an appointment. Our Experience Audit is like turbocharged mystery shopping, looking at the entire Customer Experience from first touchpoints (advertisements, signage, telephone and online Experience) to last (packaging, satisfaction, followup). The anonymous shopping trip is still the critical center of an Experience Audit. In gathering competitive intelligence, we perform an audit of your main competitors’ Experiences.

This week: You get out there—drop in on the competition—and give it a try. What’s been bugging you about your Customer Experience? Do you have an idea of where sales may bog down? Make a special note of a few points you have concerns about, then try out the competition.

Take an afternoon. Go out with fresh eyes, and note the strengths and weaknesses of the top two or three, looking for how they handle the issues you’re worried about. Do they have some work to do, or have they got it figured out? What can you learn from the competition?

Yes, you probably do this informally all the time. You’ve got your eyes open for innovative ideas from any corner, and your ears open for praise or complaints about the other guys in town. If you’re like most, you feel funny looking the competition square in the eyes and buying from them. Go on, do it anyway.

You’ll learn where you excel and where you could improve, by seeing what others offer, and how they sell it.

If you think you’re too hot in your field, think again; even the Big Boys do this all the time.

If you’re sure they’d recognize you, don’t give up—get an employee or a trusted friend to do it.

Wondering what to look for? Read The Mom Test.

If you are the employee reading this, volunteer. Some owners don’t realize how much they can gain from an afternoon of gathering competitive intelligence. (Haven’t you told your boss to read Maximum Customer Experience yet?)

That was easy!

The purchase is made, the notes are taken. All done, right?

Wrong. Summer’s over, dear reader, and fall is the busiest time of year for Experience Design inquiries for a reason: Now’s the time to hunker down as the leaves flutter past, analyze what you’ve learned, and do the hard work of transforming your business.

What can you do better? What do you do that they don’t?

Now that you’ve checked out the rest, tell me why should I choose only you?

Answer it, emphasize it in every customer interaction, and make sure everybody knows it. Only you provide the Ideal Solution, when the Pain Point is ——what?

From where I stand, you’re looking hale and hearty and ready for the challenge. Summer’s been good to you! I hope you’ve enjoyed doing something light with your Mondays lately.

Now put down that beach ball. It’s time to grow your business.

What can you learn from the competition?

BONUS: What will they learn, when they come to your place to gather competitive intelligence?


Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson