No matter what type of small business you run, you serve your customers in some capacity. Even retail stores offer services when they help a customer choose the perfect gift or answer a question over the phone. Some resources can make your business much more attractive. You might not be able to compete with big corporations on pricing, but you can offer perks they don’t have the time or resources to provide.
About 99.9% of businesses in the United States are small companies. You’ll compete with numerous organizations in your area and around the globe for consumer attention and dollars. Discovering ways of standing out is vital to your long-term success. Providing unique services no one else does is a smart way to differentiate yourself from others.
If you’re struggling to brainstorm ideas on how to add a service model to a non-service-based business, here are five approaches to get you started. These services are attractive to most target audiences and relatively easy to start but it’s worth consulting a small business accountant to make sure you plan ahead.
1. Offer Membership Perks
One thing you can do is offer a perk for becoming a member of your business. If the person spends X dollars a year, makes so many visits or invests in a members-only package, then they receive specific benefits they can’t get anywhere else. Or, perhaps your competitors charge for those add-ons, but you provide them as part of the purchase. Think about what you’d like as a bonus if you were the customer.
California Family Fitness is a gym that provides bonuses when you sign up for a membership. You get a personal training session, which is pretty typical for gyms, but you also receive a 10-minute hydromassage and a body fit session. Handing out freebies as add-ons can also lead to additional sales as buyers realize the advantages of using those features.
2. Compensate Loyalty
Every business has that handful of fans who buy from them regularly and tell everyone they know about the company. Reward those loyal customers by giving them perks no one else receives. Offer a one-on-one consultation or personalized products just for them. Name one of your products after them. For example, if you run a pizza shop, name their favorite pizza after them and put it on the menu. Develop unique and satisfying ways of honoring those who help you the most.
3. Make Emergency Help Available
It is zero degrees outside on a Sunday at 3 p.m., and your new heating unit just stopped working. Put yourself in the shoes of the customer dealing with this. They’ve recently paid you a lot of money not to encounter such a headache, and now they have to freeze all night until your office opens Monday.
Now, imagine this company has a 24/7 emergency helpline for their customers, and a technician comes out immediately and fixes the issue. Which business are you most likely to buy from and recommend to others?
Madison Local Garage Door Pros offers 24/7 emergency garage door repair in and around Madison, Wisconsin. Businesses don’t have to worry about a garage door that won’t close, exposing their inventory to criminals. Residential homes also benefit when there is an unexpected issue with their entryways.
4. Provide Consultations
You may have the most knowledgable staff in your niche. One service that helps you stand out is free consultations to ensure your customers get the exact items or services they need.
So, if you own a clothing store, you might offer a wardrobe styling session based on the person’s preferences and body type. Look for employees who can bring something new to the table and provide your clients with inside advice. Doing this will make people recognize you as the most knowledgable business in the area.
5. Deliver to Nearby Customers
We live in an instant world where people can pop on Amazon and receive their delivery in two days. More and more businesses deliver right to your door. While you may not want to offer delivery to everyone, bringing purchases to your top customers makes smart business sense. You make their life easier, and you can charge for the service or offer it as a perk.
Imagine you serve both businesses and consumers. You have a large order from a regular company, so you offer to deliver it by the end of business that day. Nothing makes you stand out from your competitors quite like personalized and convenient service.
Hungry Harvest delivers within specific areas and ships elsewhere. They offer a complete list of the areas where they deliver and invite you to sign up for their waitlist if they aren’t yet sending produce to where you are. Providing this service allows them to compete with big-box grocers and retailers who already have curbside pickup and delivery services.
Get Creative With Your Business
These are five services you can potentially give to your regular customers. However, the best offerings often arise out of a need your patrons have. Pay attention to what your customers say when you communicate with them. Even something as simple as a gift-wrapping service can grab you a few new clients and help you overtake your competition. Ask your clients what they’d like to see you offer and do your best to implement the ideas that make the most sense.
Lexie is a UX content strategist and web designer. She enjoys copious amounts of coffee (with a dash of milk) and walking her goldendoodle. Check out her design blog, Design Roast, and follow her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.