Henry Ford once said, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” This statement applies to everything. Technological advances and brilliant innovation are the direct results of people thinking outside of the box and challenging the norms in their industry.
If want to be the best in your industry, getting better at what you’re already doing isn’t going to cut it. Neither will doing more of what you’re already doing. Rising to the top of any game requires doing things differently.
For instance, Apple didn’t make the flip phone better – they created the iPhone as a completely new product. The only similarity between a flip phone and an iPhone is the fact that you can use it to make a phone call.
Even if you’re not attempting to revolutionize your industry, innovation remains worthwhile. Doing just one thing differently has the potential to give you an edge over your competitors.
If you’re looking for an advantage in your industry, here are two tips to get the leverage you’ve been looking for:
1. Consider traditional website structure with a grain of salt
Statistics show that 55% of visitors spend fewer than 15 seconds on a website. Everyone has theories about why this is: the design is poor, visitors lack attention, the navigation is challenging, etc. The truth might be very simple, though.
Maybe it’s the intrusively large slideshows and videos at the top of every page on every website that make people bounce. Or, perhaps it’s the gigantic, irrelevant stock photos of people in business suits that precede each article.
Gaining a better position in your industry could be as simple as doing things differently on your website (when it enhances the user experience). Instead of wasting space with slideshows and stock photos, fill your pages with content, and make them look good.
For instance, a car accident lawyer put his frequently asked questions on the homepage in an expandable/collapsible design. Also, the video embedded on the home page for the Dollar Shave Club is not only a reasonable size but seamlessly integrated into the graphic design.
These two examples are subtle, but they’re enough to create continuity for the user, and probably gets visitors to stay more than 15 seconds.
2. Be willing to adapt your product to customer feedback
When Dominoes Pizza went into business, they created a guarantee that put them ahead of their competitors: delivery in 30 minutes or it’s free. They relied on their guarantee for a while, but it didn’t last long. Soon, people woke up to the fact that it was terrible pizza.
After they apologized to the whole world for making pizza that tasted like cardboard, they recreated their recipe from scratch. Today, business is booming.
While Dominoes had to experience the wrath of angry customers in order to make their product better, you don’t need to go that far. You may need to start from scratch, but you don’t have to completely fail first.
3. Embrace negative feedback from customers
When a customer posts a negative review of your business online, how you respond to that review matters more than you think. You want to respond in a way that gives you insight into what you’re doing wrong.
There are three basic responses you can give, but only one will help you improve your business:
Apologize and ask how you can make it right
This is noble, and it works. Letting the customer decide what would make it right for them is effective. Provided you grant their request, you’ll have a happy customer, possibly forever. However, you won’t have any insight into what went wrong.
Apologize and offer a refund
This basic response is effective, but it won’t give you insight.
Apologize, ask how you can make it right, and ask for more information about their experience
This is the ultimate key to the kingdom of success. When you ask an unhappy customer for detailed feedback, you’re inviting them to share information that will point you toward the source of the problem.
Dominoes Pizza didn’t need to solicit their negative feedback; it rolled in like thunder. If that happens to you, the best thing you can do is listen. Dominoes did, and that’s what gave them a competitive advantage; their mistake is now part of their brand strategy.