More Than Price: How Service Contributes to Experience

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Consumers make purchase decisions based on many factors. Price, convenience, the value provided by purchase and service quality are four criteria that customers consider when making a purchase decision. Traditionally, the price is the differentiating factor that pushes consumers in one way or another. Distinguishing your service based on price is fine if all else is equal, but the other characteristics can be used to differentiate your service from those of your competitors.

  • Value Provided by Purchase

In financial services, it can be difficult to convey the exact value that your services will bring customers. Customers in financial services usually have a good understanding of what they are shopping for and have a basic understanding of what the “value” is. If they are seeking to buy a home, they will find mortgage specialists. If they want a new credit card, they will only be shopping for credit cards. Since the customers already know what they want, it can be difficult to explain why your service is more valuable than the competitors offer.

When attempting to explain why your services can provide more value, the conversation devolves into explaining how you can offer better prices, lower fees or better interest rates.

To demonstrate the fact that you offer better value to the customer, you should try to focus your efforts on explaining why you, as a person, can provide value that a competitor cannot match. Are you more competent than your competition? Give examples of your competence, explaining how you can do a good job for your customer. Do you come across as more trustworthy? Then demonstrate why your trustworthiness is valuable to your client. Whatever you do, try to prove your value in ways that do not revolve around pricing. To learn more about providing value through trustworthiness, check out our article: How Warmth and Competence Affect Customer Perceptions.

If the prospect does not see the difference in value provided by two professionals, their decision will revolve around other characteristics. Often, that characteristic is the price. To avoid a race to the bottom, financial services professionals should avoid positioning their business based solely on price. So, what other ways can financial services professionals demonstrate the differences between themselves and their competition?

  • Convenience

Customers want convenience when dealing with financial services organizations. There was a time when banks held hours that were inconvenient for their clients. People want to manage their financial services at times that work for them. Businesses need to make their services accessible to the average consumer.

How can you make your services more convenient?

Be available wherever and whenever your customers need you. Consider offering to schedule client meetings outside of regular office hours. Offer to meet people in their home after dinner. Maybe they would like to meet at a diner for lunch? Maybe they can only make time in their schedule early Sunday morning.

To thrill your customers, do what it takes to be available to them, when they want and where they want. Convenient service will reduce friction in your relationship, allowing the quality of your service and the value you provide to shine through. What is at risk if financial services do not begin to prioritize convenience? Check out our article: Financial Services: A Case for Industry Disruption.

  • Service Quality

Service quality is the factor that matters most to consumers. Regardless of price, convenience, or other factors, nearly every customer is looking for high-quality service.

How can you improve the quality of your service?

The first thing you can do to improve the quality of your service is by perfecting your service offering. Your offering should meet the needs and desires of your niche. Figure out which characteristics your niche values and ensure that those components are built into the service offering. Design your services with your niche in mind, so every step of the journey is based on their wants and needs.

The second thing you can do to improve your service quality is carefully managing the customer journey. Design the customer journey with the end user in mind. What does that mean? Well, you should provide opportunities for customer education that adds value.

Customers are engaged when they feel as if their voice is heard by their financial services professional. What stages of the buyer journey involve customer input? Provide educational opportunities to help the customer move through the journey with more knowledge and agency. If you can make customers feel involved in your service process, they will be more engaged and less at risk of leaving your practice.

A lot more than just price goes into any purchase decision. It does not have to be a race to the bottom; there are many other criteria that you can compete on.

What criteria do you think are most important to your customers? Is it price? Is it service? Why do you think that is? We would love to hear your thoughts on Twitter @VeridayHQ. If you’re interested, follow us on Linkedin here.

Write Powerful Content: Blogs, Ebooks and More

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Writing content for the web has its challenges, but if done correctly can bring positive results to your business. You may feel that you’re ready to write your first articles, but without these fundamentals in place, your writing may not return the expected results.

These fundamentals of writing engaging content should help you create high-performing, web-friendly content:

  • Write with an Objective in Mind

Successful content isn’t written willy-nilly, it’s written with a particular purpose in mind. Writers should be asking themselves: “What is the point of this article?” You need to know what action (if any) you want to motivate and write the article with that goal in mind.

Do you want to sell something? Are you trying to educate the audience on your value proposition? Trying to highlight a pain point that you can alleviate? Do you just want to provide your audience with information that may have value for them?

When writing for the web, you should know what your objective is and how your writing can help you meet that goal.

Writing with an objective in mind allows the author to focus on grabbing the reader’s attention and conveying the essential information. Focusing on one goal when writing brings a level of focus to your articles and will draw the attention of those with interest in the subject.

  • Write with the Audience in Mind

Every business has an ideal customer. You should direct your writing towards that person.

What type of content will peak their interest? What level of knowledge does the audience have? How will your writing influence their perception of your brand? Is the subject you want to write about related to the rest of your blog? What messages do you want to address? What topics generate interest from your audience?

By having an answer to all these questions, you can create content that will draw higher audience engagement and keep them coming back to your blog. To get the best results, you should aim to prominently feature the most relevant, valuable information throughout your article or blog post.

  • Share the Content

Good writing gets shared across the web. Why waste time writing compelling, engaging content with an objective and an audience in mind if there is no chance anyone can find it? Share your content via every channel you employ, including social media, search engines, and email newsletters. You can even distribute high-quality content through traditional media publishers through sponsored articles (or earned media).

Regardless of which channels used, the goal of writing for the web is to communicate relevant information to as many members of your intended audience as possible. For that to happen, you will want to adopt a strategy of communication, building a relationship with your audience and encouraging them to share the content with their network.

To ensure your content gets in front of those interested in your subject matter, you also need to optimize your content for search.

  • Feature Important Information Prominently

One of the most important aspects of writing for the web involves prominently featuring essential information in your article. Most people do not read blog posts on the internet the same way they would read a novel. Readers often skim blog posts for keywords and other important information. In fact, studies have found that only 20% of the text on a web page is read. The rest is either ignored or skimmed.

Another reason you should prominently feature relevant information in a blog post is to increase your visibility in search engines. Web crawlers (robots created to index the web) look for the most relevant information as well. We have written several articles about SEO such as:

Beginner’s Guide to Improving Your Website’s Local SEO, and

Advisors: Why The New SEO Is Actually All About Content Marketing.

Those articles explain how SEO works, and what you can do to create high performing content.

So, how can you ensure that your articles are informative and provide value to the audience, knowing that the content will not be fully read?

Feature keywords and other essential information in:

  • Headers
  • Tags (title, meta description, alt tags, image tags)
  • First paragraph of text (to ensure those reading it understand the article)

These tips can help your writing achieve more widespread success on the web. What else needs to be considered when writing for the web? Let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ or follow us on LinkedIn.