Meeting Customer Needs by Competitor Profiling

“Legendary service is one of the criteria that sets one company apart from its competitors. It’s the mark of a truly authentic company – you just can’t fake caring!”Kim Garst

Why does a company need competitor profiling in order to provide ‘legendary service’? The answer lies in the fact that unless a company knows what their closest competitor is offering, it would be impossible to better it. With so much competition now, competitor profiling has gained even more significance since companies face an everyday challenge of being able to satisfy and meet customer needs faster and better than others and being able to do so is one of the major contributors to success. No company – irrespective of size, reputation and financial power can afford to ignore this crucial aspect of competitor profiling. This exercise makes it possible for companies to not only provide enhanced customer service and better products, but also put in place strategies for the future that will keep them secure and know what to expect going forward. Competitor profiling allows companies to ‘keep a finger on the pulse’ of the market so that they are not caught unawares when there is sudden development and competitors gain an edge over them. Customers are aware of their options – a large number are available to them and now will not think twice before switching to another company if the current one fails to provide them with the service, quality and innovative products that they demand.

Competitor profiling is about understanding and monitoring the strategies and operations of competition. In order to put in place robust policies and plan strategically and for the future, it is extremely crucial for companies to know who and what they are pitted against. While companies do come together in mergers and alliances, these do not happen without an in-depth competitor profiling to understand how the two companies can move to a mutually beneficial association. The prime reasons for competitor profiling for any company is to first and foremost know who their biggest competitors are – even though there may be many companies in the same line of operation, not all qualify as prime competition. Once a company is able to ascertain who they are rivalling, competitor profiling also helps in understanding the future plans and current strategies of competition. Such profiling allows a company to know what their competitors are doing with regard to their customers and what the customers are saying about the competition. Competitor profiling can assist a company in providing better service and products such that they are able to retain their own customers and also attract the customers currently with competition.

Competitor profiling is about thoroughly studying the strengths and weaknesses of competition and making comparisons with one’s company and working on both areas. Customers want to be associated with companies that have a solid reputation and can be trusted with their investments and unless companies understand what their competitors are offering, it would be hard to convince their customers to choose them over others. Competitor profiling is the ‘intelligence and knowledge’ a company absolutely needs in order to systematically and thoroughly understand and analyse competition. Based on this knowledge, companies are able to make better decisions for themselves and those that will positively impact their customers. Competitor profiling ensures that a company remains agile, alert and in consistent improvement mode – traits that customers love and respect.

Running a business is not an easy task and has become even more challenging with the many changes – economic, technological and increase in competition. Simply ‘knowing’ the market and the players is no long sufficient. An in-depth and relentless focus on the key players and competitors in the market is now a business demand and imperative. Competitor profiling is not about blindly imitating what others are doing but rather is necessary to understand whether what your company is doing is enough and will be so for the future and if not then the changes required to keep the company successful. Such profiling is about learning from the competitor’s successes and failures and ensuring that your company is able to consistently provide the best for its customers and other stakeholders.

Competitor profiling covers key learning of the competition – aspects like the customer base, the products and services offered, the pricing strategies, the kind and number of employees, the use of content – both short and long forms, does the competition consider your company as a serious competitor, know the policies, culture, vision and leadership of competition. In addition, competitor profiling proves invaluable in understanding their approach to customer service and the methods and channels they use to communicate with their customers and what is working well in this regard and what needs improvement. Being able to gather such knowledge, will enable a company to overcome their own shortcomings and use its strengths when pitching to a new customer and also provide solid evidence in order to retain their existing ones.

Failure to make competitor profiling a part of the company’s on-going strategy can prove detrimental – huge financial impacts and a weakened market status and reputation. Without striding ahead of competition or at least keeping pace with them, a company would be unable to sustain itself for too long. As a company comes to be known as weak and incompetent, customers and employees and other stakeholders would begin to leave and join those companies that have a market stronghold – most often direct competitors. It is important for any company to remember that your competition is probably ‘sizing’ you up and have made a detailed competitor profiling that includes your company too – which is probably one of the reasons of their success. The importance of benchmarking cannot be underestimated in the business world and customers are sure to make comparisons between companies before choosing one over the other. In order to be the popular choice, it becomes crucial that your company understands what it needs to do better, what is working well and what else is required of them by customers in order to be chosen for business each time – market analysis and competitor profiling are the tools required.

Any company now requires to consistently up their game and needs also to find ways to become proactive in devising methods and strategies that will keep them ahead. However, they need to know how and whom they need to beat in order to remain ahead – competitor profiling provides them with this information. Such information also helps a company to actively look at the competitor’s website and social media sites to know what works for them especially if the customer base is similar and also improve on the company’s own website. It makes a lot of sense to get a clear understanding of the tone and language used on these sites and how the content on their own sites can be improved in order to attract more attention and traffic to them. A poorly crafted website and social media sites (which are the face of any company) can prove to be the downfall for any company and especially if there is no awareness of how your company’s website is faring against others.

There is no company or business that can say that they succeeded or gained any ground without trying, making mistakes and then recovering from them. However, to know why something was a mistake for you and why it worked for your competition, it becomes important to understand the others through a detailed competitor profiling. All the information that a company needs on its competition is one place and in an organized manner, which is easier to use and refer to. Every company is in business to earn more and achieve more success than previously and also more than their competitors and to do this they must be able to satisfy and meet the customer’s needs better than anyone else. For this and so many other reasons, the effort and time required for competitor profiling seems like a very wise and sound business decision.

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