Customer Experience

Southwest Is the Only Major Airline to Not Charge for Luggage Check. What Is It That Only You Can Provide Your Customers?

Southwest Is the Only Major Airline to Not Charge for Luggage Check. What Is It That Only You Can Provide Your Customers?
Image credit: Southwest Airlines
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Whether you just launched a business or you’ve been at it for a decade, it is imperative that you continually ask yourself this one question: What separates you from everyone else in your industry? The answer cannot be your work ethic or your passion. It cannot be because you believe your products or services are the best. Why? Because we all share those same sentiments about ourselves, our products and our services. It is that very principle and unwavering belief in ourselves, our talents and abilities that have led us down the path of entrepreneurship.

So again I ask, what truly separates you from everyone else in your industry? If you cannot answer this question without hesitation or conviction, chances are, you will eventually be in trouble. It is time you stop what you’re doing and begin distinguishing this: In an ever-changing, option-saturated market full of steep competition, people need to know -- why you?

Related: Doing Things That Don't Scale Shows Your Effort and Personal Touch

You must not only identify your “Only We...” clause, but you must begin to lead with it. The “Only We…” clause is the thing, the item, the promise that only you, only your company, only your services, only your products provide.

One of my favorite “Only We” companies is Southwest Airlines. They have made it boldly apparent by splashing their “Only We” message across the front page of their website, “Bags Fly Free.” They are the only major airline that does not charge an additional fee to check your luggage. They use their “Only We” concept to differentiate them from other major airlines. It has created many lifelong customers, including myself.

Something I do for all the keynotes I give is I offer a risk-reversal guarantee. Meaning, if for some reason a client was not 100 percent satisfied with the keynote they received, my speaking fee is fully refunded to them. This does a few different things. It gives the client the assurance that I will add tremendous value, and the keynote will be a knockout success without taking a financial risk. It also gives me a never-ending incentive to be a master of my craft and provide value, every single time. It’s important to set a standard that you have to constantly live up to. 

It’s easy to get comfortable, stop preparing and rely solely on your talents to get you through, but your customers and your clients deserve the very best. If you aren’t doing it, someone else will gladly come along and sweep up the business you couldn’t finish.

You should be able to lead your business with the answer to the question, “What makes you different? Your consumers must know what separates you. They are paying for your promise as much as they are paying for your product or service.

Remember, in an ever-changing world of endless options, fierce competition and undecided consumers, it is important to differentiate who you are by offering something that they can get only from you.

Related: United, American Airlines to Once Again Offer Free Snacks to Coach Travelers

The “Only We” clause is a necessity to your business success, because we live in a world of endless options. Whether you want to buy a new car or a new computer, try a new salon, a new gym or a new service, the reality is that people suffer from too many options. There are millions of options to choose from. If people can’t find what they want in a storefront, they can find it online for cheaper.

Sites like Amazon will even have it delivered to your doorstep by the end of the day if you join their subscription service. Competition is fierce for businesses trying to survive. Today’s consumers can become quickly overwhelmed with options. Consumers, however, love options -- when they can distinguish between them.

This is why your “Only We…” clause needs to be easily identified. If people don’t know immediately what separates you, they will go for the product or service that offers what they perceive as the most value. That could be the vehicle with the 10-year warranty, the hotel room with the lowest price guarantee, a service with a money-back guarantee or an airline ticket with free cancelation. It is because of assurance that allows the consumer to risk the sale with you in the first place. It is completely worth the time and risk-reversal hassle to establish this for yourself.

People are often willing to look beyond the most economical option if they know that the difference is worth the added value. Sometimes, all a consumer needs is the assurance. I’m certain you’ve purchased something with the above attached clause, and even if you never used the assurance guarantee, there was a sense of security by knowing that just in case, you are covered.

Sometimes, you have to face your own product or services as a consumer. How do you know which one to choose when you’re faced with so many options? What resonates with you? What assurance do you need before making a purchase? And more importantly, why should someone choose you? If you don’t know, they won’t either -- and they will opt for the one who does.

Companies that know their “Only We,” lead their sale with a promise. If anything goes wrong, they will replace it. If you are unsatisfied, they will give you your money back. People love options, when they can differentiate between them. There is trust, there is no risk -- there is, however, a guarantee of satisfaction. People want to know what they are going to get, every singe time. Consistency is key. Knowing that they can get the same experience, the same product every single time and or have the situation rectified is what creates a lifelong customer.

Related: Customer Care Is Your Best Marketing Strategy

How many places have you went one time to and never returned? When there are other options, you will utilize them. For this reason, first impressions are everything. Knowing that customers have options, it’s important to exceed expectations. You can differentiate yourself with your “Only We” clause, but then it’s extremely important to lead with it in almost everything that you do.