Adapting to the times

Borrow from competitors. You need to always do the research and stay on top. The only way to stay on top is to dig in, to really get the experience that people experience dealing with your competitors.

I do a lot of secret shopping to my competitors to stay up to date on what they’re doing. We have focus groups that call and purchase products from competitors and get feedback on how they market, what they’re marketing, their price points and whatever edge that they have. [We look at] how customers are treated, how long it takes for customers to stay on hold when they call a competitor, how long it takes for customers to receive their materials in the mail, whatever we want to stay on top of.

Just see how they deliver the message. We look at other TV commercials and we study other advertisements to see how we can formulate certain approaches that can better our product from where it’s at right now. We try to incorporate a little from everybody to give us what we want to be the perfect strategy to attract customers and sign them up to our plans.

I get feedback [from the focus group] on what caught their eye, what made them jump up and have an interest. And then I combine all that with everything else I take in from going to the shows and speaking to industry associates.

Adapt strategies. [It’s] looking at competitors’ offers and seeing how you can enhance your offer by adding or subtracting something here or there.

First, we put what we have to offer against what they have to offer. And then we try to add in whatever we can from our competitors’ offers into ours without changing it too drastically. So we don’t just copy people; we look at what they’re doing to add into our marketing to increase response and increase our sales.

For example, you might see a company advertise a free offer of some kind, so you can look at things like that. Maybe you want to implement some kind of a free offer or free trial or extra benefits.

You can always learn from your competition. They’re also out there working hard, thinking about how to increase revenue. You can’t really be close-minded to thinking that what you’re doing is the only way and the best way. Try to improve your business at all times, and part of that is staying ahead of the competition and always knowing where they are and what they’re doing.

Listen to customers. We actually call our customers and have a one-on-one with them. Just ask them how everything is going with the product, with the service. How we can better the product and service? How are the customer experiences when they reach out to us? They love giving feedback because they feel that we’re concerned about making the right changes for them to have a better experience.

So we take that research and then we figure out how we can apply that specifically to our customers. We come up with solutions to make certain changes that will benefit the company and, of course, the clients.

It’s important to listen to what their needs are. Then we go back to the drawing board to see if it’s cost-effective to implement certain things. Once we see something is cost-effective and would also answer the needs of a lot of the concerns that we’re hearing about, then it’s a good match. If everything comes together at once, then you can make certain changes that are good for the company and for the customer.

How to reach: Cinergy Health Inc., (800) 847-9151 or