Too many people interpret value in the context of price. Especially in the economic environment we are working in today. But if value is in the eye of the beholder, so to speak, is that beholder a consumer, a customer or a user?
There are value ranges in supermarkets which is the basic no frills own label products. There are take away food offers which offer ‘all this’ for £6.99 – with the emphasis on the price. These products are treated as a transaction. These supermarket goods and take away meals are consumed and it makes sense to treat them as a transaction led by price for those consumers.
Many companies have customers, not consumers, who use the service themselves or provide it for their own customers. The worry is that many businesses, when dealing with suppliers, are using heavy procurement processes and tough tenders that also focus on the cost as the most significant differentiator in a decision to award a contract. These processes focus on price as it’s an easily compared metric. But these businesses are not selling a product that is quickly consumed but a service that is used.
This service is experienced by their customers and their staff. This experience has many elements in the customer journey that sends signals of understanding the customer (& the staff) that add or take away value to the service. These small elements and traits are not always so easy to measure. Procurement can miss them. But customers and users don’t. These elements of satisfaction can have metrics. Preference and word of mouth are measureable.
Designing the service from the customer’s point of view and getting the staff on board to highlight those stories that illuminate the customer’s needs will differentiate that service over and above a price led transaction. Those that use the service will prefer it over and above other similar services if it feels the most in tune with their needs; is most helpful; if it “gets them”. That is derived from regular dialogue with them and needs great listening and being able to interpret insights. It’s important to be sure to use all the company’s people, who touch the customer journey or can influence word of mouth, to be able to tell the same brand story and then subsequently share their own insights back to the company – so as to continually learn and further hone the service.
Value added service for customers and users allow businesses to not only grow ahead of their competition but also to do so at a higher price. Profitable growth.