5 Ways to Create Value for Your Customers
As business people, part of our job is to understand what value means to our customers. It's not about selling them great products or providing superior services. People don't want those things. What they want is the end result—what those products and services are going to get for them. This is why we have to understand the idea of value and create that for our customers. If we don't, somebody else will and we'll be left far behind!
1) Having value vs. not
What our customers get out of our products and services is half of the value equation. Anyone can open up a hot dog stand and sell some grub, but is it the kind that will make them regret it later over a pack of Rolaids, or will they feel satisfied that they spent money on delicious food? That's the difference between simply selling something and selling something of value. If your customer has a Rolaids experience, they're not coming back. What's worse is they'll warn their friends about you too.
2) Price is not everything
Obviously the other half of the value equation is price. If the hot dog stand down the street is selling hot dogs for $1.50 each, that doesn’t automatically mean we should sell ours for $1 to be competitive. Lots of people will try to undercut on price, but discounts can destroy profits. Luckily, price isn't the only thing that we can use to add value, since there are two factors in the value equation. Instead of selling the same product as the competition for less money, we can keep the price the same, but give more. We just need to find a way to be different than everyone else and add something that nobody else has. Maybe our list of condiments is longer and has a special proprietary sauce that's absolutely addictive! Whatever it is, find a way to do a little more for the same price, and make sure your customers know about the benefits.
3) Customer satisfaction vs service
Customer service is a lovely thing, but it's only one piece of the puzzle. We can have all the fantastic customer service we want, but if our service doesn't meet the needs of the customer, it's not of value to them. We may serve our hot dogs with a smile and be attentive to our customers, but if they wanted a chili dog and we don’t have one, it doesn't matter. It's not about what we do, it's about what they need us to do. It just takes a simple shift in thinking. If we aim to satisfy our customers, we'll learn more about what they need. Then we can measure our success not by how well we think we've done, but how well customers think we've done, which is the real metric.
4) Become part of the team
Along those lines, one of the most powerful ways to be valuable to customers is to look at the world through their eyes. Often, we are so wrapped up in our own issues that there's a huge disconnect between the way we see ourselves and the way customers see us. In order to overcome that obstacle, we have to walk around to the other side of the counter and approach it from their perspective. Understanding the customer's needs completely and knowing how to fulfill those needs successfully will create a way for us to bring true value. Partnership is what it's all about!
5) Reduce time and effort for the customer
When we say "reduce costs" we're not just talking about money: we're talking about other kinds of costs that customers pay such as their cost in time and effort. By going the extra mile to reduce those costs, people will be more than willing to pay a little more because they're getting so much more. Maybe you can take orders for pick up or offer free delivery so that your customers can get your yummy hot dogs easier and without having to spend time waiting in line or going to pick them up. As a society we place a premium on speed and convenience, so any way we can provide that for people, we have to do it.
Customers are the lifeblood of any business and should always be the first people we strive to satisfy. Without them we have no hope of profit or growth, so it makes sense to be very focused on bringing them real value. Following these tips can help drive success!