Customer Value Lies In The Eyes Of The Beholder
‘Much has been written about customer service through the years, but the events of the past few months have changed the conversation in a big way. The rise in on-line buying has created new questions about how to build customer loyalty with someone you never actually meet.’ BARE shares an article by Jill Griffin for Forbes on how customers determine value.
‘Gone (at least for the time being) are the days where we walk into the Wal-Mart and see our favorite greeter and cashier. More and more of us are going online and making a faceless purchase delivered by a stranger/driver who leaves it on our doorstep.
So, how do we as business leaders build (or continue to build) customer loyalty in this environment? The answer is, as it always has been, to understand how your customers experience value and then wake up every day and be excellent at delivering it on their terms.
We all know that is easier said than done. Let’s begin by taking a look at how customers evaluate value.
How Customers Determine Value
First off, value is not just about price. Generally speaking, marketers have focused much of their energy and time on managing price, since upping the price can immediately increase profits. But customers are savvy and price is just one in an array of attributes that win their hearts. Focusing only on price is doomed to failure.
Pinpointing what your customers truly value is downright complicated. Here are some principles to guide you.
Value (and beauty, according to the old adage) always lies in the eyes of the beholder. Think: Quicken Loans, Best Buy Stores, Steve Job’s iPhone. Jobs and his creative team saw it first and then he made us see its beauty as well.
Value can be a powerful combination of products and services. Think: Amazon Prime and its “One Click” purchase feature
Perhaps the most groundbreaking work on how to maximize value delivery to best customers comes from Dr. Noriaki Kano, a renowned Japanese professor and customer value thought leader. Dr. Kano developed the thinking that not all service and product performance is equal in the eyes of best customers. Some performance creates higher levels of loyalty than others. His research suggested there are three performance levels that form a pyramid.
At the lowest level in the value pyramid is basic value. This is least must-have performance. For an overnight shipper like FedEx for example, accurate billing, prompt service assistance, are examples of basic service. Failure to deliver these basic services will result in customer dissatisfaction, but doing them well will not increase loyalty, because customers perceive them as minimum requirements.
At the middle level is expected value. These are the performance factors that the leading suppliers in an industry provide. Delivery by 10 A.M. on next business day is an example of expected value. As a market leader, a company must do these things to simply stay even with competition.
At the highest level of the value pyramid is unanticipated value. FedEx was the first to offer online customer tracking via computer. Customers would track where the package was in transit and when the receiver accepted a delivery. At the time of its introduction, this was considered a major unanticipated service perk. Since first introducing its tracking system, FedEx is continually adding other tools to improve tracking effectiveness. It was the first to provide drivers with a handheld computer and transmitting device. This was years before iPads were available. A new value-add, is customized box design for customers. Generally speaking, the more unanticipated value a company provides a customer, the deeper the loyalty. FedEx chairman Fred Smith explained it well when he said, “You know, I don’t think we understood our real goal when we first started FedEx. We thought we were in the transportation of goods. In fact, we were selling peace of mind.”
TO DO: Customer values are always evolving. Apply this pyramid to your business. What “basic value” are you delivering? Expected value? Unanticipated value? In what ways can you refresh Unanticipated Value?’
Read the original article in full here.
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Disclaimer of endorsement: Any reference obtained from this article to a specific business, product, process, or service does not constitute or imply an endorsement by BARE International of the business, product, process, or service, or its producer or provider.