What do your clients value?
As company owners, we think about our business in terms of activity and the transactions that take place in each department: HR, Accounting & Finance, Production & Quality Control, Marketing & Sales, R&D, Customer Support & Service.
As customers, we think differently. I don’t know about you, but when I walk into a restaurant, an airport, a bank or a grocery store, I find myself thinking about how they could make the experience more engaging, efficient — better for me and all the other customers.
I am not claiming to be smarter than the people who created the restaurant, airport, bank or grocery store – far from it; it’s just that as a regular customer, I have a different perspective. I have desires and expectations of what I want from the experience. When there are gaps between that and my actual interaction, it reflects poorly on the company.
In all likelihood these places were designed with customer expectations in mind, but times, like people, change and it’s our responsibility as business owners to stay in touch with these changes or risk losing business to companies that do.
As business owners we need to continually ask:
- What do customers expect and want most?
- How do we improve our products and services with this in mind?
- Do we meet and exceed customer expectations?
- How do we connect with customers at each interaction?
In order to deliver what customers want, we need to understand what they value.
Traditionally, value was some intersection between quality and price. And while this is still true, things customers value can also include:
- Convenience (speed, ease of use, home delivery, overnight delivery, free two-day shipping, a.k.a Amazon Prime, etc.)
- Being socially conscious (Toms shoes, organic foods, Patagonia)
- Environmentally friendly (frustration-free packaging)
- Easy to use, install
- A hassle free, online experience
- Easy-to-follow instructions
- Guided, stress-free on-boarding
- Self-service (checkout, ATM’s, fuel pumps)
- Extended warranties
- First year of maintenance/support included
- Courtesy, honesty
- A real person to talk to
When you provide what customers value, you make a connection that goes beyond quality and price.You’ve made an emotional connection that leads to customer loyalty.
Question, gather, investigate
How do you stay in touch and solicit this kind of information? How do you figure out what customers value? The same way we have metrics in place to measure departmental activity, an organization should have systems in place to monitor customer behavior, attitudes and satisfaction.
A recipe for understanding and implementing increased value includes:
- Documenting everything
- Attempting to define it
- Validating findings and determining how you will know if you are delivering it
- Developing a set of value offers
- Communicating the value offers
- Measuring response to them
- Follow up – Interviewing and asking again
Use surveys, feedback forms and/or third parties to gather this information. Ask how the experience can be improved. Sometimes people don’t know what they want, but often they will express themselves in a way that is useful to you. Customer feedback is frequently provided with the intent of improving a future experience – it’s not always about returning a product or getting their money back.
Often we learn what customers value when things go wrong, via complaints or objections. There’s a good chance other customers are experiencing, but not expressing, similar issues. This should be seen as an opportunity to identify values.
What they say/What we hear
Listen, translate and observe behavior. Note the language they use to tell you what they value. If you are told an employee was rude, they value courtesy. If they tell you they waited too long in line, they value their time, speed and efficiency. Sometimes they just value a person on the phone who is willing to listen.
View these as opportunities to understand, learn and improve, whether or not anyone else would consider the employee rude or the wait in line too long. Sometimes information like this can be a breeding ground for new products and services.
- How can you apply and communicate this newfound knowledge to customers and prospects?
- What value do you provide that’s unique?
- What are you doing to improve the customer experience at your company?
Let us know in the comments section below.
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At Crest, we help companies
- Create content that separates them from their competition
- Become subject matter experts in their field
- Measure the effectiveness of their marketing $$
- Generate a consistent pipeline of high-quality leads for less
- Turn clients into evangelists