How to Add Value
What is Adding Value
Providing value is essential for any company’s success, but the phrase is ambiguous. Anyone can be cheaper than their competitor (even if it means trading at a loss!) but providing real value, that’s more difficult, and for all businesses, value in their products and their service offerings can make or break the business. Customers are constantly looking for products and services that meet their needs and improve their quality of life. Therefore, it’s critical to define and deliver what your customers want, to ensure that they’ll look to you to provide this in future. In this post, we’ll discuss how to add value in a two-step process: First, define ‘value’ and then put things in place to ensure that you’re delivering what your customers want and that you’re providing the value that your customers deserve and desire.
How to Add Value to Your Customers
Once you’ve defined value, it’s time to deliver what your customers want. This is where ‘value’ is actually created – and where the magic happens. The key here is to really understand what the customer desires, their pains and their headaches to ensure that you can not only deliver on any expectations but provide real value to the customer by solving any problems they have, you’ll find you’re able to build brand loyalty when your values align with that of your customers and you provide them with real, tangible and measurable value.
First: Define What Your Customers Want
The first step in providing value to your customers is understanding the needs of your target market, the most effective way to do this is usually through customer feedback or market research. In order to ensure that your customers are receiving the value they expect, it’s important though, to go beyond simply understanding their needs. Put yourself in their shoes and think about the customer experience from their perspective. Ask yourself questions like: What would my ideal customer need? What would make their experience better? What would make them feel valued?
Pro tip: You can create buyer personas that represent your ideal customers, to help you make informed decisions about product development, marketing, and customer service as you can tailor your products and services to specific target markets and individuals when you understand their needs and desires. Take the time to analyze the data and converse with your customers to get to know their pain points, challenges, and desires, better. By addressing these needs, you can create products and services that provide value and will be valued by your customers.
The Contractor/Supplier Relationship
When defining value it might be useful to think of the relationship between a contractor and their suppliers. Imagine for a moment that you own a construction business and have narrowed your search for a new supplier down to two potential candidates:
Has below-market prices and will allow you to increase your profit margin across a wide range of projects.
Has competitive pricing for the quality of the materials supplied but higher than the market average.
Has low-quality, cost-effective materials.
Is renowned for the quality of its materials.
Provides limited customer service, account management and dispute resolution.
Works to pre-determined brand standards and KPI’s for customer service, product quality and best practice safety standards
The decision you make here depends on how you position yourself in the market. One decision is improving profits by capturing more of the value from reducing costs whilst the other is improving profit by capturing more of the consumer value.
Second: Deliver What Your Customers Want
Here are some tips to get you started on capturing consumer value:
- Focus on quality: Customers expect high-quality products and services. Focusing on quality is essential when providing value to customers because it ensures they are receiving a product or service that meets their expectations. Quality not only satisfies customers but helps you to build trust and loyalty in your brand.
- Differentiate your product or service: To provide value to your customers, you need to differentiate your product or service from your competitors. This could be through innovation, superior quality, convenience, or a USP that sets your product or service apart. They’re all ways of adding value to your offering. By differentiating your product or service, you’re providing value to your customers and giving them a reason to choose your business over your competitors. It is important to consistently evaluate and update your differentiation strategy to ensure that your product or service remains relevant and valuable in the eyes of your customers.
- Don't overlook the importance of employee engagement: To deliver value to your customers, you need engaged and motivated employees who are committed to providing your customers with the best possible service. Make sure that your employees feel valued and supported, and that they have the tools and resources they need to do the job you need them to.
- Provide customer service excellence: Your customers should feel valued and appreciated. Make sure your customer service team is knowledgeable, helpful, and responsive to the needs of your customers.
- Offer convenience: Customers want products and services that make their lives easier. Consider offering quality-of-life improvements by making products and services more accessible to the masses. Tailor your products or services to the specific needs of individual customers to provide added value through convenience.
- Consider the full customer journey: Providing value to your customers isn't just about the product or service itself. It's also about the full customer journey, from the initial contact with your business to its after-sales support. Make sure that every touchpoint with your customer is focused on delivering value for them.
- Be responsive to feedback: Your customers will provide feedback on your products and services. Listen to their feedback and use it to improve your offerings.
- Keep up with changing customer needs: Customer needs are constantly changing, so it's important to stay up-to-date with any changes and adapt your product or service offerings accordingly. This could involve introducing new features or services, changing pricing structures, or making other adjustments to better meet customer needs.
- Communicate the value you provide: To ensure that your customers understand the value you're providing, tell them about it! This could be through your marketing or customer testimonials and reviews.
- Continuously innovate: The business world is always changing, and your customers' needs will evolve over time. Continuously innovate: Stay up to date with industry trends, research customer preferences and analyse your competitors to identify areas of your own business where you can add value.
- Continuously improve: It’s impossible to make a perfect product and therefore it’s important that you continuously improve your offerings to make sure that your products and services are consistently bringing your customers, value. Don’t just continuously improve but demonstrate this to your customers in practice by listening to them and implementing and using customer feedback to improve products and services. Regularly assess customer feedback and make adjustments accordingly to ensure that your products and services are delivering the best value to your customers.
You can’t be sure you’re providing value if you don’t measure the outcome of your efforts. This is where your customer surveys and feedback come into play. Make a habit of asking questions about customers’ experience with your business and their opinion of the products and services you offer, this can be one of the most effective ways of improving value for customers as it allows you to identify any common frustrations with a product or service and feedback on how this can be improved, moving forward. I’m not suggesting you immediately pick up the phone and speak to your customers individually, although if your business is small enough then this might be useful. Automate the issuing of customer surveys so that once a product or service is delivered, feedback can be provided. It automates and provides consistency to the process of gathering valuable customer feedback while encouraging feedback to be provided.
Consumer-Led Product Improvement and Innovation
When you actively listen to feedback and implement changes to your products and services based on this, it can significantly improve overall customer satisfaction while having the added benefit of showing your customers that they’re valued, that their opinion matters and that the design of your products and services are person-centred rather than profit-led. Take a step back and look at the bigger picture: the former, a person-centred approach to service and product delivery means your business will likely benefit from organic growth through a variety of factors including raised public perception of your brand and positive word-of-mouth marketing.
Actively listening to your customers and implementing changes based on feedback is a form of continuous improvement. Committing to continuous improvement means increasing your efficiency, reducing your costs, reducing waste and increasing overall profitability.