Creating Added Value for Customers

“Marketing is not the art of finding clever ways to dispose of what you make. It is the art of creating genuine customer value.” – Michael Kotler

If you are running a business, your primary focus should be on creating added value for customers – all the time. This is what customers expect and what they pay for. Customers are not looking at the products or service as an entity – rather they want to know the value and convenience the offerings would bring for them. For the success of its business, a company must know how to create added value for customers – everyone in the company must understand how to and the importance of doing so. Those companies can consistently do more for its customers, would have a better chance at success for the short and long-term. What steps / methods does your company employ to ensure that customers feel value with each offering and interaction with your company?

The primary focus, as mentioned above, for the brand and offerings of a company must be to ensure that customers get value out of them. The fact is that customers will buy only when they know that the benefits and value they will receive from the offerings would be a lot more than the money and effort they invest. A company that can create added value for customers – that is value beyond the price customers pay – would be able to attract more and retain customers for longer. Customers that perceive the value would provide repeat business and encourage others to join in with the ‘action’. Every business and its offerings must be able to answer the age-old question of “what’s in it for me?” for customers. A company must be able to give customers much more than they anticipate and expect – that is what being able to create added value for customers translates as. Doing so will ensure that customers never think of switching companies or taking their business elsewhere. Over time, customers become engaged and loyal to a company, taking on the responsibility of ensuring its success, which in turn would mean success to them too.

There has been a surge in the number of companies and similar offerings, making the marketplace more crowded than ever before. We have mentioned repeatedly, that companies that believe they can compete on price alone would find themselves in the crossfire of pricing and be waging a self-defeating price war. Price, in fact, is not the only driver behind customer choices and decisions. They would rather start and stick with a company that creates value for them, ensures the best quality offerings, and has stringent processes geared towards providing service excellence. Prospective customers choose companies and brands, based on the reviews and testimonials from existing customers. In the crowded marketplace of today, the more value a company can create for customers, the easier it would be for it to stand out. Hence, it would be prudent for a company to compete not on pricing but on the value it brings and the customer service it offers – both these factors lend a human and personalized touch, which are extremely favourable for any company.

When creating anything, a business must first ascertain the utility from the customer’s perspective. While a company may believe that they excel in service or that their offerings are the best in the market, none of this would be true or of any use unless customers agree. A company must quit the guesswork and seek first to understand their customers such that whatever they do is geared towards being able to create added value for customers – things that customers would find useful, interesting, and worth more than their time, money, and effort. A company must decide to do what customers believe is important – not what the company believes it does or can do for its customers. They must have an outside in approach – that is seeing their company and offerings the way customers perceive it. The value, of whatever a company does, exists only if customers perceive it as valuable in their mind. Creating or revamping policies, strategies, and procedures of the company to align with the value that customers would like to see, would be extremely beneficial and profitable for any company. To create added value for customers, means having a customer-focus and a culture that centres on consistently serving the customers in the way they deem appropriate. It would be hard to beat a company with such a ‘mind-set’.

The aim of a business should be to balance its own needs with that of the customer expectations. No business can survive if it only aims at making itself successful. By helping customers achieve their goals and meet their targets, a company automatically ensures its success through the association. Making customers successful is the recipe for a company’s success – the more profitable customers become, the more likely it is for them to pump additional resources into the company they associate with and stay on longer. It is not easy to gain customers and keep them – a company that can retain customers would gain loyal and profitability for itself, while customers continue to grow their business. Of course, it is not easy to please customers or keep them happy consistently, unless continuous efforts are made to create added value for them. With changing expectations and business conditions, customers must be able to rest easy in the knowledge that the association with a company would remain profitable for them and would lead to their success.

In order to create added value for customers, ensure that your company not only keeps its prices competitive, but also makes it extremely easy for customers to do business. Every effort should be made to reduce the time, effort, and hassle for customers while doing business with your company – this is something that even price sensitive customers would love and appreciate. A company that inspires trust and confidence would always be the preferred partner for any customer. Among the top reasons for customers to choose / stay with a company are dependability, ease of conducting business, speed, and top class service. All these factors allow a company to focus on the macro aspects of their business, since they are assured of a reliable business partner to meet some specific needs. Remember to always deliver on what your company promises and that it is better to under promise and over deliver, rather than the other way around.

The fact that even satisfied customers (studies reveal that 68% to 85% customers that switched companies, were satisfied with the first), could leave at any time. Customer satisfaction therefore, is no longer enough to retain customers. Without focusing on creating added value for customers, a company would find it tough to meet their changing needs and expectations, meaning that yesterday’s satisfied customer becomes today’s frustrated one. The need to create added value for customers has become so important since giving customers what they believe they should get will not make them notice the effort a company puts in. Of course, they would notice if that stopped. However, for them to sit up and take notice, it would be imperative to give them a lot more, a lot extra – something that no one offers and or can offer in the near future.

The harsh reality is that even if a company offers loads of freebies and incentives, unless they are relevant and of use to the customer, they could go to waste. The overall purpose of a company must be to create added value for customers such that your company would be the only one they would want to associate with for a particular set of needs. Loyal customers ensure profitability, which in turn translates to sustainable success for a company.

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