It’s important to add value for your customers, but they have to know about it to appreciate it. What value are you adding, and if I surveyed your customers would they know about it and what value would they put on it?

This might connect with your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) or your Guarantee. It’s all about standing out from your competitors and ensuring that your customers value what you provide so much that they continue to buy from you rather than anyone else.

Many businesses understand and add value. Some do it naturally and some go out of their way to do it deliberately. But either way, it’s pointless unless customers actually understand. You need to ensure customers recognise the value you add. Let me give you a little example. Most of you will be familiar with buying a printer for your computer at home or in the office. You go online or visit your favourite retailer, make a choice and buy. Either way, you get the printer on your desk, unpack the parts, plug it in and off you go. And if all else fails you read the manual.

How much did you appreciate the value that the retailer added in this situation? Let me give you another version. You unpack the box, go to plug the printer in and there’s no cable. You search, but there isn’t one. So you now have to contact the supplier and discover that the data cable is not included!

Now you have the hassle, cost and delay while you get the cable. In the situation where the cable was included, you probably wouldn’t notice because it just seems obvious. And the problem is… the retailer had the cost of the data cable – or the loss of the extra sale – and yet they gained nothing because you didn’t even appreciate the value they were adding!

Good customer service dictates that the retailer should check that you already have the cable you need, or to offer to sell it to you so that you’re not surprised and inconvenienced. But for you to value their service, they need to point this out to you. Ideally, I would have the retailer ask the question and highlight “You wouldn’t want to get all the way home and find you couldn’t use the printer and have to come all the way back again!”.

Now you appreciate them adding value – either the value of their service in meeting your true needs or the value of a free cable. You can only value something if you know about it. And here a cable that costs the retailer very little becomes worth ten times more to you by preventing hassle and delay. Chances are you’ll buy from that supplier again, and maybe recommend them. In your business what value are you adding and do your customers know? And how much hard cash value do they think it’s worth?

What else could you do so that they appreciate and value what you do?

Focus on these questions and see what you can do to make improvements. If you have staff, why not set aside 30 minutes to brainstorm ideas? And survey or ask your best customers – “When you buy from us, what is it you value most about dealing with us?”. Whatever that is… make sure you’re telling new prospects and even telling existing customers to help them appreciate it. If it’s as simple as “Our customers just like dealing with us…” then at least say that on your website, in your advertising, in your email.

Don’t just compete on price, add value – and be sure that you’re doing it in ways that your customers recognise and value what you do.

Rob Pickering,
Senior Partner & Business Coach