Impact Learning Systems


Don't Keep Your Customers in the Dark: Add Value Monica Postell

blindfolded1 Dont Keep Your Customers in the Dark: Add ValueAs a cus­tomer, how do I know what I want… if I don’t know what’s pos­si­ble? It's as though I'm blindfolded.

I was on a flight recently. We’d just been advised to turn off all elec­tronic devices so I had to close my Kin­dle and was forced to choose between quiet con­tem­pla­tion and read­ing the airline’s Sky Mall cat­a­logue one more time. Per­haps because I was 3 hours into a less than customer-focused flight expe­ri­ence, the idea of enrich­ing cus­tomer expe­ri­ence came to mind. And I went with it.

The idea of “adding value” popped into my head. At first glance, adding value cer­tainly sounds like a good thing—not so much the “adding” part as the “value” part of the con­cept. I sub­scribe to the the­ory that reduc­ing cus­tomer effort—making it quick and easy for me to do busi­ness with you—builds loyalty.

So it seems to me that adding time to an inter­ac­tion isn’t help­ful unless I see some ben­e­fit to what I’m get­ting. There needs to be some clearly per­ceived value. I under­stand that there’s some­thing in it for YOU… you’re sell­ing me some­thing extra or mak­ing sure I don’t have to call you back. But as a cus­tomer “added value” is only good if there’s some­thing in it for ME. One size does not fit all.

At Impact, for exam­ple, our cus­tomer ser­vice, sales, field ser­vice and tech­ni­cal sup­port train­ing pro­grams all include a model for adding value. For us it’s not about tack­ing some­thing on. It’s about tak­ing the blind­fold off and con­nect­ing an offer, an idea, a resource, or tid­bit of infor­ma­tion to a spe­cific customer’s prob­lems, needs or inter­ests. The goal is to reduce cus­tomer effort.

Using tech­nol­ogy, you don’t even have to be present to pro­vide added value to your customers.

I expe­ri­enced this kind of added value right after Oprah announced her newest book club selec­tion. I wanted to know what the book was about so I went to Ama­zon for a descrip­tion. In addi­tion to the book descrip­tion (hmm, could this be added value?) I found a very inter­est­ing feature—Readers’ Forum. In this forum, read­ers post ques­tions to other read­ers. One caught my eye. In it, a woman listed books she’d read and liked and asked for sug­ges­tions of other books she’d like. Wow! I’d read and liked those books too so I read on. There were lots of inter­est­ing sug­ges­tions and faster than I can say,“1 click add to cart” two books were on whis­per­net on their way to my Kin­dle. Was that added value? For me, yes, it was. Did Ama­zon ben­e­fit as well? Of course it did.

Clearly I am the cen­ter of Amazon’s uni­verse. I know this because of the way they treat me. They know I like to read, they know what I like to read, and they know I’m a busy per­son so they proac­tively make sug­ges­tions based on my past pur­chases and inter­ests. Pur­chas­ing a book is super easy and deliv­ery to my Kin­dle pro­vides a happy dose of instant grat­i­fi­ca­tion. It def­i­nitely nets out to low cus­tomer effort and high cus­tomer satisfaction.

So, the ques­tion is, what can you do to add that kind of value to your cus­tomer inter­ac­tions? Discuss.

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  • yssa keyes

    great site! it gives more wide under­stand­ing on how to deal with the customer.

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