In this economy of stagnant demand and constrained spending, you have one way to grow: surround your customers with value.
But what is value? It's anything that enhances your customers' experience with your company or your products. Consider this list:
- Price. This is the most common value metric, but it's far from the only one. Many otherwise cost-conscious customers would trade off higher price for some combination of the following alternative sources of value.
- Better service: How good do you make me feel as a customer? How fast can I engage you? How soon do you get back to me?
- Selection: We live in a commodity age: Am I getting the right amount of quality, diversity or choice in this product for the price I am paying?
- Knowledge: Does your company and its people truly understand this market and the individual features of the products they sell? Do they share that knowledge openly and willingly?
- Confidence: Do I trust that you are giving me the best value for my dollar, without my having to do a lot of dreary research and price comparisons?
- Peace of Mind: Do I believe that if I have made a mistake, you will let me unwind this deal, at little or no cost? If you make a mistake, do I believe you will fix things fast?
- Delivery: Can you offer me options? Sometimes I'm willing to pay for delivery tomorrow morning, other times I want your lowest price.
- Fast Service: Whether I buy from your website, your store or over the phone, can I get in and out fast?
- Simplicity: Do you make product selection, product comparisons and checkout easy and intuitive?
- Know Me: Do your staff know me? Do they have any understanding of my needs? Does your system store my data (safely) so that I can check out easily?
- Peer Acceptance: Do you offer easy access to real testimonials from satisfied customers to give new customers more confidence in buying from you?
- Personality: Does your organization have an open, helpful and trustworthy culture or personality that makes me want to deal with you?
- Put the Customer First: Do your salespeople/associates suggest ways I can save money or derive other additional value from my purchase? Or do they just try to sell me up in order to meet their own revenue targets?
- Brand reputation: Will my peers respect me more or less when they know I have bought from you? In its heyday, the iPod started conversations; other MP3 players elicited yawns.
- Community: Does your company give me other reasons to buy from you? Do you support my values, do you give back to the community, is the business environmentally and socially responsible?
What other kinds of value does your company sell? Support this community by leaving a comment below.
Rick Spence is the Toronto-based author of the Canadian Entrepreneur blog and a consultant on marketing, strategy and business growth. You can reach him at email@example.com.
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