How are your best value added customer experience efforts sabotaged, both pre- and post-sale?
What you do, when you are not actively selling, engineering, coding and serving, adds value to each customer’s experience of how it is to work with you. Like the key players on a sports team, what they do when they do not have the ball makes all the difference in the outcome of the game.
Value added refers to a term first used in 1935 (really), when the Age of Mass Production dominated manufacturing models. In today’s digitally connected marketplace, the Age of Customization and Personalization dominate. Customers expect products and services will no longer remain “as good as the day they bought them.” Instead, clients expect products and services – and us – to become better and better over the duration of their relationship with us and with our organization.
Does that last sentence move you one millimeter outside of your current professional comfort level? It should. Because you move beyond the systems and processes which make you complacent. Instead, value added customer experience becomes your responsibility.
Are your value added efforts providing better and better customer experiences?
The term value-added describes how the monetary and intrinsic value of an article increases at each stage of its production, over the initial cost of producing that item. Alternatively, value added (for material goods) relates to various features added to a basic line or model for which buyers are prepared to pay extra.
While that manufacturing definition is all well and good, the majority of customers interface directly with the people and systems providing service delivery quality for the goods purchased. The sales-engineering interface®, where business and operations intersect, creates value added customer experience. Or not.
There are three ways Value Added Customer Experience Efforts often fall short of being valuable at all.
- Do you rely on scripted responses, timed email blasts and special promotions to create “stickiness?” Often those initiatives make the vendor or supplier organization “feel” as though they are sticking close to the customer. However, is that type of “stickiness” increasing the client’s perception of the value of the product or service? Or is it annoying and inauthentic, from the customer’s perspective?
- Will you create your own initiative, in addition to your organization’s? What does it look like? Do you do what you say you are going to do? Alternatively, do you promise deliverables or information which never reach the client? Because you leave the task up to someone else in the organization, who does not own that client relationship. Then again, perhaps you are too busy chasing new opportunities, and ignore current customers.
- Are your own efforts in meeting client deadlines slowed, or non-existent, because they promptly pay invoices and your commission? On the other hand, is the only way customers get your attention by withholding payment of invoices until they receive the information or deliverables promised?
You have the opportunity to create, manage and continuously deliver value added customer experience to clients.
However, executing this strategy involves process, discipline and professional authenticity. On your part. In the age of personalized and customized client experiences, you still understand clients better than any artificially intelligent interface. If you choose to make that initiative part of your professional service delivery arsenal.
After all, over time, value added customer experience efforts add up, or they don’t. Why be surprised when customers defect, when small, but effective customized and personalized experiences impact customer retention?
Isn’t it time to take a different approach to acquiring and, most of all, retaining valuable customers? Contact me today to discuss the speaking program and workshops which make the most sense for your organization, tomorrow.
Start moving one millimeter forward beyond what is comfortable, today. Instead, let’s target what is Possible, together.
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Babette Ten Haken’s One Millimeter Mindset™ keynotes, breakout sessions and workshops help individuals, teams, organizations and associations leverage productive and profitable collaboration to catalyze professional innovation, workforce engagement and customer retention. She serves organizations as an inspiring speaker, strategist, coach and storyteller. Her speaking programs combine her training as a STEM design thinker, Six Sigma Green Belt and Voice of the Customer practitioner with her background in new product development, startups, market research and sales. How’s that for walking the cross-functional collaboration walk? She is a member of SME, ASQ, SHRM and the National Speakers Association. Babette’s Playbook of collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com.
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