What does value mean to you? To me it’s extremely personal as the perception of value will differ dramatically based on one’s personal taste, experience and cultural background. It also has an expiration date, by this I mean the first time you experience something beneficial, you perceive huge value in it, but the more familiar it becomes, the more it tends toward being expected, taken for granted.
I was recently the victim of an unfortunate ‘smash and grab’ incident. The service I received from my local police station was amazing! I met both captain, and section captain who accompanied me back to the crime scene where they helped me retrieve some personal items. This left me saying “oh wow!”
Post reporting the incident, I received continued updates on the investigation via SMS. This left me further wowed, but if my experience at the station had been negative, those messages would have been irritating and anger provoking.
I think in our businesses, a very similar principle needs to be applied to the way we interact with our customers and how we measure satisfaction. Like when servicing your car: initially it was impressive to receive a request to rate your experience. But ongoing, this has the potential to irritate. Feedback is of course very necessary for any business to maintain customer service levels, but perhaps not every customer interaction needs to be measured, every time.
Here are some other critical principles for delivering good value:
Keeping Things Fresh
Do you remember the first time you encountered predictive search? I remember thinking that’s impressive. But after a while it becomes expected and then eventually irritating. Digital is creating greater expectations with every additional interaction. So it’s critical to stay current.
Getting What You Need
Are your systems giving your customers what they need? For example, when buying groceries online, one will inevitably shop with the retailer who offers a more intuitive and faster experience, and delivers what you ordered – not the substitution. Price remains important, but equally important is ease-of-use and the quality of the service.
Access to information must be seamless and easy for your customers. But caution needs to be paid to the balance between push and pull. A continuous push of information will eventually drive your customers crazy. A more ideal situation is providing information on a pull basis, so they are educated on what information is available and where to find it, thus enabling them to access it when and where they need it, on their own terms.
That Personal Touch
Bots are useful to a point but can only get you so far. After that, a personal interaction is required. If your customer wants to complain, they need access to someone or a system where they know they will be heard.
My unfortunate brush with crime ended with an amazing personal touch. A day or two later I received a call from a trained trauma counsellor checking-up on how I was doing and offering me free counselling. My response once again: oh wow!
So value is built out of these “oh wow” moments. Customer experience management has become a little passé as in it’s almost now expected and is what everyone should already be doing. The next layer, and key differentiator, is a deeper understanding of the emotional state of the person with whom your organisation is interacting and the type of experience they are seeking.