Creating value is the key to success for any business. Value is the benefit that customers gain from using your products or services, and actively striving to create and renew value is a strong business model for stability and growth. Unfortunately, roadblocks sometimes keep companies from building a value creation model. Here are a few problem areas, along with tips on how to work through them.
Not Prioritizing Customer Needs
The best way to check for value is to see through the customers' eyes. The best customer service in the industry is not enough if it does not meet the customers' needs. Too often, business schools focus on creating executives and managers who think like business professionals but have trouble empathizing with their customers. Remember that you are a customer in your life outside of work, and call on those experiences to think more like a customer when working on value creation.
Imitating the Competition
Although it is important to meet customer needs better than the competition, simply doing a little bit better, perhaps by having lower prices or better customer service policies, is not enough to create long-term customer value. Creating value requires thinking outside the box to gain a true competitive advantage over competing organizations. The best way to stay ahead of the competition is to work internally to create the best products, services and policies to meet customer needs regardless of what the other guy is doing.
Creating value requires actively responding to changes in customer needs, new technology and any new competition that hits the market. A customer-centric attitude keeps every employee in your organization focused on the customers and their needs. A customer-oriented company culture provides a network of people listening to your customer base and preparing to change to meet its needs whenever required.
Providing the Wrong Type of Customer Service
Many companies equate top customer service with quickly and successfully responding to customer complaints and solving customer problems. However, creating value requires that your customer service team is focused on moving forward toward the goal of zero complaints. Problems inherently reduce your value in the eyes of your customers. Analyze problems, and systematically work to destroy them. Find ways for your customer service team to engage with customers outside of problem situations for better relationships and more positive interactions, both true signs of value.
Creating value is the best way to build a strong business that is ready for the future. Watch out for barriers to creating value, such as imitating the competition and providing complaint-centered customer service while working to see your services through the eyes of your customers and adapting to changes in your industry. Top customer service that moves beyond problem solving is central to creating a company culture around value creation.
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