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Interconnectedness, vast quantities of information, and the ability to do previously impossible things, have gifted power to Customers. In the past , Producers mass produced products and services that were ‘pushed at’ Customers via mass marketing channels. Now, with heightened expectations and choice, Customers expect their needs, wants and aspirations to be met accurately, personally and at the right time.
Delivering Customer Value - something that is of worth to a Customer, as perceived by the Customer - is only possible if the Customer’s wants, needs and aspirations (even if not yet fully understood) are identied. This is the start point for working out what to do and how to do it. Note, too, that when you ask people “How can I best help you?” their answers will change over time.
Other stakeholders are of course important: to continue to serve its Customers, a company must be able to attract talent, make a prot and keep the condence of its shareholders. BUT there can be only one PRIMARY VALUE FOCUS and that is the CUSTOMER. Everything else follows from that.
The assessment of what something is worth is always based upon choices and trade-os between available options, including the ‘do nothing’ option. This is the basis of value proposition development. It can be complex because the choices and options are often based upon personal likes, dislikes and other criteria. Mapping and measuring emotions is hard, but important.
Customers’ wants, needs and aspirations are subject to change. Your company must be able to identify, track and respond to those changes. This often means giving greater decision-making power to customer-facing employees to enable them to create and deliver Customer Value on an ongoing basis. This necessitates a shift from ‘command & control’ leadership and management to ‘empower & enable’.
Customer Value is experienced in three stages: pre-purchase, purchase, post-purchase. The chain of experiences across these three stages, which needs to be articulated in value propositions, must reect functional, experiential and nancial aspects, all combined to create hard-to-copy dierentiation for your organization.
It requires an organization where everyone in the company - including the Customer - is aligned, and co-creativity is enabled Achieving this can only happen when an organization’s people are fully aligned behind the single goal of maximizing Customer Value. Start with the Customer and map the buying journey all the way back through the organization and beyond. Aim for a silo-free structure in which multi-functional teams involving all parties in the ecosystem - suppliers, the company itself and even the customers - work towards the common goal of Customer Value delivery, protably.
Multi-function teaming obviously requires people who may never have worked together to do so. That’s not always easy. Bringing Sales, Marketing and Service into alignment is vital, but it’s necessary to go much further. Why? Because things now move too fast for the slow feedback loops that used to typify 20th century organizations. The trouble is multi-function teams won’t always agree. There’s the need to handle the breakdowns that lead to breakthroughs.
The functional aspects of Customer Value are provable using business modelling of various kinds to demonstrate, for example, Return on Investment. The emotional aspects will be validated and proven via your brand reality. So Purpose and Culture have never been more important than now. All activity needs to deploy all relevant channels, and to include good metrication and feedback.
In a business world where everything moves faster than ever before, excellent Customer Value Creation demands exibility and responsiveness in resource allocation. Resources must be made available to the teams on the basis of need.