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What's All This Talk about Value?
by JoAnna Brandi

I was in Texas facilitating a Building Customer Loyalty meeting. I love that presentation for a number of reasons - it doesn't get old, it gets better over time, the people in the audiences are getting smarter as the marketplace continues to change and they have to change or die, and there are lots of opportunities for them, and me, to learn.

Most companies have been really challenged to understand more about what value they provide to their Customers. Many Customers, forced to cut back themselves, have asked for price cuts and concessions they never would have thought about asking for prior to this recession.

Consequently the focus so many companies have right now is on price - how can we cut our costs so we can cut our price to win the business - is the dominant question in many organizations. I'm going to guess that by now we have all squeezed as much as we can out of the system and better turn our eyes to creating, not just cutting.
In all my years of teaching (almost 20) I am continually amazed by the term "creating value." It's what every company says it does and wants and can do better than everybody else.  YET - when I talk to employees and ask them how they create value, they look at me quizzically and wonder if they are going to lose their job if they give me the wrong answer.

So what is value? Well, it has a lot of elements. Price is only one of them. Value is both tangible and intangible. Value is what the Customer says it is. Value is relative, not fixed. Value changes over time depending on what the Customer needs and desires.

Sometimes I value a friendly conversation, and sometimes I just need to get in and out fast. Sometimes I want extra information because I need to understand it better and sometimes I know more than the clerk and just want the thing I need. You know what I mean. We all have changing needs.

So there I was in Texas, with my group, and we had a lively conversation about value and we made a list of things they thought constituted value in their businesses.
I liked the list a lot and thought I would share it with you today.

  • hassle-free
  • convenience
  • trust
  • extra mile
  • authenticity
  • status
  • quality
  • cost/price good value for the cost
  • green (this is showing up a lot lately)
  • time
  • affiliation
  • the "feel good's"
  • help make them successful
  • availability
  • ideas
  • intelligence
  • guidance
  • speed fulfilling need
  • genuine
  • reduced risk (or risk free)
  • fun

And of course I have just a few to add to the list:

  • Ease (of use , of understanding, of payment options)
  • Courtesy
  • Understanding
  • Empathy
  • Quick response
  • Timely
  • Guaranteed
  • Accessible
  • The "right" bells and whistles
  • Peace of mind
  • Luxury
  • Solvency (that wouldn't have been on the list two years ago)
  • Delight
  • Accountability
  • Pleasant surprise
  • "Wow" factor
  • Helpfulness
  • Enjoyment...

And are there more? Of course! Value is an equation. It's up to you to find out what components of value are right for your customers - and what value you, personally, contribute.

I'd like to think I add a little passion, purpose, positivity and excitement - what about you? What's your special mix? How does your value show up every day in the world?


The Author

JoAnna Brandi

JoAnna Brandi is the Publisher of the Customer Care Coach® leadership program. She is the author of three books: "Winning at Customer Retention, 101 Ways to Keep 'em Happy, Keep 'em Loyal, and Keep 'em Coming Back" "Building Customer Loyalty - 21 Essential Elements in ACTION" and "54 Ways to stay Positive in a Changing, Challenging and Sometimes Negative World" JoAnna is an accomplished public speaker and a contributing author to numerous business publications. Her work in customer loyalty has been cited in Fortune Magazine, Sales and Marketing Magazine, The Executive Report on Customer Retention, US Banker, the Retail Advantage, The Kiplinger Letter, The Competitive Advantage and dozens of others.

You can subscribe to her bi-weekly Customer Care Tip for free and find more of her work at and .

Many more articles in The Customer Care Coach and Customer Service in The CEO Refresher Archives
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Copyright 2010 by JoAnna Brandi. All rights reserved.

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