The Value Proposition

There is no denying it, customers want value. You want value when you purchase something and your customers are no different. They want and deserve great value from your company.

At Signature Worldwide, in our training programs, we teach a very simple formula that summarizes the value proposition. It is:

V=D/E

V=Value, D=Delivery and E=Expectations. It is very simple, but does the job in defining how customers perceive value.

At a high level, here is how the formula works. Customers have expectations. When you deliver a level of service that exceeds their expectations, your customer receives value.

Let's look at it mathematically. The customer calls your locations wanting to rent a piece of equipment. With 10 being legendary and 1 being awful, let’s say the customer is expecting a 5. They are anticipating polite and professional service delivered by someone who is knowledgeable. They are expecting a transaction conducted by an ‘order-taker’ – they are not expecting to be wowed with great service.

To their delight, they are serviced by an enthusiastic, pleasant professional who is anxious to help them. Your inside sales representative asks several relevant business questions that help determine the customers’ needs. The representative offers a solution that exactly fits the customers’ needs. They make certain they have all the equipment and supplies they will need for a successful job. They care and it shows. The interaction is quick and thorough. The customer hangs up knowing they are in good hands and impressed with your employee. They give the experience a 9.

You bet! They were expecting a 5 and received a 9. They received a level of service that exceeded their expectation. This is a customer that will say good things about your company and return to do more business.

Let’s fast forward one month. The customer calls back regarding equipment for another job. When they call back, what are they expecting? Yes, another 9.

However, this time they get a different inside sales representative. This person is rushed and less experienced. They are not as thorough as the original representative is. On a scale of 1 to 10, they regard the experience as a 6.

Did they receive value from this interaction? Not really. They were expecting a 9 and received a 6. You failed to exceed their expectations.

The lesson here is that to continue to deliver value, you must consistently exceed customers’ expectations. It is not good enough for one person to deliver exceptional service. Legendary service needs to be the mantra of your entire organization – at every touch point.

Everyone in your organization that interacts with the customer, needs to understand the important role they play in retaining customers, your company’s (and their own) reputation, and driving revenues. Customers, especially new ones, are constantly evaluating their service experience.

For example, your field service technicians and delivery team can have a huge impact on the value proposition. Sometimes they are the only employees who your customers meet in person. They become the face of your company.

In determining what is important to the customer and how they define value, it is critical to incorporate the voice of the customer in your strategies. Many companies use surveys, but don’t be afraid to call them and get their input. They will appreciate that you asked and that you are committed to providing them great value.

Your employees will also have ideas as to how your organization can deliver greater value to your customers. It is helpful to periodically pause from the constant pressures of your business operations to focus on what it is that your customers really want.

As your value proposition strategy evolves, you also need to develop and deliver a training program that communicates it to your employees. This training will define your customer service and sales standards. It is important to provide guidelines for exceptional service so employees know what is expected of them. These guidelines will vary by position. For example, your inside sales representatives will have different customer service standards than your field service technicians.

Once you have that training in place, reinforce it with ongoing discussions, recognition, measurement, and accountability. Reward those who consistently deliver value to your customers and coach those who miss the mark. Every customer interaction is an opportunity to impress.