What do your customers value?

Posted in Business and entrepreneurship.

How much money are your customers willing to spend on specific benefits? Are the added advantages of using your product compared to others worth the extra cost? Are you spending too much money investing in specific aspects that do not confer any advantage over the competition? These kinds of questions can all be answered with one question – What do your customers value?

Sit down and think about it

Think for about 10 minutes about what your customers value. What about your business, your products, and your service, draws people in? Even better, get together in a group and brainstorm it. Differing opinions and perspectives would be quite helpful here. Consider why customers may choose your brand over competitors and why they would choose competitors over your brand. Remember to step into the shoes of your customers.

Break things down into so-called subdimensions. Turn values into objective and actionable items. As an example, your customers may value good customer service, but what does that actually mean? Perhaps it is professionalism or friendliness, but even then, that is quite subjective. Do they value how quickly and effectively problems can be resolved? Do they value personalised conversations or replies? With this kind of thinking, you can use what customers value to influence business decisions for the better.

Go out and ask

Do not be content with just your answers. No matter how accurate you may think your judgements are, your customers may still surprise you. Surveys and interviews allow you to get answers straight from the horse’s mouth. Surveys allow you to obtain a relatively larger sample size, but you are somewhat limited by the complexity of the questions. Interviews allow you to get a more in-depth look at customer values, but it is time-consuming. Both of these are further limited by how many people are willing to participate in the first place.

Do some laddering research where you continually ask “why” or more specifically “why is it important” until you get to the underlying values of your customers. This helps you to break down customers’ answers into objective and actionable items.

Be careful not to be overly aggressive when analysing customer feedback. With smaller groups, you cannot necessarily generalise that to your entire customer base. Take it with a grain of salt when making any business decisions based on it.

Gather both qualitative and quantitative data

While surveys and interviews can get sort-of in-depth feedback about what your customers value, in order to make the best decisions it is important to figure out how it fits into the bigger picture. What really applies to the rest of your customers?

Oftentimes, the things that customers are willing to say may conflict with what they actually value. Perhaps they dislike specific things, but aren’t consciously aware of the exceptions to their own rules. Make use of the data you have on your hands. What products are your customers buying and at what price? Does adding a supposedly valued feature actually have a significant impact on customer behaviour? It is all well and good to cater to what your customers value, but what does that bring to your business?

A combination of qualitative and quantitative data grants an extra dimension to your analyses. It enhances insights and provides a solid ground for your management and marketing teams to plan off of. Sometimes we may not know our customers, but sometimes our customers may not know themselves. Excellent use of data allows us to bridge this gap and really capture the “voice” of the customers.