Developing a Philosophy for Providing Value
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Providing great value to customers results directly from applying a
well-designed philosophy for creating outstanding products and services. How do
you create offerings that are profitable and also capable of converting ordinary
consumers into adoring fans?
This article covers four critical ingredients that produce stellar products,
services, and customer relationships. You can boost your product and service
value to a level that truly "wows" customers by doing the following things:
1. Researching your audience's needs.
Creating impeccable results begins with the approach you take toward
researching what your customers or prospects want and need. Developing
successful offerings then involves incorporating what you learn into solutions
they want to buy. Where and how you derive your product and service design
requirements can hugely influence the success of your offerings, and extends
beyond product design into the entire customer experience.
Methods for researching what will contribute most to your audience's success
include interviews and needs assessments, examining the information in your
customer database, and probing customer headaches using support calls and
2. Making your offerings safe, reliable, and easy to use.
Ensuring that a product or service will be friendly and intuitive to use
involves several aspects. Two factors that strongly influence the success of
your offerings are 1) how simple the features and interface are, and 2) how much
support your offerings give customers for achieving real-life goals. Many
product development teams make every effort to overload their products with
fancy features in the hopes of increasing customer satisfaction. In reality,
complexity can backfire and actually keep customers from achieving success.
If you already have a product or service, before you release the next
version, perform a difficulty analysis by asking:
-- Does the system guide people in achieving their real-world goals? -- Have
you prevented all unnecessary options and features from creeping in? -- Have you
automated or kept to a bare minimum all tedious setup? -- Have you performed a
"hassle hunt" to remove known customer annoyances?
Depending on the answers, you might need to add more guidance, simplify the
design, or hide complexity more elegantly.
3. Testing and evaluating your offerings.
Do you have a way to tell whether your offerings achieve exactly what both
you and your customers expect? Are your products and services confusion-free,
even if they carry out complicated tasks? How well do they perform their
intended actions? By using powerful testing and evaluation techniques, you can
reveal the answers in a systematic way.
First of all, it's important to use a specification to state what your
product or service is meant to do, and have a way to compare your product or
service against that specification to determine whether it actually 1) does what
it's supposed to do, 2) does it correctly, and 3) as advertised.
Then, a combination of requirements evaluation, usability testing, alpha
testing, and beta testing can become your "secret sauce." The earlier in the
life cycle this process can begin - specifically, in the requirements and design
stages, when the initial concepts are still on the drawing board - the more
successful your offerings will be at satisfying customer needs and desires. An
early starting point will let you build quality incrementally into your
offerings, instead of trying to add it as an afterthought, the way your
4. Focusing on consistency to cement your brand promise.
When consumers are pleased with what you offer, how do they show it? Usually,
by becoming loyal, repeat customers. But what if they're unhappy? The majority
will quietly take their money elsewhere, and you'll probably never hear the
What's the solution? Creating consistently compelling customer experiences
that galvanize consumers, who then can't stop telling their family and friends.
The recipe for cooking up highly profitable customer interactions includes, but
is not limited to, recognizing the importance of focusing on customer retention;
over-delivering on promises, both explicit and implied; striving to prevent
variation in product and service quality; and doing everything possible to
ensure your customers' downstream success.
In conclusion, using this four-part formula for increasing product and
service value can transform your offerings from being lackluster, difficult, or
even hazardous to use to "wowing" your audiences with superb experiences. By 1)
researching audience needs; 2) making your offerings safe, reliable, and easy to
use; 3) testing and evaluating your offerings; and 4) focusing on consistency to
cement your brand promise, you will create countless ways to attract buyers who
become raving fans!
About the Author
Adele Sommers, Ph.D. is the creator of the award-winning "Straight Talk on
Boosting Business Performance" success program, and specializes in helping
people align their life passions with their business purpose. To learn more
about her tools and resources and sign up for other free tips like these, visit
her site at
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2008-06-16 21:30:29 in Business Articles