WHAT IS THE VALUE OF THE CUSTOMER? FIND OUT MANDATORY.
Many companies deliver products, services or business solutions. But customers are not interested in them. Today`s Customers are more demanding, they want to participate in creating solutions for them, want customized solutions. But, then, if they don`t want products, services, solutions, what are they interested in?
Value? What is the Value? And, who defines the Value?
Value is that for what a Customer is willing to pay, something valuable to him. When defining the Value, it is very important to start and watch from the Customer`s point of view, from the Customer`s perspective.
That can be a significant problem in many situations- misunderstanding the notion of the Customer`s perspective or a way to be on the Customer`s point of view, in order to understand Customers` needs, requirements, wishes, expectations in the best way. In an intuitive way, many consider Requirement and Customer`s Value as synonyms. But, it is very important to understand that for every Requirement we will have or should have defined Value. Just imagine that you were hired by someone for painting some room in green color.
That is a Customer`s Requirement – the room to be painted. But, Value for him will be that those walls are clearly green, without any accessorizing. If you paint that room just based on his Requirement, maybe you will find adding other colors or details as nicer, better, more interesting. For example, you will probably put some wall in dark red, because of contrast; on some another, you will add a picture of a flower, Sun, or similar.
And, what then? The situation is quite simple – Customer is right. So, what will you do next? Customer will certainly expect to deliver him what required- a green room. For you that means additional work, rework, spending time and materials, delaying next planned or agreed assignments… that means losing possible business opportunities and money. Terrible!
So, is Customer always right?
If we start with an idea that Customer is always right, we will definitely have a problem. Thus, let`s say that the Customer is right for that what is specified, agreed.
Oh, that is a step ahead. Now, we have to make that specification with the Customer, actually to come together to an agreement about Customer`s needs, expectations, wishes… That definitely doesn`t mean just to hear and write down his requirements but to do your best to understand and find out what actually for the Customer represents Value, what is significant for him. Ever you said “I suppose…” you had already made a mistake and had more possibility of project failure and conflicts with Customer, Team, Managers, etc. Instead, to start do everything to avoid such situations, doing all activities that will help you to find out and understand Customer`s requirements, but Values that he considers, as well.
How to find out as much as possible?
There are many ways – actively listen to your Customer, try to understand him, as many questions, include relevant team members, draw, make some models or mock-ups, make a wireframe, give them some predefined questionnaire… do everything you have. There are many situations when Customers actually don`t know what they really want or need.
In some situations, they know, but don`t formulate that completely. Therefore, responsibility for defining Requirements and Values is yours. Responsibility and interest. Yes, that sounds demanding, but it is such- you have to provide them all necessary help because such you will help yourself. You have to be a very good listener, an Active Listener, in order to understand what Customer`s idea is, what he wants. Additionally, you have to be a Facilitator, to help Customer to state all his ideas. Also, an Investigator, as you have to research, investigate Customers minds and needs.
That what you are doing creates the value for the company, eliminates wastes, saves time, resources and money, makes a strong base for next processes, improves quality, but increases Customer`s trust and satisfaction, as well as a reputation of your company.
Enough, isn`t it? Go and find out what the Value is. Just deliver Value.