Frustrated customer

People are not loyal to what satisfies them — they’re loyal to what they love.

It’s not enough for a business to meet practical needs and pat themselves on the back for good “satisfaction” ratings. Satisfaction is not a differentiator; it’s a must. To really stand out, your business needs to deliver memorable experiences that pack emotional wow-factor for your customers.

Sounds great, but how do you actually do it – and do it consistently?

Defining and socializing a customer value proposition is a powerful way to rally your organization around what matters most to your customers, to help make your products and services the most compelling choice. That starts with your employees, and your value proposition gives teams a clear, customer-centric focus for how to approach their work.

How do you get there?  First you need to understand what it takes to be successful, and you need real commitment across the organization, from the top down. Here’s a quick primer to help you get started.

Customer Value Proposition 101

What it is (and what it’s not) Your customer value proposition is a clear, simple statement or concept that defines the core benefit you offer to customers, focused on what they want most. To highlight what differentiates your brand from the rest of the pack, it should answer two key customer questions: Why choose you? and more importantly, What’s in it for me? It’s not just a slogan or marketing copy — it drives your approach to doing business.
What it means for the business Having a clearly defined value proposition provides a platform for achieving key business objectives, such as building stronger relationships, increasing acquisition, improving service, even reducing support costs. Without question, you’ll taste more success if you use this initiative to nurture a customer-centric company culture. It helps everyone from senior leadership to frontline and back office employees understand how they play an important role in your customer experience.
What’s involved In a nutshell: you need leadership buy-in, strong project management to oversee many moving parts, customer research to make sure you’re on the right track, and effective communications to explain, promote, and train employees about your value prop, as well as a clear plan for sustaining momentum over time.
How to get started A successful trip starts with a clear idea of where you want to go, and a good roadmap. Many organizations choose to partner with outside experts who can help you manage customer research, provide a proven methodology for rolling out the new value proposition, and bring a fresh perspective to internal and customer communications.
Key deliverables As communications are the heart and soul of this initiative, your strategic roadmap helps you stay on track for what you need and when. Some essential communications include:

  • Value proposition components, including the core benefit statement and a few pillar ideas, supported by key messages and proof points, all based on customer research.
  • Messaging Playbook and tools that explain your value proposition, how it aligns with what customers want, and includes the messaging framework along with examples of how to integrate messages into written and verbal communications.
  • Promotions to launch and build buzz for the value proposition with leaders and teams, such as a roadshow presentation, emails, office posters, maybe even a launch kit with a helpful communication tool and a fun giveaway related to the value prop theme.
How to build buy-in This can be the most challenging part, but if you do it right, it can be the most rewarding. Everyone, at every level, needs to see how the customer value proposition is relevant to their work, so they can look for ways to make it real and believable every day. To build buy-in for your initiative, plan for the following:

  • Recruit an executive sponsor and leadership champions committed to helping employees understand what your customer value proposition means for the business, and how they play a role.
  • Refresh marketing and servicing communications to reflect the new value prop messaging. Being prepared with valuable “before and afters” helps teams see the customer-focused differences in messaging and tone.
  • Promote training and tools to support employees in learning the value proposition core ideas, and how to bring it to life in their work. Collaborative workshops are a powerful way to practice embracing the concepts as an approach to serving customers, and integrating key messages into written and verbal communications.

Having a clearly defined, data-driven value proposition can fuel your business on many levels. It gives leadership a platform to motivate teams for greater performance metrics. It equips sales and marketing with the right customer-focused mindset and messages to build stronger connections that drive acquisition and retention. And it gives servicing and production teams a model for how to approach customer care and problem solving.

And oh yeah, there’s your customers, who will reward exceptional experiences with ongoing business and word of mouth referrals. In other words, if you get it right — your value proposition is the ultimate win-win situation for your business and your customers.