By definition sales is relationships, relationship is mutualism, and a business relationship begets mutual value. In essence the soul of every business is embedded in value creation.
What then is value? And more precisely customer value? To understand what customer value is, it is critical to first understand what a customer is. According to Paul T. Babson, at the time Chairman of the Board, Standard & Poor’s Corp as attributed by Forbes magazine in a 1946 published article titled “What Is a Customer?” commends:
- A Customer is the most important person ever in this office—in person or by mail.
- A Customer is not dependent on us—we are dependent on him.
- A Customer is not an interruption of our work—he is the purpose of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him—he is doing us a favour by giving us the opportunity to do so.
- A Customer is not an outsider to our business—he is part of it.
- A Customer is not a cold statistic—he is a flesh-and-blood human being with feelings and emotions like your own, and with biases and prejudices.
- A Customer is not someone to argue or match wits with. Nobody ever won an argument with a customer.
- A Customer is a person who brings us his wants. It is our job to handle them profitably to him and to ourselves.
At the crux of what a customer is, lies the holy grail of “customer value” which can be described as the trade-off between the customer’s perceived benefits (which range from functional to psychological) and the resources (can be monetary to time and effort) used to obtain those benefits (Schiffman, Kanuk, & Wisenblit, 2010). Businesses that truly understand their customers and practice the golden rule that in order to receive one must give are bound to perform better than their competitors in the same market.
This explains why the private sector in many instances is able to win business while charging an extremely higher price for basic services that say for example government provides for free or charge for less. The Botswana Public Service, Customer Service Standards demands that public service should be customer focused.
In many instances millions of Batswana who each year visit government offices from hospitals to mobile communications offices where they purchase or seek public services from government employees systematically trained by government institutions tend to find themselves frustrated by the failure of government employees who FAIL to live up to government’s four core standards of being efficient, effective, caring and responsive. Customers, in turn, are attracted to the private sector because they know that, what they expect will match the value of resources they spend.
How is your company or organisation defining its customer? Does it provide a positive memorable customer buying experience? Does it provide value? Ask us how, we’d like to hear how your brand is positioned. Talk to us at: email@example.com.