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Business 101: Customer Creation
“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”
“Customer service is a series of activities designed to enhance the level of customer satisfaction – that is, the feeling that a product or service has met the customer expectation." By Jamier L. Scott
Creating value for the customer is at the heart of entrepreneurship. Good customer service is the lifeblood of any business. The purpose of a business, any business is to create value – for its customers, employees and investors, which include its owners and shareholders. Creating value for customers helps business sell products and services; creating values for the employees motivates and enables them to do better work (which results in better products and services); and creating value for shareholders (in the form of increases in stock price) ensure that capital is available in the future to keep the business running.
So the question is always asked: How do you create value for the customer? Paul O’Malley, a Boston-based consultant to Fortune 500 companies, says it “entails making products and providing services that customers find consistently useful.”
Creating value usually means introducing innovation – either by creating or improving products, business processes and services – and practicing good CRM or Customer Relationship Management. CRM is about understanding a customer’s unique needs better, faster and more precisely than before.
But before you manage a customer, you have to create one – and most entrepreneurs have created new customers or a new market by simply doing one or a combination of the following:
- Being Timely: They offered their product or service just when the customer needed it most.
- Being Accessible: They made their offering easy to get, either by delivering the product or setting up a shop or store that’s easy to go to.
- Being Useful: They made their product or service so easy to use and so versatile that customers could use it in any number of ways.
- Being the best in quality: They made their offering the best it could be, using the choicest materials or employing the most skilled people for the job.
- Being customizable: They built their offerings in such a way that it satisfies a customer no matter what his or her preference is.
- Being portable: They made their offerings either easy to carry, easy to repackage, and easy to reuse, without losing quality or efficacy.
Ultimately, customer value is about perception: if a customer perceives – “sees” – value in the products or services a business offers, only then is a sale or purchase made. Indeed, by definition customer value is merely “the difference between the benefit a customer receives from the product and the cost the customer paid for the product.” No doubt, value can be created for customers in many different ways. But without customers, there is simply no business.