What do your customers value the most from you?

\"ValueLately I’ve been thinking about “value”.  Not necessarily from a financial / pricing / cost viewpoint but from a “what does your customer value THE MOST from you?”
You may ask why I’m thinking about this?
It relates to customer satisfaction, customer experience, value proposition, customer retention, lead generation, account penetration and potentially profitability improvement. It can drive your sales initiatives, marketing content development (let alone marketing efforts) and the culture of your organization.
Many will say “I know what my customers value” but, in reality, many are “projecting” what they want to hear, others solicit input from a select few customers whom “they know” or the input comes from your sales organization based upon how they sell / what they are hearing.
And then there is the proverbial, “we have great people, great service, sell name brands” as if your competition, which has been in business for 50+ years or who has greater revenue than you has “lousy people, poor service and those second tier brands have poor product quality and break regularly.”
So, then this begs the questions of are you delivering upon customer expectations and what do your customers value?
And these two questions are relevant for distributors, manufacturers and manufacturer reps.
A couple of approaches to consider:

  1. You can conduct customer satisfaction surveys / interviews that inquire about what is important to your customers and then ask how you perform in for those attributes. You can then calculate a customer satisfaction index (CSI) to quantify the process and set benchmarks.  Some like using the Net Promoter Score (NPS).  They key is asking a large audience and regularly being willing to measure your performance.
  2. Another approach is to ask one question. The question, depending upon the audience, is:
  • What do our customers value THE MOST?
  • What do you value from us THE MOST?

The first question can be an interesting discussion among your sales organization (sales meeting topic?), your branch managers and your executive team. Odds are there will be many different answers. It is then interesting to identify the number of different answers, the frequencies of mentions and then consider if these are elements of your desired value proposition or are you being valued for something other than what you desire. This is a case where perception becomes reality
But more importantly is asking your customers what ONE thing they value THE MOST from you. This is why they buy from you.
Conduct the exercise either verbally or via a quick survey. You can follow-up the “what” question with “why” to hopefully gain greater insight.
Again, catalog the words and the frequency of mentions.  Evaluate.
(And hopefully, needless to say a 3rd party asking the question, either in interviews, focus groups or via a survey can be more productive as customers frequently are more comfortable / open to providing honest input when they are “anonymous.”  For the customer satisfaction process, Channel Marketing Group has tools and methodologies to support distributors, manufacturers and reps better understand if they are meeting customer expectations.)
Many companies excel at answering their own questions. Some solicit some customer feedback. Perhaps asking one question can help unlock new insights.
So, what are you valued for?

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3 thoughts on “What do your customers value the most from you?”

  1. Great article!
    It really hits on the truth.
    We have to be brutally honest to get the real answer.
    Also different customers have unique value needs.
    Such as special stocking and extended finance terms

  2. Dave – At NEMRA we understand the value question is key for our members. We spent a half day with Rick Kolsky at Kellogg on this very topic. Answer to question you raise requires a deep dive that most firms won’t have the rigor to answer. You could be a big help to the ones who at least want to try.
    And for those who want to know about our program with Kellogg, here’s a link to the information – https://www.nemra.org/resources/education-and-training/leadership-program-kellogg/

    1. Thanks Ken. We do work with reps also on these issues and offer NEMRA reps a Distributor Satisfaction Assessment process, have worked with reps regarding strategy and marketing and recently conducted a value proposition workshop for a group of reps.

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