If you provide enough value, then you earn the right to promote your company in order to recruit new customers. The key is to always provide value.Guy Kawasaki
In today’s hyper-competitive business world, SaaS businesses find it increasingly difficult to stand out. They are on their toes constantly to get customers to choose them over their competitors. One of the solutions is to prove value to them.
Value doesn’t necessarily mean the price. It’s the experience and benefits that your customers get for the price they paid. People pay for the value they receive. If they continue to receive value, they’ll continue the relationship with your brand. That is why businesses provide an extraordinary customer experience to maintain long-term relationships.
Every company irrespective of its industry lays emphasis on delivering value to its customers. In the Customer Success industry, customers usually buy a Customer Success platform because their operations are not optimized. They make the choice of partnering with you (vendor) so that they can achieve their desired outcomes.
If you want your customers to stay with your business for a long period of time, delivering customer value should be your focus. The goal is to maximize value not just from your product but also from the overall relationships. Yet, only delivering value isn’t going to help. Demonstrating it should be your next step.
Before getting to how to prove it, let’s try and understand the actual meaning of “Customer Value”.
How do you define Product value AKA Customer Value?
Product Value AKA Customer value boils down to identifying what the customers need the most and delivering it. Yet, this is easier said than done.
Product value is the customer’s perception of the benefits and experience that s/he receives from a product. The worth of the product always compares to its possible alternatives.
How to measure Product value?
The equation to calculate product value is shown below.
|Product Value = Total Benefits – Total Costs|
Generally, there are two parts to Product value- desired value and perceived value. The desired value is what your customer wants to receive from your product. Whereas perceived value is the benefit the customer believes s/he actually received from a product.
The perceived value is more important than the desired value. It is because the success of your business depends on the customers’ perception of that value. Benefits can include:
- Product quality
- Problem-solving ability
- Brand’s reputation
- Advantages of Partnering you as a vendor, etc.
The costs may include:
- Price of the product.
- Installation and Onboarding costs.
- Maintenance costs.
- Poor customer service, etc.
The benefits received should trump the costs involved. It is at that stage that customers start seeing value in your offering.
However, the perceived value can change over the course of his/her journey. The value that the customer thinks, s/he will receive before purchasing your product often differs after it is purchased. Thus, proving customer value is at each stage is crucial.
Why is it important to prove value to customers?
You, now, understand that proving value should be a priority. Yet, to give a clearer picture, it’s good to list out the importance separately.
- Retaining customers
- Improving your brand’s reputation
- Customer Advocacy
- Competitive advantage
- Converting potential customers into real customers
These reasons give a glimpse of why creating and proving customer value is extremely important.
ROI of Product Value
A sure shot way to prove value to customers is to quantify it. Yet, many Customer Success Managers find it difficult to calculate the ROI (return on investment) of Product Value. Calculating the ROI requires a consistent method to quantify the value delivered in terms of how much money your solution helped your customers make or save.
Delivering an ROI calculation your customers agree with can take your relationship with customers to another level. The following steps help to calculate value ROI.
- Talk to your customers.- Reach out to customers to know what they like about your product.
- Understand the Use cases they’re interested in.- They’re looking for solutions to specific problems. Try to weave a story around the specific use case and understand it thoroughly.
- Create the list.
- Map the list to specific areas.- The created list should be mapped out to either functional areas or departments within customers that you work with.
- Create an Excel spreadsheet. – Identify the attributes that would help you to slice and dice the data to see strengths and weaknesses. Cut through the noise to calculate the ROI.
For example- A customer faced an “error” message while using the product. You need to go to your tool to find out what happened. Once you find the cause, go deeper into the exact reasons why that incident occurred.
You can check if it took long for the session to load, etc. Once you see it did, you can calculate the impact it had on the overall user experience.
Product Value ROI% = (Benefits- Investments) / Investments X 100
ROI helps to prove Product value. How?
- By showing that the ROI is greater than the amount that was invested.
- By quantifying how the customer feels and how s/he engages with your product.
ROI of implementing a Customer Success is also an important measure. It will assist in knowing the impact of CS on customer value as well.
7 ways to prove product value/customer value
It’s not easy to retain customers every time you get new ones. You need to provide early value which they came looking for. Here are the 7 competent ways to demonstrate value to your customers.
Provide customized and valuable content
As obvious it sounds, businesses usually don’t do that. The idea is to provide relevant and valuable information that empowers customers. Using your information, they should be able to improve their processes. This demonstrates the value that you want to provide.
A good way is to create content that supports them at every stage while using your product. This will improve customer satisfaction, thereby, boosting customer retention.
Relevant content can include various resources like blog posts, videos, case studies, podcasts, webinars, etc.
Additional Read: The customer renewal playbook
Build Community for your customers
A community serves as a center of knowledge and information exchange. Building one lets them interact with your other customers. They can engage within the community and learn from others on a variety of things.
Interacting with like-minded peers helps them to know your product better. It is the perfect way to show that you want to provide them with the best value that they can.
For example, you can build a FB group where your customers can share the best practices and any other important information related to your product.
Anticipate customer needs
Be proactive. Customer Success is all about being proactive in your approach to customers. Try to figure out what customers would need before they approach you with their problems.
Create and distribute ‘how-to’ guides for certain processes, if you think this would help. Get ahead of milestone events — such as renewals — by setting up alerts that trigger tasks/programs to prepare for the same.
At CustomerSuccessBox, CSMs rely on triggers and alerts sent by the tool to set up tasks. The tool auto-generates risk and upsell alerts to draw a success manager’s attention. For example- for upselling to relevant customers, its require to know all license utilization metrics. Knowing which account has high license usage is essential. The software does exactly that!
Collaborate with the Marketing team
Trust your marketing team when it comes to customer engagement. They are people with the expertise in engaging with the client across multiple touchpoints. This is done to create customer value and, as a result, brand value.
The team must continually prove value and commitment to their customers to retain them with the business. It makes sense to collaborate with them to leverage the customer journey to provide real value at each step.
Additional Resource: The ultimate guide to customer journeys
Marketing can help you in:
- Asking for testimonials
- Approaching best customers individually
- Providing with relevant content and information
- Hosting networking events
- Nurturing potential customers
- Conducting webinars, developing case studies.
Your job is made easy if your team knows when and whom to ask for expert help. The team understands the tech development in your niche. Thus, they know how the buyer interacts with brands. This knowledge is crucial to create, deliver and prove value to customers.
Share social proof
It is easy to demonstrate value if there’s evidence to it. If your customer got the desired value, then ask them to share their experience on social media. This supports your brand perception. Also, humanizing your product helps your company to stand out among the crowd. It encourages meaningful and long-term relationships that can last a lifetime.
There are multiple ways to provide social proof, such as:
- Sharing testimonials on your social media pages.
- Share product feature updates.
- Sharing news relevant to your customers.
- Contributing guest blogs on other websites in your niche.
Posting photos and videos of people using your products on your website and social media pages will help in providing a lot of boost to your business.
Gather and apply feedback
Feedback is the best way to gauge if customers are liking your product or not. Ask for it proactively. Keep the collated feedback in your database and refer to it as and when required. Complaints raised or suggestions given should be incorporated into the process. This will improve the overall customer experience. Improved customer experience will lead to enhanced customer value.
Make sure that you go back and let your customers know that the feedback has been duly considered. Let them know that meaningful changes have been done accordingly. This will prove that you want the best for your customers.
NPS (Net Promoter Score) is one of the best ways to collate customer feedback. A one-line question can help you know customers’ love for your brand better. Based on responses you can figure out if your customer is getting the desired value or not.
Provide an amazing customer experience
An amazing customer experience leads to great customer value. Studies have shown, that a positive customer experience is equally important as the product/service.
Also, a poor customer experience results in:
- “79% of the customers would take their business to a competitor within a week of experiencing poor customer service”.
- “51% of B2B companies avoid vendors after a poor customer service experience.” – Zendesk.
It makes absolutely no sense to not invest in customer experience. Customers, at each stage in their journey, would need outstanding customer service. Because, it translates, to you addressing all their pain points so they have a positive experience with your brand.
Final Thoughts on providing product value
Businesses, nowadays, that focus only on product features and price are unable to withstand competition. Notably, because they focus more on technology than the benefits that the product offers. Customers actually want to derive real value from the product. They want it to solve their problems.
You should focus on making them feel that they got benefits for which they paid. And that can be done by providing value to them. Understanding and applying the above-mentioned methods will help you in making your customers feel satisfied. Satisfied customers perceive value in your offerings and that means they’d be willing to pay more.