Does the value your customers get from their relationship with your business grow over time? This is one of the killer questions for businesses who want to build a strong value proposition and walk-the-walk of being ‘customer-centered.’ Does the value to the customer – what they get from the relationship – become more valuable over time such that their level of satisfaction increases and they are more likely to remain customers.
The value I get from my bank is the same today as when I became a customer three years ago. The value I get from my mobile provider is equally flat. Oddly, the value I get from my cable provider, one of the most maligned service provider categories, has grown as they have added on demand services, mobile access, download capabilities, new channels, better tablet interfaces and the “killer app” – wifi access via their network in many, many offbeat locations.
Look at many disruptive contenders, and you will see them focus on making something that has been difficult for far too long, simpler.
Oscar, the NYC health care insurer, has re-imagined health insurance as a simple service with clean Web interfaces and a deliberate mobile experience.
Zillow, the real estate research tool, dramatically simplified what could be gleaned from the several hundred MLS systems available to real estate professionals.
23andMe, the DNA analysis-in-a-box, simplified the process of submitting DNA and then reporting genetic information to consumers.
There is a lot of complexity out there waiting to be simplified. Certainly the awkward Web interfaces, layers of forms, many step processes of health insurance, property insurance, credit card accounts will all benefit as established players and new contenders work to just make it easier and less complex. Amazon has clearly done that with retail. Their model of a grocery store aims to reduce friction and deliver functional simplicity in a big way.
Disruption Focused on More Value
Simplicity is good. By itself, it can boost retention numbers as customers reward providers who make their customer transactions easier and easier. Many clicks to one click. One click to no clicks (“Alexa, order the new Robert Cialdini book, Presuasion….”).
Brands with a service relationship should also rethink how they can deliver increasing value over time to their customers. Personal banks are a prime example. I receive no additional value from my bank today than I first received when joined.
Their online experience is terrible. That means their simple attempts to become my bill paying-hub go nowhere as they do not seem to understand that I am judging that experience against the one I have with Amazon, not the other banks providing sub-optimal digital experiences.
Now, think about your insurance carrier or independent agent, your cell service provider, your dry cleaner, your favorite department store. What are any of them doing to make being a customer grow in value over time? A common answer is some type of affinity card whether that’s a 10-cup get-one-free offer from your local coffee shop to more sophisticated point offers. These are ok but often mismanaged. I have an affinity card with a local restaurant chain. I have no idea what points are good for or how I might ever redeem them for something valuable.
Other brands are succeeding at adding value:
- CVS Health added Minute Clinics as well as a store-wide discount system for loyal customers
- Uber will deliver takeout meals to customers thus expanding the value of being a regular Uber customer
- Xfinity has added Xfinity Home Security to rightly leverage their connectivity services and do more for their customers.