Understanding and delivering customer value are key components in the success of any brand, and marketing plays a large part in the delivery of value.
What Is Customer Value?
There are many interpretations of what customer value actually is. One of the most commonly sited definitions is from Woodruff (1997) who defines customer value as “a customer perceived preference for and evaluation of those products attributes, attribute performances, and consequences arising from use that facilitate (or block) achieving the customer’s goals and purposes in use situations”.
Another interpretation of customer value is that is encompasses low price, desire for aspects of the product or service and ratio of quality to price (Zeithaml, 1988).
With new technologies and communications channels now available, the digital world has opened up fresh ways to both understand and deliver value to the customer.
The various online and offline channels available to marketers provide a useful tool in the delivery of value to customers. Considering Woodruff’s definition of customer value places the customer in control, to a certain extent, of the value they perceive, then cross channel communications can be a powerful influence.
A marketing campaign with the core message being how the product offers customer ‘value’, reaching customers not once but on several occasions across a multitude of different media channels, can reinforce the perception of value in the customer’s eyes.
The way organisations deliver customer service is altering, as the digital shift makes for more instantaneous and accessible forms of communication between the customer and the brand.
Digital channels such as ‘live online chat’ and social media have become the go to options for customers looking to receive answers and solutions fast. Because the latter option is a very public and volatile communication channel, it can work both in a brand’s favour and against them.
Using social media to publically demonstrate excellent customer service, even when handling the most difficult of queries, is a great way to reinforce value in the customer’s eyes. It allows customers to view the customer service process even without needing to use it themselves at present. If the brand is offering a good customer service experience, this reinforces the value of choosing this brand for future purchases.
Improved Understanding Of Customer Needs
The digital landscape is a mine of information on your customers just waiting to be tapped.
Monitoring your customer’s activity across various online channels can help you to get a better understanding of what they desire and how they perceive value.
Online channels can include social media, blogs, forums, etc, dependant on who your customers are and where they interact online. You can use these channels to get a candid glimpse into the daily life of your customer, their interests and beliefs, and what they value in the products/services they purchase.
Forums and social media are often filled with reviews, both good and bad, and recommendations for organisations and their products/services. Monitoring this information will allow you to discern patterns in why people are choosing particular products/services in your industry and why they are recurrently criticising others. Blogs are also a way to view the products/services through the customer’s eyes, via reviews and comments.
The digital landscape opens up innovative opportunities for both understanding and delivering value to customers. By learning more about the customer and their perception of value, and using this to create more targeted marketing campaigns, the delivery of customer value can be improved in the digital world.
Would you like to learn more about delivering customer value? All this and more is covered in the new syllabus for the CIM Certificate in Professional Marketing.
It rolled out in September 2014, and we are now taking enrolments so you can begin working your way towards gaining your Certificate. For more information call Oxford College of Marketing on (0)1865 515 255 or email Dave Charlton on firstname.lastname@example.org.