There is a restaurant in my neighbourhood that has been around for almost 40 years. The menu isn’t fancy but ordering there will get you plenty of good, wholesome food that reminds me of home. The food is piled high on your plate leaving no doubt that your appetite is going to be satisfied. At the end of your meal, you are almost always offered a small desert at no cost. I always leave the restaurant knowing that I got my money’s worth.
As a result of the economic crisis created by the COVID-19 lockdown, the business environment has changed. Customers will be more demanding, in terms of quality, quantity, and customer service. As consumers may struggle financially, or as they become more financially prudent or constrained, their disposable income may decrease. They may, in turn, become much more conservative as it concerns spending.
The reality is that if your business is going to survive the next few years of economic constraints and downturn, you are going to have to passionately create value for your customers.
So, what is value and what does it mean to our customers?
Value is technically defined as something of importance, worth or usefulness. Each customer base is going to respond differently to value offerings. I know of businesses that are reaching out to customers right now during the lockdown just to check-in. For some people, this more personal relationship is what creates value with an establishment.
If you search for anything besides cleaning materials and toilet paper on the internet right now, chances are, it’s on sale. Companies are desperate for cash flow with their brick and mortar businesses being closed for weeks. They are offering deep discounts to entice customers. The problem with this model is that it is going to be a race to the bottom. Businesses are cutting their margins to sell a dollar. While there is a need for discounted prices, more than discounts, customers are looking for something valuable. Cutting margins to near nothing will speed up your own departure from the business landscape. Businesses cannot survive without making a profit, however small that profit is.
We need to consider what we can do for our customers that will help them save money and reduce their anxiety. When we provide products or services that do something more than their functional purpose, we create value. When we think about what it is our customers really need, we can specifically identify how we can reach them. When we are clear about what we do that is really valuable for our customers, we can focus on delivering that value each and every day.
Survival isn’t about doing more or scrambling to be busy. Survival is going to be figuring out how we can deliver value to our customers in a manner that ensures that we make money while we satisfy our customers. When times are tough, we need to creatively ensure that each and every one of our customers leave our business knowing that they got their money’s worth and then some.
Dave Fuller, MBA, is an Award-Winning Business Coach and the author of the book Profit Yourself Healthy. Unclear how you can add more value? Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.