You have cemented your product offering. You know what your service is, and who you’re selling to. So why are your sales stagnant? Why has your customer base stopped growing? If you’re noticing any of these issues, it might be time to consider what added value you could be offering your clients or customers.
Take a moment to consider your business and who your competitors are. Perhaps you’re offering a service or a product that is available via numerous other businesses? Or maybe you are operating in a saturated market where the options for customers are broad and the reasons for them to choose you, are marginal? No matter what the circumstances, it’s advisable to consider what you can be doing over and above your basic sell to keep your customers coming back to you, to grow your market share, and ultimately to build a successful business.
Here are seven ways in which you can offer added value to your customers to do just that:
- It’s all about your customers
You should know who your customers are by now. Who they are, what they need, and why your offering works for them. But don’t stop there. Think like your customers, keep asking questions as you work with them to make sure you’re continuing to meet their needs. Listen to feedback and take in on board. Respond, engage, really engage and make sure you do it all on a reasonable timescale. Digging deep into each of your customers segments and really understanding what value they need will allow you to improve your customer care and to show your buyers how important they are to you.
- Increase convenience and speed
As the pace of life increases, customers are looking for solutions and if they’re faced with two similar options, time and time again they will choose the one that is quickly available and the most convenient to them. To compete in that respect it may mean that you have to improve your delivery times, or perhaps it means making your customer service number available during the evenings. Whatever is relevant to your product or service, it pays to build in the quickest and most convenient routes for your customers.
- Put quality ahead of price
When a market is saturated, it’s advisable to work on the quality of your offering over everything else. Yes price can sway customers in particular on a first purchase or engagement with your service, but if the quality is not sufficient, you will have lost the chance of repeat business and negative word of mouth can be incredibly damaging. Consider what you can do to improve the quality of your offering – whether it’s using local, organic ingredients, improving the packing you ship in, or training your customer service providers to a higher level. Everything counts.
- Consider free resources
Offering something for free is always a compelling inducement for customers. Depending on your product or service, think about what that could be for you. Is it a free coffee machine in your showroom? Free tutorials to your members? Paper with the printer your customer just purchased? Or perhaps online content and graphics that can be shared? There is value in so much of what we do and much of it doesn’t need to hit our bottom line so taking time to consider what it is we can give to our customers to make them feel important is a win.
- Build a desirable membership
Many companies build loyalty schemes or memberships into their offering and it might be something that works for you. It can encourage customers to build up purchases for a free item every month, or a preview when it comes to the sale. It could offer clients early viewing of new properties or products, or allow customers to pay in a more flexible way. Whatever process suits your business, consider how to build a desirable membership that allows you to add value to your customers plus offers you the added bonus of building up your mailing list.
- Stand behind a cause
To be a business that customer want to support, it’s key that you too show support in the right ways. Choose a charity or cause that aligns with your brand and build it in to your business plan. You could consider donating a percentage of your profits each quarter or you could arrange for your team to commit some hours of charity work to a local project. There are many ways of supporting local or international causes and setting yourself a goal that is tangible can speak very highly to your customer and clients plus allows you to build a business while giving back to something bigger.
- Plan discounts carefully
The idea of offering added value is often understood as giving discounts. As we’ve shown, it doesn’t always have to be the case but if you do want to consider offering a reduction on your products or services, do so wisely. Look at volumes and profit margins and consider how much you have to sell at what price to be able to offer something notable to your customers while still covering yourself financially. Plan your discounts in advance, try not to do them in a reaction to a bad trading month but instead build them in to your projections. Schedule a discount at certain times of the year, solicit interest from your customers and work building an appetite for it when it does happen.
Choice can be crippling in every aspect of life and it’s no different when it comes to your buying power. Every customer makes a choice daily as to which products and service they choose to engage with and invest in. When you’re growing your business, offering something extra to your customers is a way to mark yourselves out from your competitors for the short term and to build essential customer loyalty in the long term.
Whatever your business idea, whether it’s just something you’ve been mulling over or whether you’ve taken some steps on the entrepreneurial path already, we’d love to help. Read some of our Go For It Success Stories and get in touch. Our business experts will be delighted to hear from you and to talk you through everything you might need to know to move forward with your business concept