Even in business-to-business transactions, people buy emotionally and justify intellectually. The difficultly with measuring customer value is that there are many intangible elements of a product or service which add value for the buyer. These “Psychological Value Drivers” are generally related to the company’s brand image – for example a track record of reliability, on-time delivery, a reputation for quality, good service back-up, a prestige image, and so on. The risks the buyer takes in purchasing from a supplier also has an impact on perceived value.
One approach that can be useful in surfacing intangible value drivers is that of “mapping” the customer experience. Customer value is not just about the features and benefits of a product or service, it also encompasses the entire set of experiences that the organisation causes its customers to have. Thus, every time a customer interacts with an organisation he or she gains an impression of the business, and these customer experiences combine to produce the “image” that the business projects to its customers. Every contact a customer has with a company’s sales staff; with customer services or order entry; with delivery or maintenance staff; with engineers or quality assurance; or any other interaction, then an impression is left behind – positive, negative or neutral. Over time these impressions build into an “image” of the business – its reputation in the market.
What experience do members of this group have of trying to quantify, or at least understand, intangible “Psychological Value Drivers”; or of mapping the customer experience as a way to assessing the intangible elements of customer value ?
Any thoughts for Ross?