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How To Create Value For Clients

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Executive Summary.
The three key areas to focus on are;
  1. Service
  2. Domain Expertise
  3. Industry Knowledge

pic_andrewMost products in today’s hi-tech world, irrespective of niche or who makes them perform very similar functions. Hence, many commodity products at similar pricing allowing for little or no meaningful differentiation. So how do you and your colleagues create the value that clients crave and are, in most instances, very happy to pay for? It’s not that difficult to do, but does require an investment in time to innovate in those areas which do allow for competitive advantage, from a clients’ perspective.

In having undertaken in excess of 140 client interventions in the last ten years, to find out what these value areas are, it is interesting to note that the same areas arise irrespective of country or industry. And as you will have guessed it’s got very little to do with the product.

Rather it’s all about three areas;

  1. Service
  2. Domain Expertise
  3. Industry Knowledge

 

Service

The most important of the three. In short, is your organisation able to deliver what it says it will? This includes basics such as meeting deadlines, delivering the correct configurations and components required delivery to the correct address and much more. It astounds me how bad most organisations are in delivering on their own commitments. Worse still and this is a sacrilege, many don’t let their clients know of possible problems. Only when the client calls do they understand that there are delays. This has a huge negative impact on Trust. In fact get this aspect wrong frequently enough and you may find that you are booted. Not because you missed commitments. But rather in not communicating, all Trust is broken.

Domain Expertise

With the increasing complexity of products, the understanding of how to implement and manage them is causing many companies’ stress levels to rise, as they just don’t possess the skill sets, nor are they readily able to invest in them. Who better then to assist then the technical support and service teams who developed them. Yet many companies frown on doing so, as these are their human resources and committed to on-going R&D for themselves. Pretty short sighted approach, as if clients aren’t able to get the RoI on these products, they won’t be that interested in buying from that supplier again. Also, suppliers lose vital insights and inputs from clients by not allowing open collaboration that would benefit both companies.

Industry Knowledge

By working in a specific industry or sector, organisations build a wide, yet valuable insight into what is happening in a particular sector and what other role players are doing. Government legislation can be cumbersome and not simple to understand. Agencies that enforce various rules and legislation are a further hurdle that need to be overcome. These and other areas of industry knowledge allow organisations to add considerable value to clients by being in a position to sometimes advise or collaborate in ‘making things happen’. This is an often underutilised ‘value’ offering that organisations could benefit from.

 

Andrew Clare is Managing Partner of reLiance a business to business relationship marketing practice. I focus on improving client profitability through developing, implementing and measuring sustainable, collaborative business to business relationships.

Cell: +27 83 326 2451, E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Web: www.rassa.co.za, LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/andrewclare

 

Contact Details

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email andrewc@rassa.co.za

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