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Andrew discusses the idea of delivering customers something unexpected and remarkable in addition to the standard fare, and the effects that might have on word of mouth marketing.Wednesday, April 13th, 2011
I’ve been discussing the idea of “added value” a lot with friends and colleagues recently. It’s something I feel very strongly about, and yet I always find it difficult to explain exactly what I mean by the term. I thought putting it in a blog post might help articulate my thoughts.
Added value is something that, unless it was present, you wouldn’t notice it was missing. That’s what the “added” part is about. It’s additional. It’s unexpected. It’s going the extra mile. But when you receive something with added value, boy does it make a difference!
No one ever talks about ‘ok’ service. An average experience doesn’t affect someone sufficiently to make them fire up the laptop and write a review. To make people talk, you need to deliver something different to standard fare, whether that’s good or bad.
“Word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool you have at your disposal”
Giving the customer something extra leads to more recommendations. Word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool you have at your disposal, and you have the power to ensure those words are positive rather than negative.
It used to be that added value was the chocolate on the hotel pillow. But once something’s been done often enough, it becomes expected. You’d be disappointed nowadays to walk into your hotel room and not find a little treat wrapped in gold foil and perched upon your pillow. So how do we keep it fresh? As expectations rise, we must be ready to evolve.
I remember visitingÂ Green’s Pizza on the Lisburn Road one day based on “hearing good things”. The service was average, the food no better or worse than any other pizza place in town, and the price seemed about right. So where was the added value? What was going to make me recommend Green’s Pizza over Pizza Express or Little Wing or anywhere else?
When the bill came I had my token of added value. No, they hadn’t forgotten to charge me for the drinks, nor had they knocked 10% off the bill for the long wait. But instead of throwing a couple of sticky white mints on top of my receipt (as seems to be the norm these days), they handed out an individual Cadbury’s Fudge bar to each diner.
Fantastic. It was a talking point. I left the restaurant with a smile on my face, enjoying the fudge and raving about the genius of the idea.
My experience with Green’s Pizza taught me something – added value doesn’t have to be expensive. It doesn’t have to stretch you beyond your limits. The Cadbury’s Fudge bars didn’t cost them that much. They won’t have been hard to source. They didn’t have to brand them, or put them in little gift bags. They just did something different.
“Today, the one sure way to fail is to be boring. Your one chance for success is to be remarkable.” – Seth Godin
Seth Godin talks about “being remarkable” in his book The Purple Cow. He states “Today, the one sure way to fail is to be boring. Your one chance for success is to be remarkable.”
What are you doing to provided added value to your customers? In what way are you remarkable? What simple thing can you do that will pleasantly surprise your customers, and encourage them to return to you?
Andrew heads up creative direction at SOLID, managing projects and taking a hands on approach to client consultations and design decisions. Follow Andrew on twitter.
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