Firms must continuously strive to better understand and anticipate what their customers will value and then keep delivering it.
As Steve Jobs once said: “You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them.
To develop compelling customer value propositions, a supplier needs to keep in mind the following: For a complete view on the customer value creation strategies that managers, entrepreneurs, and leaders can implement to help distinguish themselves from competitors, Smith and Colgate (2007) provide a comprehensive framework.
However, the challenge for suppliers is not just recognizing what value to create or what the benefits are, but to operationalize customer-facing processes to deliver value to customers.
To be willing to pay, a customer must derive value from a market offer. The term may mean low price, receiving what is desired, receiving quality for what is paid, or receiving something in return for what is given (Zeithaml, 1988).
Table 1 synthesizes views from the extant literature pool on customer value creation and delivery; it shows how entrepreneurs can use their understanding of customer value to their advantage. The customer value delivery process As an example application of the concepts in Table 1, consider an entrepreneur that has developed a new user interface for a point-of-sales system that can be used in a coffee shop.
Although the entrepreneur might think that the software solution provides value to the customer (i.e., the coffee shop owner) in terms of cost or ease of use, the customer might consider the greatest point of value to be 24/7 technical support because the coffee shop is open overnight during examination periods on a university campus.
In this particular case, processes relating to the first and second row of Table 1 could be implemented by an entrepreneur and they could showcase the technical support plan as a point of value that would resonate with the customer; instead of focusing on advantages that other competitors could also potentially deliver.
Similarly, the third and fourth row of Table 1 could be used by entrepreneurs as a guideline to process customer value knowledge and anticipate changes in customer needs and improve existing value propositions.
Her research interests include open source businesses and customer value management.