Perceived and Tangible Value in Business
In business we are always exchanging money for a product or service. We exchange money for things that we value, be it a meal, a car, or a service such as a facial. These are examples of ‘tangible value’.
There are hard costs associated with pricing your product or service. You take into account items such as ingredients, overhead, price of materials, staffing, etc.
Of course, you need to know what your costs are when you determine your pricing. But there’s something more to take into consideration. There’s something that adds great value to the exchange.
If you’re only taking into account the costs associated with your product or service then you are missing a vital part of your pricing strategy. That’s where perceived value plays an important role.
What is perceived value? Perceived value has to do with what your customer THINKS your product, service, or business is worth.
Most of the time businesses communicate perceived value and they’re not even aware. It isn’t something that owners and/or managers think about or train.
It’s not smoke and mirrors, slight of hand, or being a Sneaky Pete. It’s a real thing and you can improve it to benefit your business, employees, and customers!
When your staff does understand the power behind perceived value and how they can improve, when you become aware of the potential results and benefits, your staff become more of a cohesive team and your business benefits greatly!
Perceived Value Example
Let’s look at a football team (I profess to know very little about the sport).
A football team has many players and they specialize in different areas. They have unique positions, skills and talents. (Just like your employees.) The football team does many things in unison. On purpose. For a reason.
The team runs out together on the field, they warm up in unison, run plays, and while there are different shapes and sizes of players, they have a team uniform.
These things nonverbally communicate to the other team is that they’ve:
- run their plays
- done their homework
- they are prepared to win
They present a united front.
The team does not come out to the field and state verbally: We’re prepared, look at how we warm up together. Look at our uniforms. This represents how much time we spend together and we can anticipate one another’s needs.
They do nothing of the sort. It’s ALL nonverbal.
You are perceiving value from the unspoken.
If you were on the opposing team and saw your competition entering the field in small groups, some running, some walking, some dressed in the same uniform, others in street clothes, part of them jogging around while the others went to the bench, what would your perception be regarding their level of professionalism or preparedness?
So, how does this relate to your business, your employees, and your customer relations?
Perception Checking & Your Business
We communicate perceived value all of the time and are unaware. We can easily tweak things that increase our company’s value in the eyes of our customer and in the eyes of our employees. It’s a definite win!
Here are some examples.
- How professional your website looks
- Photo quality
- Branding colors, logos, etc.
- How we carry ourselves
- Product presentation
- Cleanliness of business
- The way we speak
- How we write
- The words we use
- What we say when we answer the phone
- Email signatures
These are just some of the areas that your business communicates to your customer perceived value (or not).
Perceived value is not only communicated visually, through our eyes. It’s communicated auditorily as well.
Perception Checking from Your Customer’s POV
Let’s take answering the phone as an example of how your customer perceives the value of your business. I’ll be your customer.
I called your business three different times and am greeted three different ways. This does not communicate to me that there’s cohesion in the business. It does not give me confidence that staff is on the same page. I do not have confidence that if I have a problem that people are talking to one another.
It does communicate to me non-verbally that I’ll probably have to repeat myself each time I call. What’s worse than calling a company three different times and having to give the same information to three different people, telling your story over and over again?
If I were to call your business and your employee answered,
I feel like a hanging Chad. I would be wondering if I’ve even called a place of business or if I mistakenly dialed someone’s home.
If I called and the person said,
“Hello, may I help you?”
This is a step in the right direction. The employee has communicated that they are wanting to be of service.
If I called and the employee said,
“Thank you for calling company ABC, this is Jon, how may I help you today?”
My impression is that I’m dealing someone whose been trained to help, that the company values service, that the person on the other end of the phone is capable of helping me.
If I call three different times and I received the three different greetings above, this is not communicating to me that this company is “with it”, that they are a team, or that I will be known and valued as a customer (unless I get Jon). If they haven’t been trained regarding a simple thing like answering the phone in a similar manner, I’m assuming that they don’t communicate internally about my preferences as a customer, my loyalty, spending habits, my food allergies, etc. etc.
Perception Checking Customer POV – Photos
Staff photos. While they don’t have to be carbon copies of one another, if there’s a basic theme, design element, lighting, or setting, it communicates that you have your shit together.
You can hire a professional to create cohesion or you can take selfies. Either way, take them from approximately the same distance, using the same lighting, background, etc. The point is to look like a team.
If one staff member has a selfie, the second has a blurry photo, and the third was obviously taken by a professional, this does not increase my perceived value of your company. It’s communicating something, that’s for sure. . .
Checking Your Businesses Perception
When we can become skilled at understanding what we are communicating to our customer regarding perceived value, we raise the bar. We excel to the next level of professionalism and are then able to add so much more value to the customers experience.
In turn, your business is able to charge for that value. As a result you can pay staff more, give bonuses, incentives, donate to your favorite charity or cause, pass along perks to your customers, even add more to your own savings and investment accounts.
I love helping businesses with this game changer. For a consult, shoot me an email at email@example.com. I can quickly perform a ‘Customer Perception Audit’ for you and you can go to town!
Samantha works with business owners helping to ‘tame the overwhelm’, assisting with customer acquisition & retention, employee training & retention, and honing your customer experience so it kicks butt.
She conducts workshops and training in hospitality, customer experience, and creating a culture in the workplace that inspires and motivates employees and customers.
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