Why customers can't always see the value organisations provide
In 1998, Thomas Gilovich, Victoria Medvec and Kenneth Savitsky published their work on the Transparency Illusion in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (stay with me).
This phenomenon makes an individual overestimate how clear their mental processes and intentions are to others.
The Transparency Illusion is responsible for public-speaking embarrassment – you think others can see how nervous you are. It’s the inverse of the Bystander Effect, where people observing an incident don’t intervene because no-one specifically asked.
At Proto, we often get asked to help when prospects are not converting to sales. The Transparency Illusion shows up when we hear: “It’s obvious why we’re in business. It’s clear what we’re selling.”
Yet, translating information from inside the business mind to inside the customer mind doesn’t just happen. Not without manifest service elements.
Customer Value Propositions - the antidote to the Transparency Illusion
Our Human-centred Design Thinking starts upstream, embedding a business idea (the Core) inside an intentional, beautifully crafted Customer Value Proposition (the CVP). This then feeds CX Principles and intelligent Customer Journeys (as part of the overall CX).
Our complete CVP provides the missing elements in the following framework:
We are going to solve [this problem] for [these people] in [this way], unlike [our competitor who does this].
It feeds every single linguistic, audio-visual and experiential element that will show your customer what’s in your mind.
3 Ways to help articulate your Value Proposition
- Tell yourself – Why do you go to work? What are you trying to achieve for others? Which others are you helping?
- Tell other people – Articulate your Value Proposition. Test it. Find what makes no sense and ruthlessly hone it. Get your employees’ understanding. Run workshops to align the activities you already do with what your customer needs from you. Cull extraneous activity: it’s waste product.
- Tell your customers – Your employees will use the Value Proposition to create value points and fix service failures. They should be able to draw from a rich lexicon of words, images, scripts, actions and motivations to consciously manifest value. Your customer measurement should tell you ongoingly that your CVP is holding up.
If you are not sure specifically which ‘others’ you’re targeting, there are possibly no customers in your CVP. Do not pass Go. Pass directly to Insight and Ethnography. Build simple Personas to get out of jail.
Because value-add is a cycle: after developing your Value Proposition, you mobilise it as part of your strategy. Once you’ve fulfilled expectations with excellence, it’s critical to measure success (by closing employee and customer loops) - in order to adjust and hone your CVP and your offer. In a continuously evolving marketplace.
At Proto, we service-design for a living. We naturally start with our customer in mind. So to sidestep our own Transparency Illusion, we want to say:
- We seek clients who are determined to add value.
- Please invite us in to share best practice examples.
- And if we could pitch for your next CVP review, we’d be overjoyed.