I was reading an article titled “Thinking Strategically about Customer Experience: The 5 Components of Customer Value” by a blogger named Maz Iqbal. In it, he offers his equation for value:
             
Value = Benefit – Effort – Risk – Price +/- Treatment
 
In the article, he defines and explains the significance of each term in the equation. I won’t repeat those here although each is important and each term could serve as the theme for a separate write-up. The term that resonated with me was the last one, plus or minus treatment, because I had a real life example of that recently.
 
I was on a trip and while checking into the hotel, I checked the room rate they were going to charge me. It was higher than the rate I had been quoted when I made the reservation weeks earlier so I pointed out the discrepancy. I mentioned when I made the reservation that my AAA membership entitled me to a discount and that lowered the price. Instead of apologizing for the mix-up and acknowledging that the price on the registration should have matched the reservation quote, the clerk blamed me for not telling him about my AAA membership. So it was my fault the quotes were different because I didn’t give the same information to the same hotel twice when I shouldn’t have to.
 
In the grand scheme of things, it was minor and only concerned a  few dollars but it was the accusation that I had done something wrong and was at fault that became a negative. As a result my perceived value of staying in that hotel went down dramatically. Treatment is an emotional issue and when it’s positive, it can make up for a lot. But when it’s negative, it can overshadow many of the benefits the company works hard to deliver.
 
Some companies think of value as the sum of the benefits they deliver per dollar charged. Either more benefits or a lower price increases the value. But don’t forget the treatment factor. Even in a B2B transaction there are many opportunities to increase the value as the total customer experience with positive treatment.
 
Can you offer an example where a particularly positive treatment had a major impact on your perceived
value?

 


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