The Satisfaction Formula – Value

In this post, co-author Dave Sweet explores the importance of VALUE in customer engagement.

For our purposes, there are two ways to look at the word value. The first has to do with how you view and treat people (to regard or esteem highly) while the second one has to do with your product or service (monetary or material worth, as in commerce or trade). Both definitions tie into how we use and understand the word value: relative worth, merit, or importance. It’s safe to say that truly it all boils down to worth. If you value someone, you view them as worthy. If your product or service is of value, it is worthy of the money spent.

Let’s start by looking at that first use. You need to value your customers, your employees, and your stakeholders. Are you valuing your customers as humans? Are you valuing the business they bring to you? Are you valuing their time, money, and energy? This all goes back to respect. You could go back to all three of those questions and replace “valuing” with “respecting.” If you can hone your ability to truly respect your customers, you’ll be valuing them too. And vice versa.

With your employees, value also ties to empowerment, as we’ll discuss in more detail shortly. Empowering your employees only comes when you respect them, which means you value them. You can’t have one without the other. And the other, and the other. It’s a cycle – and a good one, at that.

So, let’s talk about the other side of the “value” coin: providing good value. What do the goods and/or services that you render provide that is of value? How do you determine what even constitutes “of value?” Have you heard of a “cost-benefit analysis (CBA)?” It’s a systematic, technical approach to evaluating whether an investment, decision, or purchase is worth it. Typically, business investors will perform these CBAs before deciding whether or not to give a company money. It’s what the “sharks” are doing on Shark Tank while speaking with the pitching entrepreneurs. And, whether they know it or not, it’s what customers and clients do with your business, too.

When I went to school at THE Ohio State University, we were taught in marketing classes that there were 4 Ps of marketing: product, price, place, and promotion. Over the years, as we’ve worked with all kinds of companies and businesses and people trying to “sell things,” we would contend that two more Ps need to be added to the conversation: people and processes. In other words, you can have a great product, it could be available at a great price, and it could be marketed from the right place with really cool promotions. However, if there aren’t great people in place (who know all about your product, price, place, and promotion) and if there aren’t processes that have been taught to those people to make sure the customer experience is fully delivered, those first 4 Ps can completely fall to the wayside. It takes all six of them. (And honestly, we’d say the most important element of all of these comes down to people. People make the difference.)

Little things can make a big difference. Put all six of these things together, and they cover a multitude of what you need for marketing, creating value in the customers’ eyes, and growing as a business. If you’re providing value and you’re valuing people, there’s a huge opportunity for engagement.

One of my favorite business writers, Tom Peters, introduced the concept of the “Two-cent Candy.” According to Peters, little things like two-cent candies at retail checkout counters can be thought of “as a symbol of all that is Excellent at that store.” Since learning about that notion, I’ve made it a point to always be on the lookout for the “little things” like the two-cent candy (and to always have two-cent mints available to our clients). 

Our chiropractor, Dr. Greg, has made it a point to always keep a bowl of Hershey’s Kisses on the front counter for his patients. Once, he removed the bowl for a while, and noticed that his referral rate actually dropped during that time period, only to have his referrals rise again once the candy bowl was replaced. The Hyatt Regency and Spa Lost Pines Resort outside Austin, Texas trains its staff to always open both doors for you when you are coming or going through their main entrance – a small gesture that gives a feeling of luxury and makes a big impression when you’re carrying a ton of materials or equipment. DoubleTree hotels offer warm, freshly baked cookies to guests upon check-in. At local Phoenix restaurant St. Francis, kids always eat free. The Parking Spot, a nationwide airport parking company, always offers customers a bottle of water and a USA Today for free.

All these things cost little-to-nothing in order to provide or do, but they have the potential to make serious lasting impressions on customers. They provide business owners with great value, the businesses then provide their customers with great value, and their customers feel valued – all thanks to these small gestures.

Sources:, “value”

Tom Peters, “The Case of the Two-cent Candy,” August 2006.

About the Author

Dave Sweet, President of Phoenix, AZ-based automätik is an alumnus of THE Ohio State University.  Dave began his professional career with Caterpillar and Ford Motor Co., and in 1990, he linked up with J.D. Power & Associates to serve as a consultant, facilitator, and instructional designer. His experience led him to start automätik, a company Dave and his wife Kathy have grown from a two-person consultancy into a full-service Tier One international training and events firm with a mission to eradicate boring training from the face of the Earth. For nearly three decades, automätik has helped some of the most prestigious consumer brands in the world elevate their internal training and corporate events, including Toyota, Jaguar Land Rover, BMW/MINI, Sub-Zero and Wolf, and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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Interested in learning more and purchasing the book? Check out The Satisfaction Formula’s website and come back next week to learn the importance of EMPOWERMENT!