How to build a great brand: Customer Value, Experience & Innovation
Some of the most successful brands in the world have college dropouts, garage start-ups, rags-to-riches stories. Harley Davidson, Disney, Nike, Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and WhatsApp, all had humble beginnings but they went on to becoming multi-billion-dollar global brands that customers absolutely love. This is one category — the chart-topping brands known to one and all.
And then there’s another category — small ones, known to only a handful of people, still with a single or two outlets in a city, somewhere in not so-posh surroundings, no family legacy as such, but do spectacular work, and have great brand stickiness and customer loyalty. I am reminded of a restaurant in Mumbai city. Not a hip name or sumptuous decor. Just great crowd across the spectrum — from families to friends and corporate groups and lost souls (read lonely bachelors), fully occupying the place, on weekends and weekdays alike. They have cracked what all big brands want to do in business: High brand affinity, repeat customers, and sheer word of mouth.
When I think further, I wonder what makes a few brands so successful? And I realize that these brands have certain things in common irrespective of their origin, products, audience, or size. The fundamental foundation on which these brands are built: Customer Value, Customer Experience, and Innovation.
Okay, let’s first look at the technical definition of Customer Value (CV). It is calculated based on the benefits perceived by the user minus the cost paid. Simply put, it means providing value/ benefits that exceed the price customer pays for your product/ service.
Here’s a simple formula for calculating Customer Value.
Customer Value = Benefits — Cost (CV = B-C)
Let me take an example from my restaurant experience once again here. Among other remarkable things, one thing that particularly caught my attention once, is their “You drink, we drive” service. That means, their trained chauffeurs will drive you home safely in your own vehicle if you aren’t in a position to.
It tells a lot about the customer-first mindset of the brand that creates more value for the customer. In this case, it means the customer doesn’t have to bother about leaving their car in the office on a weekend, taking a taxi to the party, a taxi again to reach home, a weekend without their own vehicle, and hiring a taxi to the office on Monday again.
Wonder how a simple, thoughtful service could add such great value?
At Maxicus, the way we add value to our customers is by not being their typical outsourcing partner for a call center job. We use a 360-degree, integrated digital strategy for hiring, onboarding, training, and workforce management to provide scale and flexibility to our clients. Moreover, our consulting-to-delivery model eliminates the need for multiple vendors for consulting, process re-engineering, technology and integrations, automation, and delivery.
We do not sign a contract unless we’re sure we can add value to our customer’s business. We begin by thinking about how we can challenge the status quo. Proof of that is how we added $30 mn of additional annual revenue for a Fortune 50 Brand that is one of the world’s largest electronics companies, in hardcore sales. Read the Case Study here.
(Read: Respect, Care, Trust)
Customer experience can be defined as a customer’s experience during the entire journey with the brand. It encompasses omnichannel customer service, product quality, marketing, and much more. But I particularly like to talk about a critical yet usually underplayed piece of the entire puzzle — Customer Service.
I spoke to a little over 30,000 customers at the beginning of my career at a call center. I think it is in that one year when I learned the true meaning of customer service.
“Customer service is much more than impeccable command over the language, voice & accent, or perfectly reading scripts for opening or closing the call. It is about human connection.”
It is an understanding that the customer is looking for more than a product or service. That a customer at Starbucks wants more than a cup of coffee, a customer at an electronics store is looking for more than a phone, and so on.
With the AI trend catching up, managers sometimes forget that in customer service, a well-defined strategy to infuse Human EQ is as important as implementing Machine IQ at various customer touchpoints.
The customer service at the restaurant I’ve quoted above is such that no matter which waiter attends you, you will not feel an iota of difference in warmth, respect, and eagerness to serve.
Our philosophy at Maxicus is that our clients’ are our second priority, and their customers are the first. This outlook takes care of everything. And I think with this philosophy, we’ve been able to scale from a small city in Amritsar with 2 people to 4000+ people today working from 5 different delivery centers spread across the country helping Fortune 500 companies as well as Unicorn startups.
I was probably 12 when I read this beautiful quote and it sounds more relevant than ever.
“If you’re not innovating, you are decaying.”
There are cases of Norwegians using Facebook groups as a platform to sell their produce directly which helped them to operate normally during the pandemic.
At the heart of innovation in today’s time is agility, which is the ability of brands to iterate, experiment, and fail fast to eventually succeed and stay relevant in the game.
One of the examples of innovation from the restaurant I’ve been talking about is their Corporate Meals (Tiffin) service, delicious food from the same restaurant, at an amazing price, delivered to your office on time.
Brands need to continually innovate to be able to stay relevant in business and delight their customers. At Maxicus, we started as small as 20 agents with some of the largest brands and grew as big as 30–40X in less than a year. It became possible because we kept innovating for our clients.
From building hardcore sales capability over the last 5 years to our digital hiring, training, and work from home platforms, we re-innovate ourselves every 3 years.
In the end, it’s all about customer value, experience & innovation
At the heart of everything is the customer. Apart from building great product and marketing teams, brands need to keep their focus on the customer. If that is done, other things will automatically fall in place.