Assessing the benefits of value added services.
Your competition is only a few simple clicks away from your customers – most of the time, less. What are you going to do about it?
One strategy for staying afloat in a global market is to provide a little something extra – or, even better, something your competition isn’t. In a nutshell, that’s the definition of Value Added Services (VAS). Despite how it might seem, it’s not as easy as simply giving away free stuff, it typically refers to something above and beyond the core product offering which your customer would find valuable.
It’s all about your customers
In general, value added services have two objectives: to entice an immediate sale and to have your customer remember your business upon their next purchase. For example, for a consumer whose battery is on its last legs – an auto parts store might offer to replace a battery (purchased at their store) for free – while the customer waits. As a consumer, that might tip the scales when compared to making an appointment with an auto mechanic, dropping the car off, getting a ride home, and then picking it up later. The next time that consumer needs auto parts they’ll probably buy them from that same vendor based on this favorable experience.
The better understanding a company has of their customers, the more effectively they’ll be able to implement a VAS plan.
Here is an interesting read on how one automotive coating company approached delivering value added services: 7 Keys to Making a Value-Added Service Work.
Does it work?
It is important to keep focused on what you are trying to accomplish when offering value added services. You want:
- To stand out. Anyone who’s shopped online is likely to agree: a product is seldom unique anymore. Offering additional services can establish a myriad of warm feelings in customers.
- To instill loyalty. They give companies an opportunity to impress their client base on multiple levels. For one, it makes them feel as if they’re getting a bargain. Secondly, we tend to like entities who express generosity in our direction. Thirdly, a mindful VAS plan can let customers know a company understands them. All the above contribute to generating customer loyalty.
- Increased opportunities. For some businesses, VAS’s allow their representatives more time with their clients, and, therefore able to discuss more opportunities. Furthermore, the increased personal time nurtures trust and loyalty.
Where to draw the line
Each company is going to have its own limitations based on variables such as staff, budgets, and time availability. However, that’s just the starting point. It’s important to think of it like a chess game – how’s your competition going to respond? Will your clients see the value? Does the cost/benefit analysis add up?
Ideally, keep VAS plans simple, inexpensive, and desirable. Those are the boundaries – knowing your customers and what they will find valuable will tell you how to fill in the gap.