Value matters. Many companies say they want to deliver value to customers. We also hear tech executives say that they want to deliver value to their stakeholders and organizations.

But you can’t deliver value — whether as an organization or as a tech leader. That’s because value for customers is: 

  • A customer’s perception in use … not inherent to any product or service. Whether the customer is an end customer, an employee, a business stakeholder, or a partner, your products or services only have value if they help customers achieve a goal.
  • Co-created in value networks … not just between one firm and its customer. As customers pursue a goal, they interact with companies, associations, friends, and family. That’s their value network. Each interaction in that value network contributes to value creation or destruction. Your company is only one part of the story. 
  • Shaped by customers … not delivered to passive customers.Value doesn’t get “manufactured” like a box of cereal. Instead, customers play a vital role in value creation.

Take trying to get healthier as an example:

  • Any medication you take doesn’t inherently deliver value; you get value when it’s the right medication and when you take it at the right time in the correct dosage.
  • A doctor alone can’t make you healthy. It may take insurance companies, pharmacies, other healthcare providers, pharma firms, friends and family, support groups, diagnostic labs, etc. That’s your value network.
  • Your actions and thoughts as a patient matter: If you hide symptoms or forget to take your medication, you won’t get better.

To become customer obsessed, you must recognize that customers are the heroes of the story. What part you play in that story — an extra, a supporting actor, or even a costar — is up to you. And it’ll affect your organization’s ability to grow! 

Be More Than An Extra: Earn Your Place In Customers’ Value Networks

How can you be more than a replaceable “extra” in your customer’s story? You must help customers to gain more value from you than they might get from your competitors. That means you need to optimize and align your customer experience, marketing, and digital efforts to create impact. And you need a tech organization that’s future fit and can support these efforts by being creative, adaptive, and resilient. 

Become A Supporting Actor Or Costar: Facilitate Value Creation In Customers’ Value Networks 

Being a supporting actor or costar means taking a more active role by helping customers coordinate value creation across their value network. For example, Singapore’s DBS Bank facilitates value creation around the goal of buying or selling a car. The DBS-provided interface gives customers access to two car marketplaces, coordinating test drives, document exchanges, financing, and more. This requires understanding where customers struggle in their value network and also deciding how to show up for them. What you can do depends on your organization’s capabilities and strengths — and tech plays a vital role.

Want to learn more? I’ll be speaking at Forrester’s Technology & Innovation EMEA this October on “Technology’s Role In Driving The Customer-Obsessed Growth Engine.” Join me and my Forrester colleagues to hear more, ask questions, and share your own experiences.