By Robin Higgons
Janus, the Roman God of beginnings and transitions, is usually depicted as having two faces since he looks to the future and to the past. In many ways this reminds me of the role of Customer Service and Support (CSS) within a product company, helping support a product from its inception, through birth and life, to its timely or untimely demise.
To meet this challenge, CSS needs to deliver a range of activities, from fix-it, through improved productivity, to reduced through-life cost. And this is where the schizophrenia comes in, for each has a very different value to the customer.
On one end of the value range you have service contracts, which is like selling insurance (something might go wrong so protection is needed) and this often has low value in the customers’ eyes. You might even say that it is negative marketing because it highlights the potential unreliability of the product.
At the other end, upgrades, training for new operators, performance optimisation for increased productivity, and reduced through-life costs all add significant value to customers.
So, creating a value proposition for Customer Service & Support in a product company is a wonderful exercise in exploring different aspects of value and how they change over time, all for the same product group. Trying to get your head around this
complex situation is great practice for creating incisive value propositions for other products, as long as you achieve the requirements of brevity, clarity, and empathy. Don’t fall into the trap of making it complicated; a good value proposition is always simple.