Where’s the Added Value?

Knock on the door.. ”Window Cleaner!” he announces, without any prelude or nicety.

Caught somewhat off guard as my mind had been buried deep into a piece of work, I replied in an equally perfunctory way, “Sure- yes- crack on.. Thank you”

I smiled to myself at his brusqueness, glanced at the time and sat down to pick up where I had left off.

Outside I heard the noise of the water pump that the cleaner had fitted into the back of his van and a few minutes later the outside of the house became deluged with a torrent of water.

The noise continued and then all went quiet.

Knock, knock..

“Finished Guv- £20 please – want a receipt?”

Now I reckon I’m pretty good at job costing, with an appreciation of time, effort, direct and indirect costs but I didn’t need a calculator to work out that the cleaner had just charged me £80 hour.

I have no problem with paying for hard graft, time, expertise and I recognise the investment made by the entrepreneurial window cleaner in his pump but for whose benefit?

I acknowledge I didn’t have to pay for the water or the fuel to drive the pump, wear and tear, depreciation on the van or perhaps even liability insurance, but I was irked.

I have the same problem with the Electricity Company telling me how beneficial a smart meter is for my house – no, it’s not for me, it is for you, the Electricity Company- no meter reader costs, reduced billing cycle, accounting accuracy and so on; that’s not win-win.

“Fit our smart meter and we will give you £100 off your next quarter’s bill” – now that’s added value or rather shared value.

A Customer is only a Customer when they come back, in my book and a Customer buys from me because they receive benefit or added value.

So this morning’s thought is “What is it that we do, that is good (of value) for my Customers and what is of value for me? should we share our benefit or just harvest it?

Perhaps worthwhile to put a slot in the diary to have a think about your business’ value chain?

About Michael Carr

Specialising in Strategy, Systems and Organisational Design I've had a varied and rewarding career and been fortunate to work for some superb companies such as Courtaulds, Unipart International, Akzo Nobel and more recently Jaguar Landrover, all luminaries of a solid, disciplined and a conservative, though never lacking in innovation, approach to business management and development. Augmenting my career with studying for my MBA at Warwick in the early 90's has given me a balanced and I believe rich resource set to draw upon in my Consultancy Practice. My Clients have been good to me, tolerating my idiosyncrasies, giving me enough rope to go along the journey that I was taking them and hopefully in return I've been able to repay them by raising the bar and their business performance, giving them the results and achievements they were looking for. I really enjoy my work and love the challenge - isn't that what it's all about?
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