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A Ridiculous Question with Embarassing Results: What’s the Value?

| On 24, Feb 2012

Lynda CurtinI imagine there are some people at Verizon, Netflix, and Bank of America who are surprised and embarrassed by the enraged consumer responses to the new fees they recently rolled out. Imagine how awful it must be make a decision, implement it, and then watch it implode very publicly, very quickly. That’s exactly what happened with these three companies. They implemented new service fees that didn’t add any new service value for consumers. Guess what? They had to cancel the new fees. I don’t think this is what is meant by VOE–Voice of the Customer.

Here’s what I think happened–my speculation. Employees are overworked. Many are in a rush to get everything done. There’s no time to think–just act. They’re good people. Their intention isn’t to create problems. They’re on a project team tasked with generating more revenue. Obvious ideas are generated first–let’s charge for existing services, let’s add a new service fee for …, let’s break apart our service and raise the price … You get it. Rush. Yes, let’s do that. Just like that. Where is the thinking about value? It’s weak at best–only from the view of the company.

No wonder these three companies found themselves rescinding their new service fees. Someone likely asked “What’s the value?” It’s a big question. Where would you direct your thinking attention if left to the top-of-your head to come up with answers?

Try this approach next time you’re asked “What’s the value?” Use de Bono Thinking Systems Six Value Medals Checklist– Values can be positive or negative. Look for both. The objective is to make a value based decision or assessment that is balanced.

Six Value Medals Checklist

Gold: Human Values. How will people be affected? How will the values of these people be affected?

Silver: Organizational Values. How will this help the organization achieve its intended purpose? How will this improve the organization’s operations?

Steel: Quality Values. What are the quality values here? How will these values help us improve the quality of what we are doing?

Glass: Creativity, Change, Innovation, Entrepreneurship Values. How does this help us to foster creativity and innovation in our organization’s environment? What changes in products, services, or internal processes could we try out?

Wood: Environmental Values. Who or what outside the organization might be affected by this? What will the effect be?

Brass: Appearances, Reputation, Perception, Image Values. How will this look? What might be the different perceptions?

The search for value is deliberate. The checklist above is intended to provide you with thinking directions to search for value. Your thinking will be thorough and more complete. Instead of asking “What’s the value?” ask “What’s next on our values checklist?” You’ll be glad you did. You’ll uncover new value to help you sell your solution!

Until next time …