What is adding value?

Tony Hsieh, founder of the online store Zappos.com, famously said: “Customer service shouldn’t just be a department; it should be the entire company.”

We may all nod and agree, in theory. But in real life, it’s quite easy to keep busy without spending much thought on what really creates value for customers. Honestly: How much of your workday do you in fact spend thinking about customers and creating real value?

Sometimes feeling busy gives a wonderful feeling of progress. This might not necessarily be true. It is not the activity that matters, it is the outcome.

I can relate to this personally. I once took out my calendar and looked at the previous four weeks. I used a red marker to highlight what I considered “non-value adding” and a green to mark what had added value. The result wasn’t great. There were a lot of meetings and activities that felt important at the time, but in hindsight clearly didn’t add value to what we were trying to achieve.

We are all customers, and we all have positive and negative experiences. Sometimes there is a wow factor, where everything works seamlessly and flawlessly. The process is efficient, and you are seen and recognized as important. Perhaps you get better advice than you were expecting, and the total experience drives you back for more shopping. In my mind, you can get this experience both in ordinary physical shops and online.

Perhaps you get better advice than you were expecting, and the total experience drives you back for more shopping.

However, this isn’t always the case, and I guess there is no need to bring out a lot of examples. Personally, I am having an issue with my cable provider, and I have had a few negative experiences with at least one logistics company. I would guess that you have your own top 10 list….

My point today is that we as a company need to be much closer to the customer experience. We need to be obsessed with understanding what creates a good experience where customers are offered solutions, features and support that not only deals with the problem at hand efficiently, but also offer something more.

At Kredinor we have done a few things lately to really understand if our customer journey is what it should be. We have asked our customers for feedback, and we are identifying where there is a glitch in the process. We monitor where customers typically drop-off or struggle to move on in the process. Our target is to move from “activity” to “progress” and ensure a positive outcome as quickly as possible.

We have also spent some time to really understand what it means to put the best interests of our customers first. This is related to the root cause of the problem that the customers are trying to resolve. If you are trying to pay defaulted debt, the issue is to do so as quickly as possible and to the lowest possible cost. This challenge is very relevant for a lot of people, and we as a company can make a meaningful impact. Hence, we need to focus on the outcome and remove all the things that aren’t adding value.

We are striving to create win-win-win situations. By helping customers make it by reducing the time spent being in arrears and reducing the costs to repay defaulted debt, we are also supporting our clients and society at large. Part of our job is to make sure all interests are aligned and to add real value for all.


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