IT Support and the Value Proposition
“THERE IS NO VALUE UNTIL THE CLIENT PERCEIVES THAT THERE IS VALUE”
In other words, value is in the eye of the beholder. All too often providers of IT support tend to miss this point and as a result, much time is spent chasing down processes that do not bring a perceived value to the client. That’s a shame because if whatever the activity is does not bring a tangible, quantifiable value to your customer, you have to seriously ask yourself why you are doing it at all.
So then that begs the question: What is value and how is it defined?
Everyone is experiencing the forces of commoditization – the pressure to continue to charge less and less is enormous and it doesn’t matter what business you are in; eventually your products and services become commoditized. Maybe not initially but eventually. In fact, there are two aspects to peoples’ mindsets when making buying decisions. One part of the mind focuses on getting the best price which is what ALWAYS occurs when buying items they view as common or undifferentiated (aka commodity). The other side of the coin is when the mind is willing to pay much more for a quality EXPERIENCE – one that is viewed as unique and/or special. It is, after all, common knowledge that product research is done with logic BUT the buying process is ALWAYS an emotional one.
The Value Proposition
Here’s a quick representation of what I’m talking about. Get it right by providing a unique experience and the world will beat a path to your door and pay 3x the going rate (think Apple). Get it wrong and you’re stuck with the rest of the commoditized low-ballers (think PCs). And no, I’m not an Apple fanboy but you have to appreciate the way they have managed to charge a ton of dough for what is sometimes an inferior product (sometimes, not always).
Commodity = $
Unique Experience – $$$$
In order to create value in the business of IT Support (and truthfully, all businesses) you need to provide certain elements:
Leadership provides direction. In the IT Support game, when we provide consultation to our clients that makes a difference to the outcome of their business, we provide direction. Direction helps our clients take advantage of technologies that can make companies more agile, more profitable, more competitive or maybe just provides them with a better way to provide leadership and direction to their own clients and prospects.
Strong relationships create the value-generating feeling of trust. Trust builds confidence, therefore a strong relationship creates confidence. Think about it, if you have a great relationship with your IT Support provider, you have the confidence that they will get the job done. Heck, even if they are having a rough go of it, the strength of relationship will carry them through (to a point). But, if for example you have a lousy relationship with your hairdresser (they’re always late, seemingly distracted or bored), how confident are you that you will end up with a great haircut? Strong relationships provide confidence, every time.
Creativity is the cornerstone of innovation. Innovation creates new capabilities. So by extension, creativity provides capability. When an IT Support company is creative with their solutions, that creativity is transformed into capability for the client. An expertly crafted and well-executed solution can pay huge dividends to the client by way of new and as yet unrealized profitability. When we as IT Support providers can create an environment conducive to innovation, a great value is perceived.
Without Leadership, Relationship and Creativity, you become just another “me too” provider and you have nothing to distinguish yourself from the madding crowds. In other words, you are a commodity and you can expect to be paid like one.
Is your IT Support provider demonstrating value at every turn or are you paying otherwise high prices for a commodity?