Posted by: Chris | February 15, 2008

In Services Marketing, “Value Added” Is Key (and Free)


Typically, when we think of “value added,” we think about giving away free stuff. When I buy from Osrow, I know that I’m going to get some freebies. The good news is, it keeps me coming back. The bad news is, at some point in the chain, it costs Osrow. Even worse, those costs are probably eventually passed on to me, the consumer, so the idea of “free samples” may be, to a certain extent, a misnomer. This is not to say that product retailers should discontinue value added promotions–as long as the ROI exceeds the amount spent on the freebies (and I keep coming back), everything is fine.

In a services-oriented environment, value added ROI is much less of an issue, because the “freebies” come in the form of action rather than inventory. An airline counter-clerk who provides a 2-second connecting flight weather update for customers checking baggage (“it’s sunny and 62 in Chicago”). A contractor who leaves a note each day on what was completed and what is left to do with an estimated completion time/date. A drive-thru window clerk who has the latest traffic report. Check out Drew McLellan’s recent car-repair experience-a service that is often dreaded, but actually had a relatively happy ending in this case because of value added service.

Performed once, these acts translate into a “good experience”; an isolated example of good customer service. When integrated into the company (training, evaluation, company goals, top-down practices, etc.), these services actually become the company brand. They become a expectation-and that’s a good thing! Companies should want for their customers to expect little extras in their service. It’s a reflection of the company’s historical service provision. If expectations are high, historical service provision has been good. Sure, low expectations (resulting from poor historical service provision) are easy to meet, but rarely do they promote loyalty.

I’m interested to hear other ideas of simple “value added” services you’ve experienced (or wish to experience).



  1. please give me more insigth about how to make my customers to understand that freebies shouldn’t be requested for everytime.maybe at the starting and it might be from the product sampling,thanks in anticipation.yours ipmf world of gallerys.

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