How to uncover your customer value drivers with surveys

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Your customer value drivers are selling points—from product performance to ease of delivery—that make your product or service valuable to customers. These value drivers reveal what people are willing to pay for your product or service and, also, which product developments will have the highest return on investment.

You can use a market research survey to help uncover the value drivers that influence a target market’s purchase decisions. The survey is an opportunity to delve deeper into a target market’s pain points, its needs, and its wants—so that you can discover what your product or service is truly worth.

So which value drivers influence your target market’s purchase decisions? Here’s what to ask potential customers in your market research surveys.

What potential customers want from your product

Product value comes from a complicated cocktail of price, quality, market demand, market saturation, and emotion. To discover the value drivers behind your product, ask your survey respondents these questions:

– How important is the quality of this product (or service) to you?

While price is always a value driver, most people aren’t looking to purchase a “cheap” product. Alongside price, consumers usually list product quality and durability as top value drivers. Of course, quality is more important in some products and less in others. Discover how valuable it is in your product by asking about quality, durability, and longevity in a slider or multiple choice question.

– Is this product (or service) something you need?

Everyone places a slightly different value on a product, depending on the severity of their need. If customer need is high, market demand is also high. High market demand either raises the price of a product (high demand, low supply) or lowers the price of a product (high demand, high supply means companies can make more sales on a smaller profit margin).

– What challenges could this product (or service) help you solve?

Successful products solve problems. In your survey, insert an open-ended question where respondents can tell you about the challenges they face in your product niche. These responses will help you develop and market a product that solves problems.

– Is this product (or service) already available to you?

Ask respondents to elaborate on the question by listing similar products or services in a comment box or single textbox. Availability is a key value driver since, of course, you’ll need to price your product competitively. Use your survey to discover your target market’s awareness of and opinion of competitors.

– How do you feel about this product (or service)?

Psychology Today finds that the majority of purchase decisions are actually based on emotional, not rational, drivers. These emotional drivers often go unreported since many people can’t articulate the emotional reason they made a purchase. These drivers include common themes like the desire to be an early adopter or the desire to please family and friends.

What customers want from your company

It isn’t just your product that matters, it’s also your company. People increasingly place real, monetary value on the quality of a company’s customer experience. More than half of all people, for example, say they’re willing to pay more for a good customer experience, even if they receive the same product or service in the end.

To discover the value drivers behind customer experience, ask respondents to:

– List customer perks from most to least important…

In this ranking question, include those perks—like free shipping, free returns, live customer support, good customer service, secure checkout, free installation, or product warranties—that your company offers (or could offer) your customers. This will help you identify the perks that add value to the customer experience.

Keep an eye on emerging customer value drivers

Emerging consumer trends are also powerful value drivers. Many modern consumers will, for example, pay more for food products labelled “all natural.” Similarly, Deloitte finds that South African companies see faster growth, compared to competitors, if they emphasize natural products and environmental sustainability. Emerging customer value drivers, like these, affect the way consumers calculate value.

Approach price subtly

One in two B2C consumers (and two in five B2B consumers) say that price is one of their top three considerations when making a purchase decision. While price is an undeniably important value driver, surveys that approach price too directly can generate misleading data.

When you ask survey respondents what they’re willing to pay for your product or service, they consistently lowball the answer. Value is a complicated concept and it’s hard, in the vacuum of a market research survey, for potential customers to agree to spend what your product or service is actually worth.

In your survey, approach price subtly by focusing on the full spectrum of customer value drivers. Some people will buy your product, almost regardless of price, because it helps them meet a need or solve an important problem. Figure out what that need or problem is, and what it’s worth to your target market. Let’s get started now.