How a Good Offer Saves Time

Today we move from Emotional to Functional Elements of Value.  This is the lowest level of Bain’s version of Maslow’s triangle.  The idea is to have functional elements in place before we meet higher values.  The first of these elements saves time.

Functional Elements of Value are practical skills or services.  We can expect them to be technical and measurable.  Emotional values have a subjective dimension that is hard to measure. Here we would expect observable positive change.

What is It?

The change we expect to see is some measurable savings in time.  Our competitors take three days, we take two.

There are two ways to interpret this.  There are services that save me time.  If I employ an administrator they save me time to devote to other things.

Time can also be saved indirectly.  The delivery that takes 2 days instead of 3, might not save me any time.  For example, a birthday present must arrive by a specific date but only saves time because if it doesn’t arrive, I have to go shopping!

Waiting for a part I need to complete an order enables me to meet a deadline.  The actual time it takes me to complete the order is the same even if the part is late.  However, if it is late, I have to re-negotiate my contract with my customer.

Value to the Client

For most businesses time is money.  So, any dimension of your offer that saves time is potentially attractive.

From the point of view of the customer, there are several aspects of saving time.  Note any of these are urgent sometimes and just an inconvenience at others:

  • Hassle free delivery on time. There may be a way around a late delivery of a product or service but the point is I was not expecting to have to take that route.
  • I employ an administrator or deploy an online package because I want to save time. This enables me to focus my work on stuff I am good at or only I can do.
  • Sometimes I need to review my time management because I am burnt out or stressed. This is a service that does not save time itself but seeks to help me work out how to save time.

How to Get There

For many businesses, an offer that saves time is important but secondary to the service they deliver.  Honouring an order where delivery is promised by a certain date, is second to whatever is to be delivered.  Of course, a shorter delivery time is an advantage but it becomes important when the customer wants the offer.  Some customers may not be bothered about the exact date of delivery.

Similarly a business offering administrative services might choose to emphasise efficiency or competence over time savings.  However, mention of time saved is likely to appeal to some customers.

Similarly a time management coach can emphasise stress relief or health benefits.

It is worth mentioning time because for some customers it is crucial.

Your Offer

For any offer, consider whether you can claim it saves time.  Some customers say they don’t mind whether it takes three days or five, so long as it is done well.  For others three days instead of 5 may be crucial.  The main thing to remember is once you make the promise, keep it.

And don’t forget some offers are not about saving time.  If you coach, it may be best to take a few months because it allows time for reflection and practice.  Be upfront and explain why it takes as long as it takes.

And if someone wants something faster than your normal delivery time, is there scope to charge for fast delivery?  So long as you can deliver faster and you explain potential disadvantages, this is an advantage.

This is the eighteenth of 31 posts about elements of value.  Make sure you don’t miss any by signing up for the offer below.  The posts in this sequence can be accessed below:

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About the Author

I've been a community development worker since the early 1980s in Tyneside, Teesside and South Yorkshire. I've also worked nationally for the Methodist Church for eight years supporting community projects through the church's grants programme. These days I am developing an online community development practice combining non-directive consultancy, strategic management, participatory methods and development work online and offline. If you're interested contact me for a free consultation.