Making it easy – functional values


Functional values are often neglected when thinking about customer experience. Businesses tend to look for “wow” moments to make their customers love them. But, it is important to have all the basics right! Research suggests that functional values are as key as emotional values for customer experiences.

The Apple “showrooming” process is a good example. It’s where customers come in store to try out products before buying them online. The whole process encourages extra sales

In car sales a test drive is an intrinsic part of the experience.

Managers should  not underestimate the power of triggering functional values during an experience.

Clothes2Order has prioritised triggering functional values. They innovate and develop their back-end systems to  be faster and more reliable. “We know these are the key points which lead to a great customer experience post order. There is heavy focus on systems and process improvements”. A  customer comments about their website. “Fantastic, easy to navigate website, great value for money and brilliant customer service.

Scottish Water’s vision is to be: “Scotland’s most valued and trusted business”. As a monopoly, their key measures are not market share, profits or customer retention. To achieve their vision, they focus on triggering functional values.  “To deliver our promise, we need to reduce service disruption. We also need to make sure that recovery is quick and effective if things do go wrong.” Key measures, then, relate to operating the business in the most efficient way possible, while delivering exceptional service to their customers and making Scottish Water a great place to work.

Like Scottish Water, many companies have embedded functionality values into their core strategies.

DPD UK’s biggest differentiator from their competitors is a service called “Predict”. It gives advance notice of a one-hour delivery window so customers don’t have to wait in all day. Launched in 2010, none of their competitors has been able to copy it. They are now the delivery partner of choice for the UK’s most prominent online retailers.  They also  tell their customers in good time about any delays. “Part of our ‘DNA’ is to ‘develop honest and open relationships’. We decided we should no longer wait for customers to notice that something has gone wrong”.

DPD call their system ‘Polar Bear’ as it focuses on business continuity  in bad weather. They send  an email or text if there is a delay at any of five different possible points in the delivery chain.

Capital One Europe uses functional values to deliver its vision of “Making Lives Better”.  They introduced a “credit made clearer” campaign. It helps customers understand credit and how to use their credit card. It also helps them find support if they’re having problems making repayments. They also created a card called Progressive. It helps improve customers’ credit rating and reduces their interest rates.

Other companies use real customer feedback to trigger functional values.  Levy Restaurants has improved service efficiency and experience within public spaces. They developed a fast pour solution,  allowing staff to pour a pint in six seconds. They also use  pre-pay beer tokens in ‘express lanes’.

Nationwide Building Society in South Barking  “make it easy for customers to complain”.  They offer communication through various channels including face-to-face, phone, email and post. Customer feedback showed the branch ATM was in a difficult position, so they moved it.

Motability Operations removed confusing jargon and  use plain English approach  in all communications. They focus on supporting customers through the information-gathering phase of their customer journey. Customers now give Motability Operations a 95% score for “ease of understanding”.

World First made improvements to their online platform. They increased the efficiency of transactions and added more useful information. It includes live and historic exchange rates and a news feed. They have reworked the language word by word to ensure it is as clear and user friendly as possible. “Since these changes, online usage has increased by 275%”.


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