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14 April 2021

What’s The Real Difference Between Customer Outcomes and Customer Value?

by Tony D'Auria Reading time: 4 mins

Are Customer Outcomes and Value The Same Thing?

A few weeks ago I hosted a webinar focused on cross-functional success planning and creating customer value. At the end of the session, I was asked a question by one of the participants – Are outcomes and value the same thing? It’s a great question with a somewhat ambiguous answer. No, they aren’t – but they can be, and they should be.

Defining Measurable And Realistic Customer Outcomes

Customer outcomes can be many things – saving time, saving money, increasing revenue. In a nutshell, it’s what your product can do for your customer and the measurable results that your customer can see. To successfully define these value-drivers, it’s important that your organization works together to understand what those potential outcomes are so that you can set realistic customer expectations at the point of sale and carry that message through the entire customer experience.

At Valuize, we call these Value-based outcomes. Value-based outcomes are prescriptive and measurable product adoption milestones that represent achieving or sustaining recurring value for customers. Your customer must achieve value-based outcomes in order for your company to successfully retain and expand that customer. Understanding and achieving these outcomes is all the more important when you consider that customer success organizations are responsible for the adoption charter 84% of the time and for the retention charter 76% of the time (TSIA, 2021). If you’re interested in learning more about this process, watch our webinar on how to define customer outcomes that unite your pre- and post- sales teams.

Creating Repeatable Customer Value

So you’ve got your outcomes and you know what your customers want and what your product can do – but do those outcomes provide value?

Value will mean a different thing to each customer and it’s important to understand how each consumer defines the value of your product. This will depend on their goals, their pain points, and the problem your product is intended to solve for them. This ties back to why they bought your product and how you communicate it’s value to the market and to your customer. It’s what you prescribe to your customer at the point of sale and reinforce throughout their journey as a customer. At times it may be fluid and evolve over time, but it will always tie back to the promise you make to your customer and to the market.

Bringing Together Customer Outcomes and Value

So how do customer outcomes and value relate?

The intersection of outcome and benefit comes when you match a desired future state with an outcome your product has proven to deliver. Outcomes and value are two different things – the same outcome will not mean value to every customer, but each outcome has the possibility to provide value. The relationship between the two is symbiotic. Each outcome will provide a result, however to unlock the value of each outcome you need to understand what value means to each customer and prescribe the right outcome at the right time.

Let’s take the outcome of reducing time as an example. For this outcome, let’s say it’s the reduction of time to provision a piece of software. I’m sure every customer of yours would love to do things quicker and more efficiently, but that may not be the priority of every customer. That may not be why every customer buys your product. If a customer buys your product with the desired outcome of increasing revenue, and the outcome they experience is a decrease in time to provision – will they perceive that your product has provided them value? Likely not, despite the fact that they have experienced a benefit of using your solution. The distinction between a benefit that your customer will experience and the outcomes they expect to achieve is critical – that’s where you quantify the value.

Value Based Outcomes are what we live and breathe at Valuize. To learn more about how we help our clients design outcomes that create measurable value for their customers and result in improved net dollar retention, reach out to our team of expert customer success practitioners.

Tony D'Auria

With over 10 years of experience in customer success, operations, leadership and process development at companies like BlackBerry and Oracle, Tony helps companies define, build and deploy customer success strategies across their organization. As a customer success strategy consultant at Valuize, Tony is focused on delivering scalable outcomes that drive business growth through collaborative problem solving.