Why Value Degrades Over Time

The value of your solution was enough to win your dream client’s business and their loyalty. But value is sometimes subject to entropy, or deterioration in effectiveness over time.

Solving the Last Problem Doesn’t Solve the Next

When you won your dream client’s business, they had a challenge, and they needed someone to help them create better results. The value you created through the sales conversations and the value of your solution together solved their problem perfectly. That solution, however, only addressed the last challenge, and has so far been impotent when it comes to dealing with new issues.

The reason the value you create degrades over time is that it was designed to solve one set of problems or challenges and is now confronted with new ones, ones for which it was not intended—and opening you up to being competitively displaced.

The Changing Environment Creates Challenges That Aren’t Quickly Perceived

The changing environment continues to provide new realities, some of which aren’t very quickly perceived, creating a disruption that limits the value of what was once considered value.

At the JFK airport in New York City, there are two lines of cars at baggage claim. One row of cars is made up of traditional taxis; the other line is black cars from Uber or some other ride-sharing service. As you walk by the taxis, most of whom have been watching the Uber line zip by them as they wait for a fare, you will notice each car has a sign in the window to inform you they have an app you can install on your phone.

A taxi cab was once the standard in value as it pertains to getting around in New York City. The threat of Uber was not perceived fast enough, and the value of the taxi was massively degraded. The displacement here was through the disintermediation of the model.

Advances In Technology, Processes, and Systems

The Blackberry was better than the cellular phone, as it allowed for email messaging and the use of a calendar. As crude and monochrome as it was, the technology allowed for more than what came before it. The iPhone was to the Blackberry what the Blackberry was to the flip phone; the technology and its capabilities evolved.

The process of buying the products you find in retail stores shifted from a trip to the mall to a trip to Amazon.com, some other website, or a click on the same smartphone described above. It’s not the same experience as browsing through a book store, and so the value in one category is lessened, only to be increased in the availability of almost anything you can imagine and search.

Over time, what was once perceived as value is replaced by something of greater value. The key to retention is new value.

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