November 5, 2018

Is your perceived value drawing or pushing away customers?

It is astounding how many companies purport to train their employees in customer service, which by definition includes perceived value, and yet their employees have no clue what perceived value actually is, and even after I explain it, people look at me quizzically. But, it isn’t trained on because it is just too complicated and hard to implement, along with many other items that corporation bean counters say it is.

So, what is Perceived value? Let me tell you in a few short paragraphs. It’s really not that hard to either understand or implement. AND it can help your company in every single transaction you conduct with customers, be they internal or external.

I use that one word a lot, and it’s intentional. Perception, or perceived, is a word that you have to realize is even more important to keeping customers and your company afloat than at any other time since the dawn of business.

To state it succinctly, you are only as valuable to the customer as they perceive you to be. If the customer, doesn’t perceive you to be worth what they are paying you and their perception is that you’re lazy and you are too stupid, then you are exactly that. It doesn’t matter what you do on the job or how much you actually do. If they don’t see it and perceive that you are a bum then…

This is the issue with people demanding higher, regular and minimum, wages. Only the customer can tell you that you are worth that much. If they don’t think you are providing a good enough service then you don’t deserve anything more. Oversimplified? Maybe, but the point is valid.

To put it another way, in security terms, we are perceived as a rent-a-cop. We are seen as lowly paid, stupid, incompetent, and lazy stoopid sekurty gards. For 99% of the security officers and professionals out there, this is the farthest thing from the truth! Yet that is the perception and therefore the reality for many people and despite attempts they refuse to let go of that perception.

To go a step further can you agree that security is generally considered a cost center and doesn’t contribute anything to the bottom line? I think we can all agree on that point. But our clients or contacts don’t necessarily realize that we DO contribute to the bottom line, just not in a definitive demonstrable way. We prevent loss which does add to the company/client’s bottom line. How you ask? “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it fall…does it really make a noise?”

As unfair as that may be its true. Go to a restaurant and evaluate the wait staff. Does your server treat you like a child sounding mad or upset with you like an angry parent? Your perception of them is that they are just and a**h***. On top of that, the restaurant isn’t worth going back to if they hire people like that to serve their customers. Am I correct?

The only issue is that the server may be having a bad day for some reason. Should they have come to work that day in that mood? Probably not. Personal issues, no matter how pressing which isn’t easy to dismiss, need to be left at the door and not carried into work. But it doesn’t work like that, and your perception is that it’s a worthless place to eat – no matter how exquisite the food.

That is the dangerous part of perceived value. I have trumpeted the phrase “Perception is Reality” for more than a quarter of a century. That is the succinct definition of perceived value. What someone thinks, or perceives, of you is their reality. It takes a tremendous push and effort from everyone to dispel it and chances are, you may never get away from it.

That perception can lead to a myriad of problems, in both security as well as other businesses. It’s one of the issues involving workplace violence. The perception that someone is or doing them wrong can lead some people to act aggressively at someone else, even if nothing was done by the victim.

So, I will ask you succinctly; what is YOUR, or companies, perceived value? To either your employees or customers/clients? If you study hard enough you may find at the perception is good among some and bad amongst others. How can you improve your perceived value? Look at everything you do and figure out a couple of things that may not be on your list of duties.

From there, see if you can implement something small, especially for the customer. A piece of candy, a quick note pad or pen to use…possibly carrying their groceries outside or just letting them hangout while they call a tow truck or taxi. It is those little things that allow your perceived value to increase to the customer and many times the customer doesn’t really care about the smallness of the gesture but the actual benefit to them.

Have any questions or comments? Drop me a line and ask! You cain’t get an answer unless you do!

Robert D. Sollars helps organizations to safeguard the lives of their employees and students and lessen their risk of violence, as well as with other security–related issues, using time–tested and proven ideas.


Twitter: twitter@robertsollars2



Phone: 480-251-5197

He is the author of three books on preventing violence in both schools and businesses, all available on Amazon.

His book–related website, with full information on his most recent book, Murder in the Classroom: A Practical Guide for Prevention, is:

I May Be Blind, but My Vision Is Crystal Clear


Permission to reprint and share? Of course, with these guidelines: The original content must be printed in full, with original wording and full attribution.

Copyright 2018 Robert D. Sollars

About Robert

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *