How to create new services that customers will value

If you want to find new services to provide to your customers, try this contemplative process:

  1. Find the gap between the service you provide now and what the customer values.

For example, most dry cleaning stores in NYC will pick up your laundry, they’ll wash it, fold it, organize it and return it back to your house. But, we all know that laundry doesn’t magically hop onto hangers and into drawers. Dry cleaners could offer a premium package, double the price, to come in to the home and put clothes away. And, they could come in the home to collect the clothes in the first place (off floors, from hampers, etc). You’d be surprised how many of us would love to have our clothes magically reappear clean on our hangers and in our drawers.

Most accountants, that prepare taxes, have businesses and individuals bring in a pile of documents at the beginning of each year to do taxes. That’s a huge burden both for the accountant and for the customer–regardless if it’s a business or an individual. Why not send out folders on a monthly or quarterly basis, or whatever basis makes sense for each customer? Have the customer drop tax documents into that folder as they arrive. Then, the next month comes along, the customer mails in the folder they have and receives a new folder for the next month. The accountant can process relevant receipts, invoices, payments, bills, etc as they arrive instead of at the end of the year. And, the business isn’t pressured in January to pull all these documents together.

  1. Here are two questions to help find gaps: “What does my customer have to do before I can help them?” and “What does my customer have to do after I finish my work?”