Stop gold plating your business unnecessarily

gold-plating-products-and-servicesIn this highly competitive world we very well understand that there are more sellers than buyers. The only way to get a customer and retain her is by providing more value. But what we don’t understand is the value of ‘value’.

Easier said than done we are slowly getting into the problem called gold plating the products or services. We are trying to provide something which is not asked for and by doing so we assume to get more appreciation from the customer.

I am not against providing more value, more frills to the product but before thinking in that direction one needs to answer a basic question – “What is it, when added will appreciate the product in customer’s eye without making dent on our bottom lines?”

In project management terminology it’s even related to Feature Creep. Feature Creep happens where in a team is trying to add new features to the product/service which were in the first place not asked by the client or the stake holders.

This can be disastrous. In Gold plating our business we are not trying to add real core functions but intend to increase the product value by beautifying it with other accessories that we perceive will add more value.

To emphasize the drawbacks more, following are the immediate disadvantages of Gold plating that will convince you to focus on the core rather than adding false value.

  1. Directly affects the Project constraints – The Projects that we undertake are always constrained by the Cost, Schedule and Scope. By gold plating these variables are directly impacted. You might end up increasing the scope of the product, missing the delivery deadlines or over budgeting the endeavor.
  2. Ends up in feature creep – As already mentioned, adding more features to increase value is a common jeopardy most businesses are now a days getting fixed with. When adding new features sky is the limit and you need to know where to draw the boundary line.
  3. Increases client expectations forever – In case if you are in a regular service business gold plating can set wrong expectations with the client. The client will assume the similar kind of freebies with all the stuff that you provide. This will than prove to be a self killing prophecy.
  4. Pyjama lovers don’t like Tuxedos – You might not think that way but there are people who love it the minimalist way. Adding stuff that they don’t require will irritate them rather than amusing. Its good to provide customized coffee in hotels, but if you ask everything from how much beans, sugar, milk to be added and how would they like it served it will irritate the consumer rather than empowering them. Do remember the simple rule Pyjama lovers don’t like Tuxedos.
  5. You added 2 units free and I just want 1 more – This ones my favorite. You already know how much passionate I am about sharing negotiation nuggets. We discussed about Batna here. If you have a shrewd client and she knows that you are throwing in good amount of free stuff it will be assumed that its your duty to do so, the negotiation starts from there. What more are you ready to give in. “Ya you gave me two free units by yourself but I expect three”. Got the point.
  6. Demoralizes team if they don’t own it – More important than your external customer is your internal customer. Before deciding what kind of gold plating you will offer the external client, do take a concurrence from the internal one. Knowing that the stuff they are developing is not what is required by the client simply demoralizes the team and creates mistrust. They simply believe that the leadership is here to rip them apart. If the team doesn’t own it they will never deliver the best of what they can.
  7. Results in Wastage – The time and resources wasted in unnecessary gold plating of one business can be utilized fruitfully in enhancing other businesses or capturing new leads. We can even give these gold plating ideas to client rather then providing them free of cost. If the features are liked, the client might end up paying for the same, preventing you from wasting money on them and serving them for free.

So these were some very simple nuggets on how Gold Plating can harm your business more than you actually think. Hope the next time you plan to offer something to the client, it will offer more value. More of gold and less of plating.

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