Herzberg's two-factor theory comes from psychology and is generally applied to business management and human resources.

Enrich Your Value Proposition With Hygiene Factors and Motivators

Gone are the days when companies could simply create basic products that meet customer needs without adding further value. In today's context, where competition is fierce and consumer demands are increasing, companies can no longer stick to offering products or services that work. We explain how to enrich your value proposition through hygiene and motivational factors.

Added value has gone from making a difference to being a necessity. 

Companies are trying to satisfy the customer in a holistic way
since consumers are no longer just looking for a product or service that meets their expectations, satisfies a need or alleviates a problem. Now, the product or service offered must be accompanied by a flawless purchasing process, an optimal customer experience and the enrichment of the offer through elements that add value.

Today, companies should not only care for their products or services having added value, abut also everything else that comes with them the customer experience (CX), customer service, customer care, customer service, the purchasing process, the shipping service, etc.. In fact, according to research by PwC, 59% of customers leave a company after several bad experiences, and 17% after just one bad experience

All this puts us in a scenario where Herzberg's hygienic factors and motivators become essential.


What are hygiene factors and motivators?

A few days ago, during my morning break from work, I went out for breakfast with a colleague. Unfortunately, the cafe we usually go to was closed, so I suggested going to the next closest bar. However, even though it was raining, he refused. "I went there the other day and I'm not going back." When I asked him why he told me that he had to wait for agaes to be served and that, once he was, the latte was cold. It seemed to me that his argument more than justified walking a few more blocks and going somewhere else.  Hygiene factor.

Finally, we ended up going to a bar we had not been to before. The coffee was hot and we were not kept waiting. However, the next day, we both immediately agreed that we would go to our usual bar. Not because the coffee was better, but because we missed the morning greeting from the waitress and the biscuits she always brings with the coffee. Motivator. 

Beyond our odyssey in search of the perfect breakfast, this experience made me reflect on Herzberg's theory and the importance of paying attention to hygiene factors and motivators

The American psychologist Frederick Irving Herzberg gave birth to "The Two-Factor Theory" also known as "Herzberg's motivation-hygiene theory" in 1959. Considered one of the most important psychologists in business management and HR, Herzberg created the theory to explain what drives employees' motivation. According to the author, the performance of a company's staff is influenced by two factors: 

  • Hygiene factors: What workers expect to receive in return for their work, such as a decent salary, good treatment by colleagues and superiors, security, etc. 
  • Motivational factors: Factors that workers do not necessarily expect the company to deliver, but that bring them extra satisfaction and increase their motivation. For example, the recognition of their achievements, a career plan, the possibility of flexible working hours, receiving a gift for their birthday, etc. 

What Herzberg theorised to help organisations promote their employees' happiness is entirely applicable to companies and their customers.

Hygiene factors, motivators, companies and clients

In order to create an optimal commercial offer and an effective value proposition, companies need to analyse whether they are covering their customers' hygiene factors and what motivators they please their clients with.

When it comes to customers, hygiene factors are everything that the customer expects to receive when purchasing a product or service. That is, that the product or service does what it promises, a reasonableprice, some guarantee, the possibility of exchanging the product if it arrives late or damaged, etc. Back to coffee: that the latte is hot and you don't have to wait 20 minutes for it.

Motivators, on the other hand, are added value factors. Everything that the customer does not necessarily expect or demand, but that generates extra satisfaction and makes them choose one brand over another. If two different companies offer the same exact service (including all the hygienic factors: quality, price, customer experience, customer service, etc.), but one provides added value (motivator) and the other does not; obviously, anyone would choose the brand that has one or more motivators. Back to the story, my colegue and I will continue to have breakfast at our usual bar.

For a commercial offer to be efficient it must cover both hygiene factors and motivators. In this sense, knowing our customers is the key to ensuring that our proposal is valid. If we do not know what our customers want and need, how will we know if we are meeting their hygiene and motivational factors? 

Therefore, before we start generating value, we must make sure that we know what our customers want, how they want it, what their main problems are, what pain points they encounter during their customer journey, etc. To this end, customer data analysis and customer analytics strategies such as the definition of our buyer persona, customer segmentation or active listening to the voice of the customer (VoC) are decisive.

Also, it is important to pay as much attention to hygienic factors as to motivators. Sometimes we become obsessed with generating added value and overlook the fact that our offer does not cover the basic needs of our customers or that it includes elements that generate dissatisfaction.

What do customers expect from us? Do we have all the hygiene factors covered? What are our motivating factors?

We suggest that today, during  your coffee break you dedicate 5 minutes to reflecting on these questions. If the coffee is good enough to motivate you (motivators), take a piece of paper and write down what are the hygienic factors and motivators of your commercial offer.

Is the result what you expected? Hygiene factor.

Don't know what your customers expect from you? Do you want to increase the level of customer satisfaction or redefine your commercial offer?

We can help!