Jun 21

Pricing matters but customer service matters more

Does price matter?

It’s a question that many of us business owners grapple with. Often (especially as start ups) we believe we have to be competitive on price to get our customers to do business with us.

I don’t always agree with this thinking.

A number of years ago my husband, David and I decided that we wanted to build a pool in our backyard. At the time I was still running my branding studio from multiple rooms in our house, and for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to project manage the whole process.

I hopped onto trusty Google, and searched for pool builders in my local area. Immediately half a dozen popped up on my screen, and I quickly bypassed the adverts to arrive at the list of companies that ranked on page one organically (there’s another blog in that comment!)

I picked three companies who I phoned and arranged to meet.

The first of the businesses was a brand that I had heard a lot about. The website was great. It had big beautiful photographs and testimonials from happy customers. I saw their advertising all of the place and had heard great things about their business. From a designers point of view (going entirely on aesthetics and how they had positioned their brand) they were my silent favourite, but I feared that they would be pricey.

The second company had a basic website, there wasn’t a lot of text. There wasn’t an About Page on the company itself, and it wasn’t all that easy to navigate. The images in their gallery took ages to load. I stuck it out and found their work to be pretty good. From the look of their website I placed them as the cheapest of the three companies I was looking at.

The third company had a lovely looking website. Not as flash as the first company but easier to navigate and view than the second one. The colours were appealing and their work also looked great. I was confident that I’d find someone to build my pool amongst these three.

This was until company 1 never arrived up for our meeting. I phone to find out if their rep was running late and was told that they were too busy to see me now. I asked if I could book another time and was told that they would get back to me. They never did.

The gentle man (and I use that term lightly) from company 2 asked me in a condescending tone whether or not my husband would be home at the time of our meeting. When I answered ‘no’ he promptly told me that he would only meet with me when my husband was home as he was the one who would be making the decisions! Say what? I immediately told him that my husband respects my opinion and that we make decisions together. I informed him that my first decision in this process was to not even get him to come out and quote. He had lost my business.

How to create a brand strategy and business that customers will love

Company number 3 was my last hope before a further Google search was required. The 50 something year old man who knocked on my door (on time), neatly dressed, polite and full of ideas immediately impressed me. He talked to me about what we wanted in a pool, did we have children, how much free time did we have to maintain the pool, along with a number of other questions. He informed me that he had been in business for 25 years and proceeded to give me ideas about my pool that I hadn’t thought of. He pointed out the best place for us to put the pool so that we could keep an eye on the kids from the house, walked me through the process and gave me a quote on the spot. I was impressed.

That night at dinner, David asked me how my meetings had gone. I relayed my stories informing him that I would very much like to go with Company 3 as I felt he understood our needs the most, was professional and I felt as though he knew his industry and customer very well. I have no idea if he was cheap or expensive. All I know is that the experience that I had with him right from the word go, was a good one. Money never came into my decision as to whether to use him or not.

Knowing your customer is essential in being able to create a great customer experience for your client. Company 3 knew that by asking questions and coming up with solutions for what is a big investment to a home would help put their customer at ease.

How well do you know your customer? Do you know what makes them tick? What their deep desires or fears are? Do you ask them questions and truly listen to what they have to say? I encourage you to take a moment to reflect on whether you truly know our customer, and whether or not you are making the most of the opportunity of giving them a brand experience that they will never forget.

Written by branding specialist Debbie O’Connor
Consultant, Strategist, Keynote Speaker

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