See past CSC Edge issues here!
My thanks to several of our members for their follow-up comments on my Article from last Month, What is the Right Price, because they went even further to discuss the philosophy of pricing and product offerings that each Company exhibits. Their comments described the need for product knowledge plus maintaining an unbiased view of the marketplace and a constant search the real needs of your customers. In fact, it was pointed out that excellent product knowledge can sometimes even work against you when it comes to setting a pricing policy and marketing/product philosophy. Do you have an unbiased view of your customers' real needs and are they properly reflected in your Company's products, policies, and procedures?
First, we all have to review our own personal philosophies as individuals and see if they are in line to be able to meet the real needs of our customers. If not, we will have to try and modify our own thinking. If someone is very frugal in their day to day lives and are involved in running a high-end service business there could perhaps be some conflicts when it comes to setting up a proper target market and then defining the specific type of service or product that is actually offered. Do you know what personal philosophies might be a barrier to successfully growing your business? For me I have always equated quality with the highest priced option and that can be a real mistake sometimes by pushing me in that direction without the proper investigations.
I have also personally known many business owners and have seen many different operating philosophies being offered with the common thread usually being a close relationship with customers. They had differing personalities and obviously some differing operating philosophies but they all knew their customers and actively kept current with their likes and dislikes and used that information to drive their business. When a new product or procedure is being announced a smart Company will ask their dealer's and servicer's opinion before they release the final offering. If not, they could end up with an Edsel that the manufacturer thought was a revolutionary product design while the customers and dealers thought it was a strange looking car offered at a price point that was not at all favorable in the marketplace. Many described the Edsel as the wrong product, at the wrong time, in the wrong Market. Maybe some visits or phone calls would have helped the successful design and launch of that product. When we started the Certified Service Center program many questioned the Customer Survey requirement because they told us that they talk to their customers all the time and know what they want. That is the way that it should be, but the customer survey also allows the same set of data to be reviewed by others to ensure that the information collected is interpreted fairly by listening to the opinions of others including the customers before making any final decisions.
One prime example is the common feeling that we live in a break and replace environment. Many say that it is too costly and time consuming to repair products today. There are several real customer's needs not being met by this way of thinking that were noted by our members such as sentiment, compatibility, and, biggest of all for many including me, the desire to not have to learn how to use a new product especially when it comes to today's high tech and sometimes confusing product offerings. What does your customer feel about the break and replace philosophy and does your service product reflect those needs?
What is the Right Product and Price Offering? Your customers know so listen to them, really understand them, accept their advice, and do your best to give them what they want. We should try to keep our personal feelings from clouding good business decisions even if we seem to be right most of the time. We all do it because it's human nature, but we should always try our best to make a final product decision with an open mind after solicited and listened to the pros and cons – or we could be looking at our own future Edsels.
Author: Don Pierson, Jan 2019