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  • Writer's pictureRick Kenney

Service: The Cost of *Earning* Business

Everybody has their favorite ‘brand taking care of you’ story.

Here’s mine - I bought a Reeds Ferry shed years ago. I needed a shed to store all the under-used yard gear I had acquired over the years. After work, I drove up to Hudson, NH to peruse the show-yard of sheds. From typical cedar sheds to pool houses. Incredible selection that would make Kato Kaelin blush. Premium price point for sure. Built-to-last for decades through the New England seasons. And, they deliver and install (and we’re about 50 miles from their store). But that’s not the memory I have.

It was months after the shed was installed and filled with rakes, shovels, and hoses. There was about 2’ of snow accumulated on the ground after a few back-to-back storms in February.

There was a knock on my front door.

‘I’m here to fix the shutter.’

You see, a few months after install, I had filled out a survey about the shed, its use, and the installation process.

I gave a glowing review…

…and mentioned that ‘my brother-in-law noticed that one of the shutters was upside down.’

I didn’t need the shutter flipped. But, Reeds Ferry did.

The rep trudged through the show, made the change, and was gone within 3 minutes. Back to New Hampshire (likely an hour away from home, at least).

This topic of service cost is a frequently surveyed one, and Salesforce’s Connected Customer survey report takes a crack at it from a few different angles. This point jumps out: >> 47% of customers are willing to pay extra for better customer service.

I don’t like to think about ‘paying extra for better service.’ But, I appreciate that we’ll pay more for better products.

‘More’ is sometimes a premium for better materials, better location, fresher ingredients, great reliability, or status. And sometimes 'more' is intangible and focused on how you serve your customers before, during, or after the purchase.

When I remember Reeds Ferry’s service (or insert your own cool service moment), my choice to pay a premium is vindicated. We build that into our consideration, and it justifies paying a premium for the next relatable purchase.

Service is not a separate line-item. It is part - sometimes more than others - of the product.

It is the cost of EARNING business, not just doing business.

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