People love premium service. It’s why we all secretly hope to by accidentally upgraded to business class whenever we grab a flight. It’s why people consistently buy name brand products at the grocery store when the generic “no-name” brands are 1/3 to 1/2 the price. Premium brands are more expensive and consumers know this but it’s okay in their minds because the mere fact that something is branded as premium answers most of the “what’s in it for me” that exists in all consumers prior to making a buying decision.
And it’s not that a tin of generic peaches from the grocery store is less flavourful than a premium brand, it’s just that premium brands instill confidence that consumers are getting something better in their minds at least. So brand perception is a big deal with most of us. We perceive premium products and services to be of a higher standard and quality.
You know who the top 5% are in your market where you live. Take a look at their trucks. Are they clean? Professionally branded with a unique selling proposition emblazoned all over the vehicle? Do their technicians wear white shirts, black pants, and each has a name tag on his/her shirt? Do they offer a guarantee or a series of guarantees? When they answer the phone to the call takers sound professional and are they building the benefit of dong business with the company as opposed to just giving out ball park prices?
Now think about coffee for a moment. Yes, coffee. Seriously.
If you’re reading this from the USA there is Dunkin’ Donuts and there is Starbucks. In Canada there is Tim Hortons and Starbucks. It costs about $2 for a medium coffee from either Dunkin’ or Timmies. (Good coffee, btw, from both places. Just sayin’.)
You can also get a small, large and extra large at those places, but at Starbucks? You can get a Trenta® Venti® (notice how those are registered trademark symbols? I wonder why?) Grande, Tall and Short. It costs twice as much for a coffee at Starbucks yet people (possibly even you) flock to the place even though they are fundamentally selling the same product as Dunkin’ Donuts or Tim Hortons. A coffee is a coffee, you say? Have a look at the Starbucks menu sometime. The place ain’t cheap. But it’s a smashing success because unlike Dunkin’ Donuts or Tim Hortons, there is a different perceived value. The customer service experience at Starbucks is different too. They don’t sell coffee, really. They sell perceived value and people happily pay $5 or more for coffee which is half as expensive everywhere else.
But the place has an image. It’s trendy. It’s got expensive looking coffee machines that gleam and glitter in the sunlight. There’s funky music in the background. They don’t have donuts. They have high end munchies for you to nibble on with your expensive coffee.
Owners of contracting companies believe that the cheapest price is the way to get consumers to do business with them. They’re wrong. People with a plugged toilet or no cooling from their AC just want the problem solved and will pay premium prices to get it solved ASAP. Do you offer express service? Can you be there in 60 minutes? People will pay a premium for someone to get there faster. They will pay premium prices if the customer experience is professional and if the technicians don’t look like the slept on a park bench the last three nights in spite of your fancy looking truck.
Think about branding. Think about how your company is perceived. Compare yourself to your competitors. What can you deliver that differentiates your business from everyone else? Premium service = high grade customer experiences. People will pay more for it. A lot more. Just ask Starbucks.
Now go have a profitable Monday.