Understanding your customers' needs and desires is vital to improving your bottom line.
All customers assess the value of your products and services (the stuff you provide) before making a buying decision by weighing the delicate balance of price, quality and service—3-legs of the stool. You must learn how to masterfully build and balance these three components.
Let's look at all the components of the 3-legged stool as shown in the accompanying graphic:
- Your products and services represent what's placed on the seat
- Price, quality and service are the three legs
- The legs are supported and stabilized by a clearly defined strategic plan (i.e., core purpose, core values, mission, vision, goals, objectives, strategies, tactics and action plan).
In this article, we will focus on exploring the delicate balance of the three legs of the stool. At the bottom of this article, you will find links to other articles that I have written about the other components of the stool.
Balance the 3 Legs of the Stool: Price—Quality—Service
Do you know how your price, quality and service compare with those of your competitors? You can bet that your customers do. Here is a simple assessment that can provide you some clues.
Rate your organization on a scale from 1 to 5 using the following questions:
(1=Poor; 2=Fair; 3=Average; 4=Good; 5=Excellent)
- How does your selection of products and services (your stuff) compare within your industry?
Do you know who else provides products and services similar to yours? How are your products and services better, or more desirable, than those of your competitors?
- How do your prices compare within your industry?
Do you desire to attract customers who are looking for the cheapest option? Or, do you want customers who are willing to pay more for better quality and service? Metaphorically, do you want to provide your customers with an economy Ford or a luxury Mercedes?
- How does the quality of your products and services (your stuff) compare within your industry?
Do you desire to attract customers who are willing to settle for a utilitarian, "just-get-by" product or service? Or, do you want to attract uncompromising customers who demand the finest quality? Again, a Ford versus a Mercedes.
- How does your level of customer service (how you provide the stuff) compare within your industry?
What level of service do you provide?
The customer looking for the cheapest option usually has lower expectations of quality and service. On the other hand, the luxury and uncompromising customer's expectations are extremely high. High-quality, pricier products and services usually mean customers will expect longer warranties and guarantees and more lenient return policies compared with those seeking less expensive, lower-quality products and services. In either case, it doesn't mean that a customer will tolerate being treated rudely or experiencing unfulfilled promises that you have made.
Providing extraordinary customer service is one leg of the stool that any company can maximize. The better you treat a customer, the higher is the probability that the customer will return and tell others about their extraordinary experience. Make your customers' experience memorable—in a good way. Look at each contact opportunity with your customers as a moment of truth to create amazing success stories. See mistakes as your biggest opportunities to win loyal repeat customers.
Want to distinguish yourself from your competitors? Instill in every employee a genuine love for your customers.
When you build your own unique 3-legged organizational stool that combines the perfect balance of price, quality and service, you will see your business grow to new heights.
Much success and fulfillment,