You get what you pay for, right? Well, at least that’s what people always say. When something breaks too quickly or easily, and the item was inexpensive, we break out the oft-repeated, “you get what you pay for” and scold ourselves for not following that old and truthful adage. And if something that was quite pricey just lasts and lasts, we congratulate ourselves for following the wisdom from that same old phrase.
But what happens when you don’t really know what you’re paying for? What happens when you think you’re paying for one thing, and you’re actually not? Well then, well then my friend, you’ve found yourself in quite a client experience pickle.
What Am I Really Getting Here?
Here’s a simple example. Last week Aaron and I took the family for a long overdue visit to his parents in Florida. It was warm, it was sunny, it was green, and man was it relaxing. And as we had the incredible opportunity of having grandparents in house to watch over Weston while Gracie napped, we decided to put an end to our year and a half dating hiatus. So date we did, for brunch at the Ritz Carlton.
It was waterside, had patio seating, and bonus, it was open early enough to accommodate our early day napper. So off we went. To sit down and have a fine brunch, knowing full well that it would be expensive because well, it’s the Ritz-Carlton, but also that it would be well worth it because well, again, it’s the Ritz-Carlton.
So as we sat down and glanced in wonder at the menu they presented us with, when I saw that a latte would be, gulp, $6, I questioned whether or not I really needed that latte. When I shared the question with Aaron, he assured me that I should go for it as well, the latte must be really good if we’re paying that much. So get it I did, expecting a latte, to end all lattes, expecting the most divine latte I’ve ever laid lips upon. I mean, it’s got to be, right? For $6? But, instead what I got was, a N’espresso late.
Now if you don’t know what a N’espresso latte is, it’s a latte that’s conceived from a pod, a machine, and someone pressing a button as they walk by. And there’s nothing wrong with a N’espresso, I actually like N’espresso. I have one myself. But I, like probably everyone else, don’t go out to get a N’espresso. I go out to have a latte created by a trained barista who is pulling shots and tamping down freshly ground espresso from a professional machine. I go out to get something that I can’t do myself, something professionally made. Paying $6 for that kind of latte at the Ritz, I completely understand and am even happy to do so because well, I really, really love lattes. Paying $6 for a pod, a machine intended for home use, and pushing buttons, I really struggle with.
Confusing Marketing Creates Confused Clients
Ever felt the same? I’m guessing so. You go somewhere, expect something, yet what you get isn’t quite what you expected. Maybe “technically” it fits the bill of what’s listed, I mean did get a “latte” for all intents and purposes, but in your mind what you got just wasn’t quite the same thing as what you thought you were getting.
It’s like deciding that you’re going to send someone a vase of flowers, going online, choosing your jaw dropping bouquet, sending it off with hopes of tears on the receiving end, then getting the picture of what they actually got. It’s somehow, very different than what you were expecting. Sure, it’s still a vase full of flowers, but these flowers are much smaller than those that are pictured. What you saw online was full and in bloom. The flowers were radiant in color and the vase shined clear like a prism on fire with the sun.
What your beloved recipient got however was a vase that seemed a bit cloudy and off, with flowers whose tightly compacted petals left not only empty space within the bouquet, but also within their excitement. Now sure in the end the flowers may actually last longer, but the initial big, wow factor that you were desperately hoping for, just did not occur. The luster and awe of what first lured you in online, somehow got lost in translation when making it to the end product. So now you’re out $60, and feeling disappointed, no longer in love with the flowers, and certainly no longer in love with the florist.
Clear and Focused is the Name of the Game
So, what’s the solution here? How do you keep your clients loving you and excited to work with you, both initially and again, while also having them truly understand what they’re getting from you? Well, by being incredibly clear as you market your services. By being incredibly clear with how you explain them online, how you explain them in your Welcome packet, how you talk about them in initial conversations, and certainly with how you showcase them via photos and videos.
If you list your services online, be concise and succinct, including no more than 8-10 bullet points, but cover the major points of what receiving that service includes. Maybe your full service design option includes weekly check-ins to share the project’s progress and you know from experience your clients just love that. Great, so list, “weekly emailed updates of project’s progress.” That way potential clients will know that “weekly check ins” means emails, not in-person meetings.
Or what about a Designer for a Day option that includes shopping, then list “the option to shop in lovely local boutiques within a 20 mile radius” that way they know that they will get to shop with you, but not at stores located hours away. Or how about you have a service that offers clients a design for their space along with product recommendations, but the project management is all on them? Then make sure in your marketing there’s no talk of “white glove service” or pictures of delivery people, as clients may start to assume that maybe they set up the orders, but you’re still there for the delivery.
I Got Exactly What I Thought I Would, and I Couldn’t Be Happier
The point is this, people should get what they pay for, but they also need to know, what it is they’re really paying for. If they’re paying for a hands off experience, they need to know just how hands off that experience is. And if they’re paying for a total hands on, luxury experience, they again need to know just how luxurious that experience is. Does luxury mean you pick up the phone no matter what time of day they call? Or does it mean that you’re there to pick out everything from forks to the signature scent of their home? The difference matters, as that’s what clients are paying for, or not, the difference.
Because the thing is, people need descriptions to make better choices, and to understand the differences between what they’re getting, and what they think they’re getting. Now yes unfortunately sometimes those descriptions allow people to realize that they don’t want something at all, like my N’espresso, but sometimes they actually allow people to realize that they want something more, like more time with you and a higher level of service.
So do whatever you can, to help them do exactly that, with this week’s sweetly simplified action,
SWEETLY SIMPLIFIED ACTION: Review, and update, your service descriptions so they’re more clear and accurate. – Take 30 solid minutes to review your online service descriptions, your “Welcome Packet” descriptions, and corresponding photos, and ask yourself, does this really tell a client what they’re getting when they pay for this service?
Then, ask a friend or a spouse to read it, and repeat back to you what they think they’re getting. Was it right? If not, make the necessary adjustments so neither the client, nor you, will leave the project grumpy from confusion over just what the client was really paying for.
SWEETLY SIMPLE ACTION – EXTRA CREDIT: Add the question, “how did your experience with us, differ from what you were expecting?” to your project wrap up meeting. Take note, then make adjustments on your site, in your packet, and in your initial conversations, to set future clients straight on exactly what they’ll be getting from working with you.
Until next time, just remember, always keep it clear,