Mark Khazanovich - Providing High-End Service
In month four, Mark Khazanovich fills in for Inna to talk about their learnings from the Ron Baker seminar and the importance of vision, clear expectations, and confidence.
I'm sitting in for Inna today. I wanted to take this opportunity to bring you guys up to date on what we learned at the seminary with Ron Baker most recently. The best way to look at this workshop is like a graduate course in value pricing. One of the epiphanies that we had at the seminar was that we would rather have no business than bad business. We have had a a couple customers that we didn't feel were the right fit, so we decided to amiably part ways. That said, we have made a conscious decision to be selective with the customers we move forward with. We're able to position ourselves in a way that they have a good understanding up front that we are a premium firm and that we provide high end service. We're not competing with $12 an hour Craigslist hires if that's what they're looking for.
We did have two opportunities since the seminar to meet with prospective customers and we feel that we did a really great job providing them the value proposition that we offer and having this value conversation. A couple tangible things that really helped shift the way we had this conversation is one, while we always felt that we were listening before, we made sure we were really guiding the conversation through the questions we were asking, rather than the answers we were giving. One of the things that we adapted was first of all, it seems like a little change, but putting the highest priced option first and the lowest priced option last. Additionally, instead of putting things like reconciling accounts and categorizing transactions, we specifically wrote what the customer would receive at the the end as opposed to the tasks that we would be providing for them as part of the service.
One of the things that we've been also working on and gotten better about is setting expectations with our customers up front. A prime example of this are change orders. Our customers know that if they ask us to do something or we feel that there's something that we should be doing that's outside of the scope of their initial service agreement, then what we'll do, and they know we'll do this, is issue a change order. Right now, we have about 50% of our existing customers on fixed pricing. Those of which we had the conversation with really were very amiable to the switch. The rest of our customers, we made a conscious decision to make the shift with them at the end of the year once we planned to re-evaluate their contracts.
One of the things that we're still working on that we still feel we have opportunity to improve on is pricing with our new, and even existing, customers. Everyone that we saw speak at the seminar with Ron and everything that Ron said up until this point, really is that pricing is an art. There's no right price that is one size fits all. We really work hard to identify what our customer's needs are. The thing that has been almost most surprising for us is that going into this, we were the nervous ones and we were concerned that our customers wouldn't like it and the prospective customers wouldn't go for this. It would be too big of a paradigm shift them. However, we found with very few exceptions that our customers were really embracing the fixed price, that they were open to even paying a little bit more, knowing that what they're going to receive at the end of each month. It really felt like our concerns were maybe over-inflated and that really we should have been have been confident from the get-go and that people really do want this.