I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: “You get what you pay for.” Usually there’s a very good reason that something is so inexpensive. It’s essentially disposable, it tastes awful, or will fail exactly at the time when you need it to work.
The same can be said for services. A bargain basement wedding photographer might not bring redundant sets of equipment, and might miss catching your first dance when the battery goes dead. Take your taxes to cut-rate provider Auditron Ten Forty, Inc., and you stand a much higher chance of having your return riddled with mistakes. Or, as Elizabeth over at Broke Professionals concludes, a cheap insurance company is no bargain at all if you’re concerned that they won’t be there to handle your claim when you need them to.
All businesses aren’t created equal … nor should they be
We make decisions all the time with our money and our time. We’re constantly making tradeoffs between money and time, between money and convenience, between money now and money later, and so on. Buying into a cheap service, or being a patron of a company that is bare-bones on customer service, is a tradeoff like everything else.
- Money vs. time. Grocery stores have wide variation in not only products for sale, but also levels of customer service. Go to a grocery store that has prices a bit higher and you’ll probably also find that your checkout experience is faster. The more expensive grocery store lets the checkout lines go only one or two deep, rather than five or six deep.
- Money vs. headaches. Jobs partially or poorly done. Appointments missed. Calls not returned. All of these things mean more effort on your part to get them to do their part. Also known as: headaches. “We’ll be there sometime between twelve and five.” Or not, you’re thinking. “I’ll be there at 12:00, and should be done in time for you to get back to work at 1:00.” How nice! you’re thinking.
- Money vs. liability. This is headaches to the extreme, but a cheap service might expose you to more liability. Risk of a lawsuit could go up because of a cheap accountant, a cheap repairman, or a cheap attorney. A more expensive version of any of these services will likely reduce liability because the bases will be covered.
Does this mean that you should always buy the more expensive service? Of course not. If you know what level of customer service to expect, and you’re OK with that, go for it! It’s completely up to you how you spend — or don’t spend — your money and time.
Long lines at the grocery store don’t usually bother me. We live less than a mile from a Walmart, so travel time is negligible. That lets us stand in line for five minutes and still be ahead in the grand scheme of things. Staying at home to wait from a service call isn’t a huge deal if you can telecommute, you work at home, or if your family will be home anyway. And, not that this is a strength of mine, but if you can be confident doing your own repairs, then fixing up someone else’s “quick” work isn’t troublesome.
Where do you draw the line with customer service? How little customer service are you willing to put up with?