As I embark on my Christmas shopping I've been taking a more keen interest in how I buy things and what I feel about pricing. We've also been speaking internally about spending more time 'upfront' in scoping the work that our clients require and therefore being able to give a price based on the scope and the timescale that we've agreed with the client. It all sounds remarkably sensible and you have to ask what's novel about it (if anything). In many ways there's nothing novel about it but lawyers have, for a whole host of reasons, spent years being the butt of many a joke about how they charge and what they charge, so to my mind anything that makes it all a bit clearer is good both for the legal profession and for our clients. I'd be keen to hear from any of my blog followers who are also clients as to what you make of it all. Feedback is king.
The reason I'm now furiously blogging is that I was at another excellent Carters' Business Builder Forum (BBF) this morning, over the bridge in sunny Fife. The subject of the session was 'Increasing profits by increasing sales' and as usual, the BBF was a thought-provoking and informative event (topped off nicely by a bacon roll and a cup of coffee - thanks Peter). The BBF session made me think again about something that I bought recently and the thought process that I went through: my 'buying experience' started about three weeks ago when our TV picture became all pixelated and unwatchable. This was a particular blow as it happened on the Thursday and there was no time to solve the problem before Saturday evening's edition of Strictly (it really doesn’t get much more serious).
I called the TV aerial company who installed our aerial when we moved into our house 7 years ago, explained the problem, arranged a time for the chap to come to the house, and worked from home on the appointed morning. Bang on time the aerial van pulled up outside our house, the technician told me, almost as I opened the front door, what he thought the problem, was (a new 4G transmitter nearby, apparently), he turned on the TV, nodded sagely as he saw the problem, and promptly climbed on to our roof and fixed it.
Twenty minutes later my TV picture was restored to HD crystal clarity and the following Saturday's edition of Strictly (the one from the Blackpool Tower Ballroom) was in the bag. The aerial chap even offered to hoover up the mess he'd made when he opened the hatch to our roof and all sorts of bits came raining down on him and the floor. To summarise, I was delighted, he was clearly an expert (having been able to identify the problem before he even saw it) and Saturday evening's tele-viewing was assured. He then gave me the bill and I promptly wrote him a cheque. The first time a price was mentioned was when he gave me the invoice and yet I was so pleased with his speed and efficiency that I was happy to pay without hesitation.
Our previous conversation didn't involve a discussion about price, but instead relied (I think) on the fact that the price was 'about what I had in mind' (based on what, I don't know) and his level of service was so high that it would have been churlish to argue with him. Food for thought.
Ever the lawyer I have to say that my first thought after the aerial episode was who I could tap for the cost of the new aerial. After all, someone's 4G transmitter seems to be causing havoc with many of the houses in our neighbourhood, which is great for the aerial chap but not great for the rest of us.