Creating strong client relationships is built on a 3-legged stool…
- Excellent service
- Low prices
- Great products/services
And the presumption has always been… you can deliver on two… but never on all three. E.g. You can be fast and cheap – but the quality won’t be so great. Or, you can turn it around quickly with great products – but it’ll cost you.
I have always believed this to be true – not just in MR but in every industry – until I went wine shopping with a friend of mine at Beltway Fine Wine & Spirits, just outside of Baltimore, Maryland.
This is the first business – of any kind – that manages to deliver on all three. And the customers take notice. I’ve now been to this store on several occasions and every time I go, there is a line of cars through the parking lot and out onto the street.
Here’s the scenario…
Great products: They’ve got it all… wines ranging from $5/bottle to $500/bottle – every brand, every type. And it’s not just wine… every liquor and beer imaginable is also here – whatever your tastes, they’ve got what you want. All in a building the size of a small grocery store.
Low prices: Yup, got that, too. Their prices are as good or better than any other outlet I’ve seen – other liquor stores, grocery stores and even the warehouse stores.
Terrific service: Here’s where they really shine. First, they make shopping carts available – because they know you’re not coming in for just one bottle. Second, there are signs all over the place – not only the ones in the in the aisles for categorizing the various products in specific places on the shelves, but also a detailed description underneath each product to help you with your buying decision. There’s enough information on these cards to encourage you to try a new wine (brilliant!). But they’re not done… they also have an army of well-trained customer services reps/booze experts walking the aisles to answer questions and help you find products.
It’s a remarkable experience to go into this store… and because they’re hitting on all 3 cylinders, the store is a veritable cash machine. My hat goes off to them.
So what about your research business?
- As a research firm, can you deliver fast turnaround at low prices and still uncover the deepest insights?
- As a fieldwork firm, can you recruit quickly at low prices and still provide highly qualified respondents?
- As a technology vendor, can you deliver an elegant software platform at low prices and still provide lightning-quick tech support?
I never said this would be easy… in fact, until I saw that liquor store, I thought it was impossible. But it should be the goal of every market research firm to build the 3-legged stool. Do that, and you’ll be building a competitive advantage that will be impossible to overcome.