Experience is Reality
Your Experience Creates Your Opinion
Think about the last time you went to a restaurant, hired a plumber, bought a car or took a flight somewhere. In any scenario you can come up with where money was exchanged for goods or services, an experience took place.
The experience you had during that exchange is what you remember more than the product itself.
In fact, a good experience can make an average product seem incredible. But at the same time, a bad experience can make an incredible product seem terrible.
If you’ve paid much attention to the news over the last several months, there have been some pretty terrible experiences aboard airlines. People being treated in ways that they should never be treated. I’m guessing that in every one of those cases, the people involved had taken flights prior to that, but had never experienced such mishandling of their trust.
The experience completely ruined the exact same product.
Your experience has the power to make or break any transaction and leave you feeling great about your purchase, or it can leave you regretting your decision and just dealing with what you got.
Unfortunately, taking care of people is a skill that many folks in business don’t do well, and you end up being the one who has to put up with it if you don’t have (or don’t realize you have) any other options.
Great Food, Bad Service
My wife (Catherine) and I recently celebrated an anniversary. We decided to try a new local restaurant that everyone’s been talking about since it opened a couple months ago. The kids were with my parents and we were excited to celebrate each other and talk about the next year of our lives together.
We arrived 15 minutes before our reservations and were fortunate to be seated right away. However, we weren’t greeted by our server for several minutes after that.
Once the server arrived, we were essentially asked what we wanted and she was off to do other things. No story of the new restaurant, no verbal tour around the interesting menu, nothing.
Just an order taker.
Our appetizer was amazing, but we were provided no side plates so we made quite the mess.
Our salads were to die for and then our entrees came out…
I was half way through my ribeye and Catherine was almost finished with her filet when our server came by and delivered steak knives to us…
…20 minutes after we got our meals!
The dessert was piping hot and absolutely delicious and we were finished with it in no time at all. Fortunately we were in no hurry and were there to enjoy each other and a great meal because the bill did not arrive for quite some time.
Having both worked in the restaurant industry earlier in our lives, we have a keen eye for the service we receive wherever we go. The food in this amazing new restaurant was delicious and on point, but the service was so sub-par that we won’t be going back any time soon.
There are less expensive places to eat which provide a far better experience that I would much rather support with my hard earned money. Which is unfortunate because the food was to die for.
Great Experience, Better Results
At one point in my life I owned (and operated from my garage) a group strength and conditioning gym.
Now, you can find a “fitness professional” in any gym you go to and can find “The Secret” to whatever fitness goal you want to accomplish with a simple google search. The problem is in the self discipline required to do what needs to be done. That’s where a fitness professional really comes in handy.
The trick is to find one that not only knows how to help you reach your goals, but do so in a way that brings lasting change and success. And the only way to do that is to provide a phenomenal experience along with the “product” of fitness that is actually being sold.
That said, I know from the feedback I got (and still get, years after I shut the business down!) that the experience people got from my gym is what made them get such incredible results. It was the people, the atmosphere, the camaraderie and the sharing of sweat and tears that made for such amazing results.
Ultimately, all we were doing was picking up weights and moving quickly. But that alone isn’t what made the difference. You can go to any YMCA or local Planet Fitness and pay cheap monthly fees to do that.
In fact, tons of people have memberships like that… and never use them.
That’s actually the business model most big gyms subscribe to.
Sell cheap monthly memberships with the expectation that 80% of the people who signed up won’t show up after 3 weeks.
Clearly the difference isn’t in the activity itself, it’s in the experience.
Provide the right experience with a superior product and you’ll have people sending you Facebook messages 3 years after they stopped coming asking you to move back to town and train them again because they can’t find anyone else who does what you did…
Great Food, Great Experience
I worked at Ruth’s Chris for several years while I put myself through school, training and the start of my first business. I developed a very repeatable way to build rapport and relationships with my guests that allowed me to give them an experience that no one else would get because it was designed just for them.
What I did and how I served my guests was similar, but at the same time very different because people want different things.
My goal was always to provide great service, but that service was customized for each individual because I truly cared about the experience they had while under my care.
Keep in mind, you can go to any Ruth’s Chris on the planet and get a phenomenal meal.
But there were servers who made a lot of money taking great care of guests who came back and asked for them specifically while there were servers who didn’t make much money at all.
The ones who barely scraped by went through the motions but made no extra effort to go the extra mile (or three!) and provide the experience.
So they never got repeat guests who asked for them and they made half as much money as the professionals who did it right.
Ask the raving fans about their meal and they’ll tell you all about the great service and the great food. Ask the ones who got the so-so service and they’ll say the food was okay but they could’ve gone somewhere else, payed less and gotten the same satisfaction.
Same food, same restaurant, same atmosphere… different experience and therefore a different reality and perceived value of their evening.
The Difference that Makes a Difference
I tell all these stories to illustrate a very important point that is absolutely relevant to new windows, new doors, custom cabinetry, custom trim and millwork or anything else you could do to improve the quality, efficiency and beauty of your home.
The quality of the products you purchase is important and absolutely something to research before making a decision. But the experience you have before, during and after those products are installed will make or break the entire project.
Unfortunately the construction and trades industry is rife with people out to make a quick buck. To get the job done as quickly as possible to collect a check and beat feet as quickly as possible.
Try to call for a warranty issue and you’ll never connect.
Have questions about your current project or one you’d like to get done and you’re lucky to get anyone to call you back.
My own mother spent 2 months leaving messages with different landscaping companies to come and look at a project she wanted done and couldn’t get anyone to return her call.
She was looking for someone to take her money and couldn’t get a call back!!
The reasons for why this is going on are plenty and I talk in depth about a lot of them in this article on the State of the Trades, so I won’t go into it now. But suffice it to say, our industry is hurting and finding quality people who actually care about you as a human being worthy of respect is far too challenging a task.
We’ve been in the customer service and leadership development business (and just so happen to do high quality custom carpentry) for over ten years. Collectively we have well over 100 years of experience within our team and we hire people based on qualities that line up with our core values and our culture instead of experience alone.
Our goal is to earn your trust by showing you that we actually care first, and then ask for you business. Our company has been growing in size as well as our services offered for over ten years and we know the only way to continue that trend is by making sure the people we take care of know we have their backs.
We answer you phone calls.
We respond to your emails.
We show up when we say we will and complete the work we agree upon at the highest standards.
We come back on our dime if something we did needs some attention or adjustment.
We know you need someone you can count on and we strive to be that for you.
We also realize that we could say anything we want and it doesn’t make it true. So I’ll let some of our clients speak about their experiences instead…
“Josh and his team at Finish Point have always provided us and our clients with a 5 star experience. It is a privilege to work with a group of folks full of integrity and who hold extremely high standards for their work. When we ask Josh and his team to perform work we are certain that we are in good hands. From excellent trim detail to clear communication, Finish Point has been and continues to be a valuable partner.”
– David Rhodes, President and Owner of Shmid & Rhodes Construction
“What can you expect from Finish Point? Wonderfully professional craftsmen who take such pride in their work, expertise second to none, with a finished product that will absolutely exceed your expectations.”
– Sue Beverly, Ronald McDonald House
The most important thing when looking to hire someone to help improve the quality, efficiency and beauty of your home is the service that goes with the product. Great Products plus a great experience equals a great life-long relationship and a beautiful home.