Exploiting the customer’s inexperience for personal gain is short-lived

And many formal sellers (consultants, for instance) would be happy to charge, than show you, how to resolve a problem you can, yourself.

I love my plumber. As for my (former) mechanic, not so much. Twice my plumber has refused a job, instead insisting that I resolve it myself. No, he wasn’t being rude; just practical.

The first time was to remove an airlock; the second tighten a leaking joint. In both cases he had already showed me how to do it, I just wasn’t paying attention. When the joint sprung a leak again, he asked to send him an image on WhatsApp. He responded with instructions of how to resolve the problem, and that when done to call him back to confirm all went well. I did as he had instructed and laughed hard at my folly having realised how simple the leak was to fix.  He even told me what caused the leak and what to do to ensure it doesn’t recur.

In a different economy that could pass for consultancy services and as such billable. And many formal sellers (consultants, for instance) would be happy to charge, than show you, how to resolve a problem you can, yourself.  Just as there are sellers who will decline accepting faulty goods sold insisting that you buy others. Or, an insurance company quick to deny a claim because the contract (policy) had lapsed by a day; yet the customer has never claimed in the eight years he’s been with them. These sellers are not much different from my former mechanic. He happily thrived in mercilessly exploiting my ignorance about matters vehicular. But to paraphrase a wise man, “You can fool some people some time, but not all the people all the time.” His chicken came home to roost, and that’s why he is now ‘former’.

Exploiting the customer’s inexperience for gain may appear good for short term commissions but not for long term business. It would be easy for my plumber (just as with the mechanic) to keep showing up with every call and billing for it. But what would that mean? First, caught in the trap of easy money, he would remain tethered to its allure. His professional growth would be limited to fixing simple leaks and airlocks-he would have zero incentive to grow to complex plumbing and piping. Next, just as with the mechanic, he would most likely be ‘former’ if I had discovered for myself how simple fixing the problem was. This is because I would have felt cheated. Finally, I have retained him for nine years now, and given him countless referrals, because he has gained my confidence and trust. He fixes problems (himself, or through me) conclusively. He also admits when he has made an error and won’t charge for correcting it. In such instances though, being an effective salesperson occasionally he will politely state, “Kama fare ya kurudi itapatikana nitashukuru”  (If you can, please give me fare).

What about you? How are you exploiting your customers? What will you do about it?

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