Some of you may know that I recently moved from the Chicago area to Raleigh after some 35 years.
While I have moved away from many close family members and old friends, the person I will probably miss the most is Mr. Lee (who, like my elementary school teachers, has no known first name).
Mr. Lee runs a humble shop called North Town Auto, and took care of our out-of-warranty cars, both domestic and foreign, for many years. It helped that he was only 2 blocks from us in Northbrook (convenient to the Metra Station!). And while there are probably mechanics who could do a certain thing for a slightly lower price. I would use Mr. Lee even if it required a drive to get there.
The reason? Peace of mind. Peace of mind that the car would be fixed correctly, that I would not overpay, that I would not pay for unnecessary repairs, that things would be done on time, that if he said I needed to do something, then I actually needed to do it. That there was service with respect and a smile. No worries, as they say.
I had complete loyalty to Mr. Lee. And when it comes to loyalty, peace of mind turns out to be a huge competitive advantage.
Americans spend a lot on lots of stuff. They generally don’t seem to mind spending a lot.
However, Americans HATE the thought that they might be over-spending. And they don’t want to worry about it.
Think about institutions that offer what Mr. Lee does:
- fair price (not necessarily the lowest)
- high quality
- consistency in delivery – no surprises
- customer focus – great service, you don’t need to be on guard
Here are a few that come to mind that deliver great peace of mind:
- COSTCO – – once I pass through those portals with my oversized shopping cart, I’m pretty sure that anything I put in my cart is a great deal and great quality (even if in the back of my rational mind I realize that some things are better value than others)
- Trader Joe’s – – great value, interesting selection, fun experience – 2-Buck Chuck!
- Amazon Prime – – I know my selections will be delivered on time and at no cost
- Tire Rack – – awesome customer service, great pricing, instant shipping – – it’s the only way to go
- Online window treatments – seriously – – it’s so automated and competitive that you’re not going to make a big mistake
- Spirit Airlines (just kidding!)
Here are a few organizations that seem to fall down on the peace of mind continuum – – you might be overpaying, you’re not sure of the quality delivered, etc. And that bugs you.
- 1-800-Flowers – – sometimes works, sometimes doesn’t
- Chipotle – – unfortunately moved from the other list – – love their food, but still have a vestige of doubt
- Car Dealers – – sorry, guys – no change
- Movers, painters, realtors, various local contractors – – until you build a track record like Mr. Lee, you’re not on my speed dial.
Why is peace of mind so important? Because we’re so stressed with just the basics of surviving from day to day that we need to simplify and eliminate unnecessary decisions.
While Mr. Lee is a small businessman, the Peace of Mind list includes enterprises of all sizes. We all have our examples of who provides peace of mind and who doesn’t (would love to hear about yours).
In the end, it’s about delivering consistent, dependable value. And that’s good advice for everyone.