Question – What do the following services have in common, from the standpoint of ongoing use?
1. Cleaning lady or service company
2. Lawn service
3. Snow removal service
4. Financial Adviser
Let’s put it in a scenario… You decide that one of these services is to be farmed out – say, house cleaning. That is, you are too lazy, too busy or too whatever to do it yourself. So, you check around and find what appears to be a suitable person or service org. Most of these arrangements are informal, so you say go ahead and they start.
The first few times, maybe even more, are wonderful. If it is a cleaning service, your house is clean and tidy, including places you didn’t think of or didn’t want to think of. You are delighted. You can live in your mother’s standards without effort! Yay, freedom.
A period of time elapses when this continues and you settle into complacency around the service. It just happens as a given.
Then, slowly, the service starts to decline. It is not startling or extreme, just not up to the same standard here and there. A new lower standard settles in and that is what is permanent, not what you contracted for. If you are busy and not looking at it too closely, you may not notice for a while. The provider is too busy or rushed for everything, corners get cut, etc. It is slow creep…
You are paying the same, maybe even incrementally more, and have the same service level expectations. So why is this?
It is like they are on trial for a while, but that is not the real service level. You only see the real level once you are in the bag as a customer and you relax.
There is something wrong here! Isn’t the whole point that you should be able to relax with the assurance that the job is being done?
Now, I don’t have an answer other than vigilance and changing provider occasionally (a pain in the rear end). But this phenomena seems so prevalent in service areas that it is a sociological study in the making. Any Sociology PhD students out there looking for thesis?
I am also willing to bet that this generalizes more widely, but that would be outside of my direct anecdotal experience to date. You can draw you own conclusions.