This past weekend I visited some friends in Columbia, South Carolina and they shared horror stories of a trio of rats that have invaded their house’s walls.
One of those stories was in reference to dealing with a rodent extermination company. This company (that shall remain nameless) explained that there were visit fees for one of their representatives to come out to the house the first two times to handle some major problems.
After that, my friends could sign up for a monthly service to bring out traps and baits as well as remain on call for any big issues that would arise (such as a rat once again chewing a hole in the big plastic dog food tub in the kitchen).
Unfortunately, the service isn’t guaranteed to work – especially for rats. And the subscription fees remain in place until you cancel. (I don’t know if there is a set length of contract with early termination fee.)
There’s the disconnect – the exterminator expects to be paid to use his tools, set up some traps and baits, and react to rats getting into the house. My friends are expecting to pay for a service to get rats out and keep them out.
And if the residents of the house aren’t receiving the actual solved problem for which they’re paying, why must they pay?
The point is to know why you’re being paid.
I’m not paying to refuel my car. I’m paying to gain additional travel capacity and the ability to get to and from work quickly.
You’re not paid to flip burgers. You’re paid to meet the customer’s expectation of a hot, delicious burger as quickly as possible.
Customers don’t pay for food at the concession stand. They pay for hunger satisfaction, preferably in a tasty manner, as quickly as possible with the expectation that the food is safe and at the optimum temperature.
You’re not paid to trim bushes and mow lawns. You’re paid to maintain an attractive landscaping condition.
I’m not paid to do lean. I’m paid to show organizations how they can save money, time, and resources and if my capabilities can show them how, great! I can apply lean tools all day long, but if the customer isn’t seeing the return on their time and money investments in me why should they pay?
You don’t pay the Starbucks barista to run the machine. You pay Starbucks for their unique and delicious coffee taste as well as the brand on your coffee cup as a status symbol.
I’m not paying you to do my taxes. I’m paying you to save my time from having to learn tax codes and conduct extraneous research, plus paying you to maximize my tax refund.
They’re not paying you to take pictures at their wedding. They’re paying you to capture the memories and expressions experienced at their event so they can be shared again and again with attendees and each other.
I don’t pay you to fix my roof. I’m paying you to prevent the defect or deterioration from ever occurring again.
Remember – you aren’t paid to simply follow a process. You are paid to satisfy the customer expectation of solving a problem or roadblock.