A few years ago, my shower fixture was dripping. I, being a devout procrastinator, waited to do something about it until it became a trickle. When I called a plumbing company that my wife had used once before when I was out of town and told them what was going on and asked to have someone come out and give me a quote, fully expecting to be charged $50 for a diagnosis fee. The receptionist said that it would be $125 to fix the problem. We scheduled the appointment for the next day.
The plumber shows up on time. He takes the fixture apart and spends well over an hour fidgeting with it. He then tells me it’s going to be $400 to correct the problem. There was an issue with the way the hot water heater had been installed originally and the hot water was melting the pipe that was feeding it to my shower.
If they had come out and prepared a quote for the $400 repair, I may have had to pay $450. Instead I paid $525 for his time the day before and the actual repair. I will probably never use that plumbing company again because the receptionist prescribed a repair without their technician doing the proper diagnosis first.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
I’m willing to bet that 80-90% of the time when someone’s shower is leaking, it’s the $125 fix that takes care of it. However, for the 10-20% that it’s not, the plumbing company is doing the customer a disservice.
I received a call yesterday from a company that was wanting to purchase Sage 100 ERP and a bar coding solution. They didn’t want to answer any questions. They just wanted a price. Unfortunately, this person doesn’t really know what he needs. He thinks he knows what he wants. If I were to just go and give him pricing and he purchases it, when it doesn’t do what he’s thinking he wants, who is he going to blame?
Doctors Who Prescribe Without Diagnosing Kill
A few years ago, I heard Ed Kless say “prescription without diagnosis is malpractice”. I think of Rush Limbaugh and his oxycontin abuse as an example. Michael Jackson and his personal physician are another example, which Ed has referenced. Both of them were telling their doctors what they needed and they got the prescriptions they asked for without the physicians first looking into the root cause of their problems. You might argue that Rush Limbaugh was physician shopping and using fake names but when a guy walks in paying cash and wants a prescription for painkillers, there are questions that need to be asked.
What Do We Do?
As a knowledge worker, what do you do when a customer comes to you telling you they know what they need and you just need to sell it to them? Comments welcome below.