The concept of empathetic competent convenience has been studied at Harvard University for some time now.
When salespeople display warmth (compassionate empathy), they are signalling an earnest intent to help. Competence is showing others that you know what you’re talking about. All that’s left is to deliver your solution in a convenient way, and you will garner a premium price.
It’s empathetic competent convenience that customers want from residential home service providers.
Centuries back, Jeremy Bentham introduced a philosophy that would later shape our perspective of products and services. Bentham introduced the moral theory of utilitarianism. Consumer convenience is anchored on this theory.
In a nutshell, the principle of utilitarianism states that all individuals act by default to do two things:
- Maximize their pleasure
- Minimize their pain
This means that customers are weighing the positives and negatives of their buying decisions. The amygdala is assessing this subconsciously 5 times every second.
Therefore, empathetic competent convenience becomes the most critical selling factors.
In this article, we’ll explain what empathetic competent convenience is and discuss its relevance in the home services industry. Finally, we’ll give you some tips on how to implement it for your customers.
There are three types of empathy — compassionate empathy, cognitive empathy, and emotional empathy. The empathy we are alluding to is compassionate empathy. Compassionate empathy is understanding another person’s difficulty and being moved to help them.
When an unfamiliar person is invited into your home, you want to know that they are safe. They are on high alert for signals that you aren’t there to harm, bamboozle, or otherwise take advantage of their vulnerability.
This has been baked into our DNA since the evolution of the human species. The amygdala does a threat assessment an astounding 5 times every second! This is what has allowed the human race to persist.
Trust is a fragile privilege, and the very first thing we need to communicate with prospects is that we have their best interest at heart.
As compassionate empathy is established, buyers are assessing your ability to do the job right the first time. If you appear to lack a depth of knowledge, buyers will begin to doubt the purchase. This spells sales death to the unskilled and unsure techs that you send out into the field.
Competence is displayed through confidence, including being able to explain the situation so a sixth grader will understand, eye contact, and a calm demeanor.
At our CORE, we are vigilant about protecting 3 underlying felt needs — our money, energy, and time. When a salesperson or tech is unable to demonstrate competence in their speech and body language, a buyer will not feel good about making the purchase. They will be worried that the seller will waste their time and money, leading to negative resonance (energy) in the form of stress, frustration, and anxiety.
As empathetic competence is established, it all boils down to a measure of convenience. When a relational buyer feels you have their best interest at heart and are capable of delivering the proposed solution, they will pay a reasonable premium for the convenience you offer.
Convenience is all about time. While a transactional shopper will spend their time to save money, a relational buyer will spend their money to save time. Nobody wants to deal with a broken water heater or HVAC system. The faster you can get them up and running, the better.
This matters in particular to those who value their time more than their money. These folks have more of a thriving mindset and often feel busy. When they trust you are the right person to do the job, it’s your sale to lose. When you have the ability to offer convenience, you earn the right to ask more than your competition.
“Until you’ve established empathetic competent convenience, whatever you sell will be based on price.” -Ryan Chute
The Feeling of Convenience
Oxford Dictionary defines convenience as the state of being able to proceed on something with minor difficulty or little effort. The goal of every business is to provide convenience at every reasonable touchpoint, before, during, and after the sale is made and delivered.
You elevate customer satisfaction when people get what they want without much trouble to them. Let’s dissect this thought a bit.
What do customers want from their residential equipment?
- Reasonable prices/payments
- Durable and efficient products
- Worry-free services (before, during, and after)
- Quick turnaround times
- Satisfying outcomes
Now, if a customer could get all this for free, they would. Wouldn’t you? However, you’re probably not running a charity. Every exchange of goods and services comes at a price. Whether transactional shoppers or relational buyers, the investment is always money, energy, and time. That’s why these are your customers underlying felt needs. You need to justify these 3 expenses for them to buy.
While transactional shoppers weigh their money at a higher value than their time, relational buyers place more weight on their time. This is all based on their mindset. The more people feel they are in or moving toward survival mode, then more transactional they will act. As more pressure is placed on their time, the more people will pay money to alleviate that pressure. This comes from a place of abundance (or the aspiration for abundance).
Think of the convenience of online shopping:
We pay a bit more per item to get our goods delivered to use, plus a delivery fee, right?
- Save time on travel and shopping time.
- Save a couple bucks driving to the store.
- Save ourselves the stress, frustration, and anxiety of the time we waste, people we encounter, and effort of the task itself.
Ironically, even if buying in-person will save them money, they choose convenience because the time and hassle it saves avoids negative energy.
People are built to avoid negative energy. That’s essentially everything we do for our entire life.
However, there’s just one problem.
Despite the convenience, we lose our minds when that convenience turns into a frustration. Time delays, callbacks, premature breakdowns, schedule bumps , and price changes all add to the negative vibe.
Convenience is king, but without an empathetic and competent sale, installation, and after sale care, your business will remain at a disadvantage. You can never use convenience as a trade-off for competency.
Businesses that provide empathetic competent convenience understand the value of customer satisfaction and work hard to deliver it. Especially since it takes extra effort to convert customers in the residential home services industry. I’ll explain later.
If you want to stand 600 ft. above your competition, Empathetic competent convenience must be your default setting. Wizard of Sales® is the master strategist that can help you make this a reality. Book a call.
Customers Always Want Convenience
Empathetic competent convenience is a given requirement in any industry. However, it’s an even more critical criterion for customers in the residential home services industry.
Because no one likes buying from home service businesses. Yes, even you (we think you’re lovely though).
Being an HVAC contractor, a plumber or a roofer, among others, means one thing. You’re selling externally triggered, grudge purchases.
This means that a client’s motivation to hire your services is not motivated internally or prompted by their “wants.” Instead, their motivation is driven externally. Something bad happens, the buyer is forced to deal with it, and ytou sell what they need.
In other words, they don’t WANT to buy your products or services, they HAVE to.
Buying the latest iPhone for two grand is fine. Replacing the water heater is diabolical. And you’re a monster for charging a $99 diagnostic fee.
So how does empathetic competent convenience come into play?
Selling empathetic competent convenience is the secret value stack that help counterbalance the injustice of having this awful situation forced upon them. Essentially, you’re juicing up the positive energy in the negative situation to get your buyer back to a baseline of happiness (positive resonance). This then increases the ratio of pleasure over pain in the user experience.
“A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” — Mary Poppins
Here’s the rub. Customers are willing to pay a reasonable premium for the most competent and convenient services amongst all the solutions available. All things being equal, they are going to buy from the one they feel the best about.
When you deliver empathetic competent convenience better, you win. Otherwise, wouldn’t Dan in the Van be the richest man in town?
Things That Are Not Going To Change in the Next 10 Years
When asked about what’s going to change in the next decade, Jeff Bezos said he had a more interesting question. He asked:
“What’s NOT going to change in the next 10 years?”
With all the technology at our disposal, a lot of things are bound to change eventually. However, the Amazon CEO understands that there are foundational truths that will remain constant, regardless of external changes that may occur.
According to Bezos, there are three primary things that are not going to change in the next 10 years. These are low prices, broad selection,and speedy service.
All of this broadly speaks to empathetic competent convenience. However, If you haven’t noticed, everything he mentions also links to a buyer’s underlying felt needs.
Let me explain.
This is a need that is deeply ingrained in every human being. A customer’s desire for affordability will never change because all things being equal, buyers will gravitate toward the lowest prices. It means you wouldn’t pay $100 for an equally competent and reliable service if you can get it for $50.
“Until you make it more than price, it will always be about price.”
The propensity for low prices addresses the most common of the 3 felt needs, which is money. Money is measurable and finite. Money is tangible.
People want to get the best bang for their buck. It’s your job to show buyers the difference between the lowest price and the cheapest price. Providing empathetic competent convenience is not about having the cheapest price. It’s about having the best solution.
Indeed, cheap prices are alluring, but the value always outweighs cheap in the home services industry.
If the only sales proposition you offer is being the cheapest price in the market, you’ll only sell the cheapskates. Only when you value proposition includes money, energy, and time, can you hope to ask more than the lowest price.
It’s a different story if you charge a reasonable premium for a superior value proposition. This helps you stand above the crowded marketplace. When you develop an offer other businesses dared not tread, you win. This is called your perfectly fair competitive advantage. This begins with empathetic competent convenience.
For instance, say your competitors are all offering a free in-home diagnostic. Your empathetic competent convenience could be to charge a diagnostic fee BUT waive the fee if you provide the repair. This tells buyers that your service is worthwhile and valuable. Waiving with repair is empathetic, and convenient.
Why do customers want a broad selection? Because they want to find everything they need in one place. Sound convenient? Offering a broad selection allows the customer to feel they have “shopped” without having to bounce between different providers.
Amazon gives you loads of choices all in one place. Do you regularly feel compelled to bounce to a different site if all the desirable choices are already in front of you?
Hosting a broad selection is convenient. And convenience is less time consuming. And saving time reduces stress.
Can you offer a broad selection without having the burden of carrying all the inventory? Are there ways you can create this appearance of inventory depth without bogging down the process? If you can, you are making things more convenient.
Customers don’t want to waste time on figuring out a grudge purchase. I’d argue that most people are desperate for a residential home service company they can trust. Offering what appears to be a broad selection is the epitome of empathetic competent convenience.
Internally triggered, impulse purchases chase the dopamine. It’s actually the anticipation that triggers the dopamine release, rather than the thing itself. The same is true for an externally triggered, grudge purchase. For a grudge purchase, the release comes when life returns to normal.
That means you gotta make it go away quick! The sooner the better.
According to Bezos, speedy delivery is the last expectation that won’t change in the next 10 years, and rightfully so. With technological advancements, instant gratification is more and more prevalent.
Amazon can deliver 8 trucks of goods in 45 minutes in their power centers if called upon. No messing around.
Can you? If not, why not?
When your competition can, they are likely to have first crack at the sale.
The demand for fast-acting services seems to be founded in time, but it’s not. It’s actually the anxiety, stress, and frustration people are trying to unload.
Whether you care more about time or money, what it all comes down to is relieving stress and being happy. In the end, time and money are interchangeable, and both are exchanged to bring about relief.
Those who can expertly deliver empathetic competent convenience are the ones who will own the market.
Your clients are fully aware that they can find empathetic competent convenience elsewhere. More importantly, they are willing to pay a reasonable premium for it.
Therefore, if you’re not offering empathetic competent convenience, you’re really not offering anything special at all. It really doesn’t matter what your price is if you can’t deliver the service they want quickly.
To be a residential home service contractor that sells empathetic competent convenience, you have to hit the aforementioned trifecta. Otherwise, you’re just another Chuck in a Truck.
Selling Empathetic Competent Convenience
Needless to say, the way to etch your brand in your market and ensure your longevity is through empathetic competent convenience. This is what customers are willing to pay a premium for — quality service that’s rendered quickly, efficiently, at a reasonable price.
The empathetic competent convenience you offer must be able to solve the customer’s problem from start to finish. When you exceed your customers’ expectations, they’ll demand you grow.
It would be helpful to have a system in place so you can easily upsell/cross sell your services. If there are roof repairs, for example, you can then provide them with options. Upselling not only benefits the customer but also allows you to increase your average ticket size and profitability.
This way, your empathetic competent convenience is designed to save your customer money, energy, and time.
Ultimately, selling empathetic competent convenience means they won’t have to worry about the quality or timeliness of your service. They must also be able to sit back and relax, knowing that they’re in capable hands whenever they contact you.
The question is, “Where would you like your business to be in the next 10 years”?
Example of A Real-life Empathetic Competent Convenience Service Provider
A stunning example of empathetic competent convenience in the residential home service industry is Wow 1 Day Painting. This is one of Brian Scudamore’s companies out of O2E brands.
What they do is offer their services at a premium price, yet their unique value proposition justifies their asking price. Wow 1 Day Painting, as the name suggests, completes painting your entire house in only one day. This job would normally take other painting companies at least three days to three weeks to finish.
Imagine leaving your unpainted house in the morning and returning to an entirely painted home. This is quite an option for a busy homeowner. People who crave minimal disruption love this service. Wow 1 Day Painting is empathetic competent convenience at its finest.
Because of their quality service, they have built a solid reputation in the industry. It’s this kind of empathetic competent convenience that has made them a household name and a runaway success.
Their example teaches all of us that services can shift a customer’s pricing perception if the solutions truly speak to empathetic competent convenience.
Customers Prefer Convenience On Their Terms, Not Yours
You need to speak to the underlying felt needs. Forget about all the boring bits that they would already expect to receive. Think about how your offer goes beyond what others would immediately say, “me too”!
To succeed in empathetic competent convenience, you want to speak to them about what matters to them most. Remember, it starts with money, until you make it about more than money.
Are your techs displaying compassionate empathy? Are they actively listening? Are they committed to helping people win in a trustworthy and grateful manner?
Do they have the skills to deliver your solutions with confidence? Have they received sufficient training?
Can you get your prospects back up and running quickly? Effortlessly? Affordably?
Buyers are motivated by six things. Fear, shame, and guilt drive people to purchase as much as identity, purpose, and adventure. All motivations are in a bid to belong.
Abraham Maslow himself suggested that 65 percent of the population are chasing the need to belong. These 6 motivators are all driving the brain chemistry to “keep up with the Joneses”.
Your empathetic competent convenience allows buyers to feel as though your business is the right fit. Once you align your solutions, beliefs, and values with their beliefs and perceptions, you become their chosen provider because of your empathetic competent convenience.
Customers are Willing to Pay A Premium
Empathetic competent convenience is a valuable commodity in this day and age. Customers are willing to forego their attraction to cheap prices if the premium option gives them exactly what they need.
The key here is to satiate clients with your unique and compelling value proposition that they can’t resist. You can’t do that unless you have a clear understanding of your audience’s underlying felt needs, pain points, and pleasure points.
In an era where providing cheap services rather than quality services pervades, empathetic competent convenience requires real salesmanship. However, with the right understanding of your market, you can have a perfectly fair competitive advantage over your competitors.
How Can You Provide Empathetic Competent Convenience For Your Customers?
It begins with understanding the competitive landscape in your community. Questions like:
- What are your customers’ preferences and priorities?
- Why do you do what you do?
- Who is the go-to provider for residential home services? Why?
- What are the best-selling products and services in your market?
- What can you consistently do better?
These sorts of questions are instrumental in helping you craft the perfectly compelling solutions your market needs. Just remember that your CORE Competence should revolve around your customers needs, not you.