We all love to give the customer exactly what they want. That can mean a custom service every time. But if everything’s custom, it could mean you spend a lot of time scoping, quoting and proposing. You have to start at the very beginning for every job, which adds time and cost. Perhaps it’s time to look at some productised services. If the service is the same every time, wouldn’t your life be easier?
What are productised services?
‘Productised services’ are basically standard service offerings rather than custom ones.
Think about offers to steam clean three rooms for a set price. The standard cost of a car rego inspection. Building a project home. These are all examples of where a service has been standardised so there is little variation.
What are the benefits of productised services?
Firstly, for the business offering a productised service, it can make many things so much easier.
If you offer a standard service, you can have a standard process and a standard cost. Your marketing is also easier. You have a standard offer which you can promote everywhere, with a price and a timeline as well.
Secondly, for both the business and the customer, there’s a lot more certainty. When you offer a productised service you tend to specify upfront what’s included and what’s not. That gives the buyer more clarity. Even if you have add-on modules, or you negotiate a variation from a standard productised service, at least you are starting from shared expectations.
Unless your service is brand new, as a business you can also use testimonials from someone who bought the exact same thing. That can be very powerful in helping prospects decide to buy.
1. Let’s start with our own content support marketing packages. Here we have a standard service package with all the developments included and then we have couple of add ons that we can do for you.
2. I know a demolition expert. Marc removes tiles, floors and so on builders go in to start the renovation proper. Traditionally in this industry, every renovation would be different, so he’d have to visit each site, measure up and quote a custom price. Instead, he’s looked at the different kinds of demolition and removal he does, then come up with standard pricing square meter for each. So now it’s really easy for his client, the main renovation project manager. All that person has to do is measure up the square meters and they’ve got a price.
3. What about online food ordering? Gloria Food offer a productised service for restaurants who want to add online ordering and delivery to their websites. The core product is actually free, then they make their money from the add ons. Hosting a website, marketing opportunities to the client database, online credit card processing and so on.
What’s the downside?
The key challenge is that there will be some variation in the clients who buy your productised service. Sometimes, you may find things take more time or money than you had expected.
For example, let’s look at our content marketing support service.
One part of the service is that we’ll source 5 to 10 potential feature images for your blog post. Depending on your business and your blog topic, that might be really quick or it might take a long time. And what happens if you don’t like any images we offer you? If a client has very specific ideas about the images they want, we could spend hours or days going backwards and forwards to decide one image.
So our solution to this risk is to set a limit. If we’ve delivered 10 images and you don’t like any of them, we have a clause saying it’s now your responsibility to source the image. We’ll still license it and optimise it for SEO – those are part of the service too. But we’re not going to spend hours looking for the image itself. So we’ve limited our risk.
(In real life we’re flexible around the client, especially for new clients, where we’re still learning style and preferences. But we are still protected if we need to be.)
What about people who don’t want everything in your service package?
You will always find some people who want to negotiate. ‘I don’t want an article in my LinkedIn profile so can I have a discount?‘
Be very careful about agreeing to such discounts. Yes, these clients want less, but they want a customised service. It may be more bother for you in terms of process, and you won’t necessarily save a lot of time or money cost.
Microsoft don’t give you a discount on Office because you don’t want to use Powerpoint, or the review functions in Word. You don’t get a discount on the all-you-can-eat buffet meal because you only heap your plate once. The model works because everyone gets the same, whether they want it or not.
So listen to what your client wants to change, and decide what it means for you. There is nothing wrong with saying ‘We can do that for you, but it won’t change the price because we have a standard process and we’ll be deviating from that for you, which means we don’t save any time overall.’
You don’t need to productise everything
We standardised our content marketing services. We also have a partially productised service for ongoing consulting. The topics covered may vary from client to client, but if we’re working in a standard monthly model, the process and pricing are consistent.
But we haven’t even tried to productise projects. Each project we do is a custom service for a specific client with specific needs. It might be integrating software, or setting up automations, or running a telemarketing campaign. They’re all different and we don’t do enough similar projects to standardise them..
Remember, it’s about doing what works for you and helps your client!