Thanks for reading my blogs so far.
This blog will be slightly differ in content than all of my guitar related blogs, whereby it focuses on more about the business side of guitar teaching and how to apply this to any business.
I recently had a bad experience with a Hotel in Paris that has inspired me to write a blog. Having experienced this situation made me think more closely about customer service and business expectations. Think a negative experience like this can be turned on it’s head to prevent future occurrences.
So the little facts:
The room was 200 euros a night – so although this was Paris and an expensive city, you’d expect a fairly decent size room and decent customer service. The room was very small and nothing like on the photos from the website.
The waiter/chef that dealt with cooking and delivering the breakfast was consistency late throughout our stay and often made mistakes with the orders. This was combined with poor communication with the reception staff which meant even more mistakes.
The receptionist on the last day was very rude, argumentative and gave us a bill that was way over what we’d expected. This was due to various mistakes of the previous receptionists and waiter/chef, meaning that we had been charged extra for their incompetence.
So after having this experience I was clearer about:
Price – Being one of the most expensive teachers in Berkshire, I often get asked why i’m so expensive. So I explain that i’m in a different league to my competitors and can fully justify my prices by the following:
- excellent teaching facilities – Great valve amps, Mac with great speakers, whiteboard and utilising a wide range of interactive teaching materials like backing tracks and home made pdfs
- 6 month reviews that cater for every age and ability with clear aims, guidelines. This provides parents with feedback and gets rid of the beauracracy of weekly homework (pupils spend time on different sections of their review every week)
- Homemade transcriptions (that are produced outside of lessons) on Guitar pro that pupils can access at home for the pieces that they are learning.
- Annual school concerts with a pro backing band, free blogs, tweets, emails, dropbox access etc etc
So with the price comes expectations and this Hotel clearly did not deliver.
I’ve also realised that a local music shop (despite me sending a few of my pupils there for cheap guitar setups) was asking my pupils how much I charge. When they found out how much, they suggested a name of one of my competitors (just on the price alone!). So although I tad disappointed to hear this from my pupil (they are obviously still with me as they know i’m worth that little extra), this was a lesson in realising their whole business was positioned around cheapness. The qualities of the guitars, leads, and everything else was cheap and sub standard.
I now recommend one of the best guitar tech’s in the country who sets up Slash’s and Ronnie Wood’s guitars.
When you take this guitar to this guy, he sits you down and has a chat about your instrument and is keen to get to know you. After he’s done a stellar job on your guitar (he makes it infinitely better sounding then when it came out of the shop) he’ll provide you with a sheet explaining every single adjustment he may have made.
So ‘you get what you pay for’ isn’t always a true reflection on a service or product as we’ve seen:
- If the Hotel hired more competent staff and a waiter/chef that turned up on time then they would begin to justify their prices.
The local music shop serves a need for start up guitarists as they do offer cheap products and parents often don’t want to spend much on their child’s guitar. They will however refer you to local tutors with price just in mind. This could lead you wasting years and lots of money on a tutor that isn’t good enough. Quite a few of my pupils have come from these local competitors.
- The new guitar tech and myself charge more than our competitors but are worth it. Obviously just being expensive doesn’t necessarily mean great as we’ve seen from the Hotel.
So to conclude:
- When looking to purchase a service or product the business should make it clear what the customer is getting. (I send out a 2 page document for every new student detailing expectations).
- Provide some sort of discount if your service hasn’t lived up to your offering. (The Hotel should’ve offered a discount on our stay). I’ve made a few mistakes in the past (double booking, had to cancel last minute) – I rectified the situation by offering their next lesson for free.
- Price can be misleading – The music shop offers cheap equipment, they may refer you to other cheap services that may not be of a good standard. The Hotel was over priced. The guitar tech and myself can justify our prices way beyond our competitors. Think the key here is to be clear about what you are/are not getting.
Hope you’ve found this blog useful – feel free to add any experiences of your own/suggestions for improvement!
You can find me on twitter @jsmusicschool for regular free guitar tweets