Sharp brands know their customers, their competitors and their markets inside out. Research is invaluable in this understanding.

The Value Of Research

Selby ran a gas station in Toronto and was always looking for ways to make the customers happier at his gas station than the one down the road.

He wondered if offering full service for the same price as self-service might boost business. You know the picture – friendly fellow fills the tank, wipes the windshield and you don’t even have to get out of the car. So he dropped the price of full service to that of self service.

It didn’t work. No change in the number of people choosing full service.

Hmmm. How about cheaper?

Even with a 30 cents difference, self-service continued to dominate. Why was that?

Selby decided to ask the customers. He stood around, sipping coffee out of a cardboard cup, affable and relaxed as ever, chatting to the people paying more for self-service.

Eventually he got the answer, short and sharp – “I don’t wanna speak to anyone.” – and the penny (shall we say cent) dropped.

Selby put the prices back as they were and focused his efforts on making self-service as swift and effortless as possible.

That worked.

The Dent Consultancy wasn’t involved in this example. However, Selby was Adrian Dent’s grandfather.

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