Educating the Consumer: Budget and the Mind of the Customer
Written by Maker Success Team member Heather Bailey.
Having something custom built is a new experience for most people. I must confess, before I began working at CustomMade, I had NO idea how much it would cost to have, let’s say, a custom bookshelf crafted for me. And if someone pressed me to come up with the price, I would have probably come up with a number that I’ve seen on the price tags in Ikea because, let’s face it, that’s what I knew. Up until this point in my life, mass-made products are the only things I’ve been exposed to; therefore, those are the prices that I was familiar with. Luckily, my time at CustomMade has served to educate me about the custom process and in turn, the cost of custom work. It’s helped me direct customers properly and interact with makers. Although, in the spirit of honesty, maker Randy Weersing recently informed me that an Alder Stool is not a style of stool but it references the type of wood used. As you can see, the learning process continues!
Though I’ve had the chance to understand the cost differences between teak and pine, not all consumers have had the same opportunity. Understanding the custom process is certainly not considered “common knowledge”. In fact, my old assumptions regarding the cost of something, i.e. retail vs. custom work, is actually a fairly accurate portrayal of how a majority of consumers think. But as I said before, it’s simply an act of drawing on what is familiar. But a little patience and education goes a long way.
So what does this mean for us at CustomMade? As a maker, you’re probably familiar with our Maker Success Team, but did you know we have a hard working Customer Success Team as well? It is their responsibility to ensure that customers understand how to use the site as well as educating them on the custom process (and it’s cost) in general.
Since makers are actually the continuing point of contact for customers coming onto the site, there are things you can do to educate a consumer too! We’ve talked to many customers and makers who have helped us put together helpful tips for this very instance.
- Details help - The more details you can provide the customer, the more the customer will understand why something is going to cost what it costs. For example: Although going down, the price of gold is very high right now, unless you’re in the jewelry business, this isn’t something the average customer has a beat on, explain that fact to them and they’ll be able to understand better the cost of something.
- Be a Coach and a Cheerleader - To most customers, custom is new, custom is exciting but most of all custom is foreign. Approach every potential customer with that in mind and you’ll be able to communicate with them in a way that will make them want to work with you. Coach them through the design process and cheer them on when they decide to move forward with you.
- Quality Rules - You make a quality product, there’s no doubt about it. More often than not a customer will happily pay a little extra for quality once they’re sure that they’re going to get something that will last them a lifetime. By going into detail regarding your process and materials, you’re helping to assure them of quality.
- Be Patient - In the long run a little patience goes a long way. By taking the time to kindly assist any potential customer you’re serving to convince them that your services are worth the money that they’ll be paying. Even if it’s a little higher than their initial budget.
- Make Suggestions - If a customer wants platinum but has a sterling silver budget; don’t be afraid to suggest the alternative. Most customers simply want to have their dream project made and they’re happy to listen to your expert suggestions in order to make it happen!
Taking the time to help educate the customer on all aspects of custom and custom making, will be a win-win relationship for everyone!