Most consumers cannot tell if a lawyer or electrician or accountant has done a good or bad job. Even after the job is completed, it’s hard for a non-expert to evaluate how well something has been done.
People just don’t have the knowledge, expertise or training required to make that kind of assessment.
And yet, most service providers treat customers like they can.
Products and services exists along what’s described as the Search-Experience-Credence continuum.
The Association for Consumer Research (ACR) gives one of the best definitions of each, stating,
“Search qualities are those that can be verified easily prior to purchase by actual inspection of the good;
Experience qualities are those that can only be verified after purchase and consumption of the product; and
Credence qualities are those that cannot be verified even after purchase and consumption.”
Quite simply, the further along the continuum you go, the harder it is for a customer to tell if the service was of ‘good’ quality.
And the further to the right you go, the higher the perceived “risk” to the consumer.
Here’s the thing, though: customers won’t tell you they feel vulnerable. Most wouldn’t be able to articulate it. But they do.
So the question becomes, how are you creating customer experiences that reduce risk and differentiate your service?