Cost, Convenience or Quality?

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Recognizing limitations is the starting point for offering something of value because it moves us from the realm of the hypothetical to the realm of the real. The three factors that make up the title of this post are a great tool for recognizing what's possible and choosing the foundational priorities for one's product or service. 

The first thing to bear in mind when working with this framework is that the three choices must be put in order of importance, and that order reflects the current goal of your company. Each combination of priorities best serves a particular timeline. For example, a priority set of 1. Cheap, 2. Convenient, 3. High-quality works in the short-term and may be the best choice for a certain period, but over time, because cheap products do not earn significant returns per unit and therefore do not incentivize long-term investment by the provider, this strategy reaches a limit. This is particularly true with services because they require a baseline amount of the provider's time. 

For the long-term, especially with services, sustainability and maximum benefit to customers and providers require the first priority to be quality. This isn't feel-goodism, rather it is rooted in the fact that quality is the least constrained of the three priorities. The range of cost is determined by the market and the convenience of an in-person service is determined by location. Quality on the other hand, can expand exponentially over time, and in fact, must do so to grow any service business.

Furthermore, for a service provider with integrity, quality is the most rewarding type of improvement to make, bringing greater satisfaction even if new customers do not immediately flood through the doors. While it is essential to create savings and greater convenience for customers through efficiency and good business practices, improvements to quality are creative and most importantly, increase value. Value changes everything. When customers recognize they are receiving something of high value - as long as there are no unreasonable inconveniences or costs - they are simply happier and grateful to be in a good situation. 

Music instruction is a long-term business requiring a stable situation for maximum success. At Vanguard Music Studio, for all the reasons above, we focus on quality first while working to pass savings on to our customers and provide as much convenience as possible. We invest in quality by creating special performance and learning opportunities for our students - extending well beyond weekly lessons - hiring faculty selectively and maintaining a comfortable and welcoming space. 

Assessing the quality of a piece of fruit or a clothing is much simpler than assessing the quality of musical instruction so to help with this challenge, we make as much information available to our students and parents as possible (for example, blog posts like this one!). Next in our series will be a post with tips for assessing if a music teacher is right for you!