Hold on a Minute, Seth

December 29, 2008

by Roger Pynn

I’m usually a trumpet for Seth Godin. His blog is at the top of my list and he’s full of insight I use and share. But his latest post on the value of competition left me wondering if everyone sees the world the way he does.

He suggested that Roto-Rooter – and by extension anyone who provides an essential “I need it right now” service – is in essence a bully when there is no competition. Not so.

Just because Roto-Rooter is the only company that has been willing to invest in the extra cost of being available to you at 3 a.m. when your pipes burst doesn’t make them a bully when they charge you extra. Our firm doesn’t like to be a fire department and get calls from people we don’t know seeking emergency help. We specialize in ongoing relationships and expect to help our ongoing clients when a crisis hits … at any time.

But, we’re here just like the next company – to make a profit – so if you need us badly and it means we’re going to have to stretch to accommodate you, that stretching is going to cost a little more. We’re just like the computer parts company that will send you a part overnight to get your network back up and running and then charge you for the rush freight and the time it took to make the delivery happen.

Are they bullies? Certainly not. They are essential. Being essential to clients is our goal and ought to be everyone’s … at 3 a.m. or 3 p.m.

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