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Page 88 of 103

June 2017 • The PCB Magazine 89 originated out of the dissatisfaction with get- ting his hair cut at the traditional women-cen- tric hair salon, and began thinking about all the things he would change about the experience if it were up to him. He began asking anyone who would listen: "Imagine getting your hair cut at a place with hardwood floors, TVs, and men's magazines; a place that offered an extended line of salon services with a personal touch, all for $10." After the initial laughter stopped, friends and family helped fine tune the idea, and the rest, as they say, is history. The Barbershop is validation to all the Lean preaching I have done over the past 20 years; and that attitude, vision, and execution are the cornerstones of delighting the customer. The Barbershop is proving, daily, that exceeding customer expectations is ultimately more prof- itable when you factor in customer satisfaction, loyalty, and reputation. The 40% Cost Increase So, this research exercise was extremely in- teresting as I looked at the prices of things from 2007 and compared them to the current price. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks more than you ever wanted to know about al- most any product, service or commodity you can imagine, and was a wealth of information. I tried to look at big-ticket consumer items as well as some of the critical raw materials used in the PCB industry. Figure 4 shows the cost comparison of the items selected to study, and the percent cost change between 2007 and 2017. Conclusion So, is the 40% cost increase for exception- al customer service justified? Well, in the case of The Barbershop, ABSOLUTELY! Compared to most comparative items in Figure 1, they have done a great job of managing costs over the past decade with no drop-off in their service level. There's a lesson there for all of us. And besides… it's only $14. PCB Steve Williams is the president of The Right Approach Consulting LLC. To read past columns, or to contact Williams, click here. IS EXCEPTIONAL SERVICE WORTH A 40% COST INCREASE? Figure 4: Price index 2007-2017. Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics 2017.

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