A number of people have mentioned in conversation recently how much it costs to go to the dentist. In each case their dentists are getting close to retirement and their longstanding patients are stating to look for someone new. The patients are shocked at how much more they have to pay their new dentist.
Their automatic assumption is that their old dentist was out of touch with what his contemporaries were charging. They feel that they’ve been fortunate to get away with paying very low fees for so long. Now their dentists are retiring they have no option but to pay commercial rates. They specifically do not want to try to find another older out of touch dentist. They assume that a new dentist will be more uptodate, use newer procedures and be around for some time into the future.
None of the people who have shared these stories with me have considered telling their old dentist that he’s been undercharging them.
Is there a lesson here for accountants I wonder? Especially those who have kept their fees unreasonably low for many years? When you retire your clients will find that they cannot secure the same quality of service without paying more commercial fees. In the mean time the only person to lose out is you.
There may be other lessons we can learn from the analogy. When you choose a new dentist what do you look for? Do you think about their professional qualifications? Do you make assumptions about their competence, experience and ability? Would it matter if they promise a personal service? (What other type is there?). What REALLY matters to you when you are recommended or choose a new dentist? What REALLY matters to prospective clients when they are recommended or choose you as their accountant?
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