Firstly I'd like to wish everyone a happy New Year, and I look forward to providing my customers with a better service for 2019. By 'better' I refer to a handful of little changes I have planned to hopefully improve the service I provide. But what is 'better?'.
I feel 'better' is about as subjective as art, and it is entirely based on ones personal opinion. Some people may see 'better' as increased quality, whereas others may interpret 'better' as lower prices, and others may see it as 'easier'. I don't think it is exclusively any of these, but perhaps a hybrid of them all along with a scattering of other factors too.
I recall a conversation I had with a telecoms provider a few years ago when I told them I was leaving them because their service was terrible. The agent in the 'customer retention' department tried desperately to make me change my mind.
"I can reduce your bill by 20%", he said. I asked if perhaps he could keep the price unchanged but increase the quality of service by 20% instead? I reminded him that I was leaving because the level of service they had been providing was not acceptable for my business - I needed a more reliable product and a better quality service. I clarified that I was happy to pay more if he could guarantee service improvement. I'm sure I could hear his head spinning, and there was a stuttered delay in his response until he finally came back with "I can make it 25% off".
As functional and great value Ikea frames are, you cannot expect Italian moulding, conservation mountboard and low-reflection glass for the same price. Even my basic frames with standard mounts and glass are not going to come in at the price of a Ribba, but you will get the bespoke craftsmanship, quality materials and premium service at the best price I can offer it - and you don't have to go to Croydon. There may be something on the horizon to allow me to offer an Economy range, but I need to investigate further. I absolutely will not compromise the quality of my work to hit a price point, but there may be other ways.
After all, cheaper is not always better. Better is better.