February, 2005
Feature
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



Executive Director's Annual Report - 2004

ROB PATERKIEWICZ, CAE, IOM

In their book, “The Experience Economy. Work is Theater & Every Business a Stage,” authors B. Joseph Pine and James H. Gilmore write about the need for companies to be deliberate in their efforts to build enjoyable experiences for their customers. “To be successful in today’s increasingly competitive environment, companies must learn to stage experiences for each one of their individual customers.
We have entered the Experience Economy, a new economic era in which all businesses must orchestrate memorable events for their customers that engage each one of them in an inherently personal way.”  

Have you ever stopped to think why cer-tain products and services are considered more valuable than other very similar ones?  Why does that cup of coffee at a place like Starbucks™ cost a lot more than what you would pay for coffee at the local diner or for a cup brewed at home? Experiences. It’s the value the experience holds for the consumer that determines its worth, not just the product or the service. Remember, you are what you charge, and if you compete with other inspectors based on price alone, then you have a commodity business, one that offers little or no difference to the customer.

Unfortunately, in many areas, home inspections have become commoditized leaving the consumer to select an inspector based solely on price and availability. According to our research, most consumers believe inspectors in their area are licensed, and therefore “must be knowledgeable.” You and I know this is simply not true. Regardless of whether there is licensing or not, there is a real difference between your qualifications and those of other inspectors. There’s nothing wrong with commodities; we all need them and use them. However, if you desire to be valued differently, to be able to charge an appropriate fee for what you provide, your continued membership and involvement in ASHI is critical.

Over this past year, the work we have accomplished through The ASHI Experience sends a clear and strong message to homebuyers and sellers and even real estate professionals and attorneys. The ASHI difference is real and that difference provides an important and desired experience for the customer. This isn’t hype, and it’s not a glorified marketing program. The ASHI Experience is our promise to the world that ASHI Inspectors provide the highest level of technical inspection expertise combined with dedicated customer service.

We’re doing our part to promote your value on a national level through extensive media outreach and placement of our Public Service Announcements on television, and soon on radio and the World Wide Web. Have you seen the recent press coverage of ASHI on CNN and “The Today Show”? We also are working with our 82 chapters to help them spread the word about the ASHI difference by giving back almost $200,000 in funding from your annual dues to help them accomplish this. What’s more a new round of funding has just begun.

Are you doing your part? Are you mentioning your ASHI affiliation to your customers and others involved in the transaction? If someone asked you, could you easily describe the strict requirements that you have to meet in order to be an ASHI Inspector?  Regardless of your level of membership, be proud of your affiliation with the largest, strongest and most reputable home inspector association in the country.

The value of one’s experience doesn’t just apply to your customers. It also applies to the experience you have with us. Throughout this year, there have been plenty of compliments and complaints coming our way about what has been undertaken. We recognize that not everything we have done is perfect, and there were certainly mistakes made along the way. I’m a firm believer that mistakes and errors are acceptable so long as they serve as lessons and steps are taken to ensure they are not repeated. If you’re not making some mistakes along the way, you’re probably not trying hard enough. It’s important for me to relay to you that every single one of us here at ASHI Headquarters is genuinely committed to making sure your experience with us is enjoyable and valuable. We will continue to provide the best service we can, and we will continue to implement new and enhanced programs and services designed to bring you more value for your involvement with ASHI.

Thank you for your membership in and loyalty to ASHI. Best wishes for a successful and safe year ahead for you and your friends and families.