Most blog posts provide the reader answers to a problem, or are written to demonstrate one’s formed opinion. Instead, my intent for this blog is to ask a philosophical question about a complex customer experience issue faced by professionals. The following scenario was presented to me originally by a friend and masseuse when describing a common complaint he hears from his patients; the cost of therapy is too expensive.

He articulated his dilemma with this example:

A locksmith started his company 20 years ago with amateur skills of the trade. He could unlock car and house doors for a flat rate. When he began his business, it took 30 minutes to unlock a standard lock. His customers were relieved and happy to pay the fee.

As the years went on, the locksmith proved to be an apt tradesman and was able to unlock more doors in a day. After five years it took 20 minutes to unlock a door, and after ten years it took just 10 minutes. Fast forward to now, the locksmith has serious skill in his trade and is able to unlock the same door that once took him 30 minutes, in a few minutes (and sometimes even less time).

37009396 - carpenter at lock installation with electric drill into interior wood door

Appears to be a great success until we think about the service experience from the customer’s point of view who feels frustrated that he has to pay the same – now seemingly more hefty – fee for a task that took the locksmith just seconds to complete. It’s ironic but true that some buyers feel taken advantage of in said transaction.

To put things another way, think about the last time you brought your car to the shop. The mechanic might spend five minutes diagnosing the issue, replace a two-dollar part and charge you $300. Does that seem fair? To some it does, and to others it does not!

The cost of certain services can seem astronomical at first glance. It’s a point of client dissatisfaction that many professionals like lawyers, doctors, and specialists combat frequently. In actuality, the high fee for service is a reflection of the amount of time and effort spent outside of any single transaction learning and fine-tuning the skill.

How can these tradespeople justify their fees? Is it even their responsibility to do so? That’s the question I’ve wrestled with and hope to hear some opinions about as it is a prevalent concern shared by a variety of workers alike.

Let me know your thoughts by dropping me a comment at

-Lee Sumner, Sr. Research Analyst