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Mar 19

Correct Timing

Posted by: Steve Marr

Tagged in: Untagged 

Time utility is a key principle in economics that means there is legitimate value in the timing of delivery of goods or services. In our businesses we need to keep in mind the importance of timing delivery for customers. King Solomon wrote, “For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter. “ (Ecclesiastes 8:6, NIV)  


Consider the timing issue for these products or services:


You have probably noticed the magazines by the supermarket checkout counters that have great recipes featured on the cover in November and December. By January exercise equipment and diet recipes take the covers because the magazines understand the principle of time utility. Diet stories don’t sell so well before Christmas.  However, after the Christmas recipes adds pounds around the middle, diet and exercise stories sell quite well.

            Emergency Restoration

I have some involvement in an emergency restoration business.  When a customer calls in crisis, a 15 minute delay in response time is a long time. The customer could already be calling two or three other competitors if the company I represent doesn’t answer promptly and professionally. In some businesses a 15 to 30 minute delay or even a two to three hour delay is not a big deal; but when a customer has water gushing out of a broken pipe, every minute is critical.


Carpet may be another example where timing is critical.  One customer may want to order on Tuesday with installation on Thursday. If a business is unable to deliver according to the customer’s demands, the business may lose the sale. In many instances the ability to deliver within the customer’s preferred timing is more important than the total cost while other customers may be fine waiting six to twelve weeks for a factory order. The difference is to understand which customer requires delivery within what time frame.

Christmas Gifts

Christmas gifts would be another example. Special order presents delivered after Christmas won't make it under the tree. It is a sure way to lose return customers. 

In our business we need to ask what our customer wants and when they want it. We need to discern if they are willing to wait and for how long. We need to provide options.  Perhaps you offer a premium price for quick delivery.  In all cases, you need to know if there is a time when the product or service becomes useless. For example, a person I know ordered sweatshirts before a big basketball game. The ordering time was tight, and my friend had to put a 50% deposit down to security order. I suggested they get in writing that the deposit would be refunded if the shirts were not delivered by a specific time. After all, they could easily sell the shirts before the game for a good price.  However, selling them after the game, particularly if the home team lost, would be difficult if not impossible.

In your business, know when timing is important. Make every reasonable adjustment possible to meet your customers’ time requirements instead of according to your convenience.

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