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Gianandrea -- you would know, of course. We tend to select carefully or pick our battles, so to speak. I find that I do not mind spending a little more if I'm buying service. If not, then I may even do without. I think we will see more of this in the near future. People choosing to opt out of stuff because they cannot deal with the hassle.

Steve -- well, I think I just made the same point in response to Gianandrea. I'm with you 100%. My energy and my time are limited and I choose to invest them in pursuits that are worth them -- this includes purchases. Gone are the days that I would spend hours trying to get service for something. These days one can research a company's or product's track record online. And air travel stinks, I agree with you. When I go overseas I fly only Lufthansa. I find that they are still making an effort and succeeding most of the time.

Hello, V,

A topic dear to my heart.

1. If I have to do all of the work myself (as a customer), I expect a significantly lower price for the product or service. That's not usually the case, and then prompts me to...

2. Decide what products or services I consider important. For those, I am willing to pay full price for full service (a human contact). Full service means the name of a contact with whom to speak if something goes wrong, reasonable resolution, and some kind of ongoing relationship that proves beneficial to me in future transactions.

An example would be airline travel. I have reduced my airline travel from 40%-50% to about 10%. Why? I have to do all the work myself, fares continue to increase, service is horrendous, airplane seats are hideously uncomfortable and aggravate my back, and the airport experience is unpleasant.

What does that mean to me as a business person?

I've made a conscious effort to change my geographic target audience and am developing new methods of product/service delivery. It's also made me more aware of the importance of ongoing personal contact with clients and prospective clients. I've always been relationship oriented; now it is exponentially magnified.

Good conversation, Valeria...

valeria, probably there will be more than one model to be applied. it is my european approach, maybe, but i do believe that human interaction goes along with the value of the stuff you buy. more the commodity a good is perceived, more the self service approach s welcome. if you approach high value services or goods, the voice of an expert may be helpful if not mandatory to support the choice.

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