Quality: It’s More Important than Quality

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jtpedersen_quality_squareThey say things come in threes.  Like it or not, it certainly seems to be true.  And, this week, the topic of Quality has come my way at least three times.

The first to get my attention was this excellent article, “Where did the quality go?” Author David Sneed, pointed out the craftsmanship [of a box made in 1738] to an unimpressed visitor who explained: “Well, they had a lot more time back then.”

Really?  David walks the reader through a pretty solid argument against that view.  We have perhaps 3-4X more time available to us now, than say 1,738.  We live twice as long, we don’t have to fight the soil to feed ourselves…  The article’s worth the :05 you need to read it.

Go ahead.  We’ll wait right here till you get back.

Then, I happened across David Meerman Scott’s article, “Great service as lead generation.  The take away here is, provide great service, people will talk you up, and new business will follow.

Finally, there was a discussion with some fellow motorcyclists, about, well, motorcycle dealerships.  A common sentiment among motorcyclists that we need to support these businesses or more will go out of business.  Ok, I buy that argument.  Motorcycle dealers are far fewer in number than car dealers.

But, that relationship is a two-way street.  If I give you my business, I expect you (the dealer) are going to give me quality service in exchange.  Note: not ‘over the top,’ not ‘to-die-for,’ just quality.

This past fall, my bike had been in the dealership for some work.  Still new, only one dealer has been, ‘under the covers.’  So, I know very clearly who:

  • Improperly reassembled body panels (clearly one part should’ve underlapped another);
  • Broke plastic tabs, causing me to spend $10 (plus gas & time) to order three missing bolts (others I caught in time, they were just ‘loose’, not having fallen out yet; and,
  • Couldn’t find the part numbers; I had to provide them later.

All that was due to one visit to the dealer with a new machine.

Quality: More Important than Quality

If you didn’t read David’s article (above), he raises the contemporary question: Should I pay a worker for two hours to make a quality product when he can make a decent product in one?

The answer depends on how important the relationship with your customer or client may be.  This is where quality is more than just a product or service attribute.

The quality you—elect—to provide your customer speaks to the nature of—relationship—you plan to have with that customer.

As customers, we all make choices regarding product purchases.  Those choices ultimately come down to value.  As I mentioned in Fuel Surcharges Make Crapper Proud, Value-based decisions are made on an ‘all-in’ price.  That includes our time, resources ($$), and satisfaction level.  The latter because most decisions are made emotionally, supported after-the-fact rationally.

What businesses need to get back to is understanding that the quality of interaction forms the bedrock upon which future relationships are formed.  Treat your customers as a commodity, they’ll treat you the same.

Provide a stellar experience and they will drive miles to repeat the experience.  Anyone care to guess which one company most publicly epitomizes this notion, today?

So, why is Quality more important than quality?  Because it can take 10 times more energy to win a new customer than to keep an existing customer.  Why not invest in a quality (relationship) up front and cement their loyalty indefinitely?

And, do so on an ongoing basis!

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