The “Quality Equation” Is All About The Hammer and…
Here’s a fun analogy to apply to your business. Imagine buying a hammer. In some cases, you might want a dime-store hammer to hang a picture (there’s a reason the Dollar Stores are one of the most successful retailing stories in recent history!). In some cases, you need a heavy-duty hammer to build a house (there’s a reason Lowe’s and Home Depot are highly successful too). Have you ever asked your customers what they really want and need? Or have you been so focused on building the highest-quality hammer that will be better than your competitors that you assumed that’s what they want?
Leaders and managers tell me that they’ve never really connected with their customers to find out if the dime-store hammer or a more expensive option is really required — they assume that they have to provide the highest level of functional quality. Often a dime-store hammer that’s quick and easy to find, and gets the job done is a better solution and speaks to experiential quality. Most leaders neglect the experiential side simply because they’ve never been taught why it’s so critical to trigger the emotional side of decision-making. Even tools like Lean don’t teach how to move beyond conventional quality approaches to create and leverage the experiential side of the Quality Equation.
… And It’s All About The Experience
The experiential side of quality is not just about having a quality product, but about creating a quality experience where you get it right the first time and deliver a “gold standard” experience that customers will share with others.
In this scenario, prevention is worth a pound of cure. Even when product and service issues are resolved after the fact, they harm your company’s reputation for quality. They cost your customers time and inconvenience that can make them susceptible to grass-is-greener competitive offers, costing you market share, volume and profits, and damaging your reputation. Unnecessary costs to serve are a huge hidden profit leak within your business that hurts your bottom line, not only because of the actual costs to make it right, but because of the time and energy wasted to repeatedly fix what’s gone wrong rather than move the organization forward. And they hinder your ability to scale for growth or even to grow at all if they result in negative word of mouth.
This Isn’t A “Nice to Do – Someday”
If you’re going to increase profits and improve customer loyalty, you need to take action on both aspects of quality immediately, even if you’ve already invested in having great functional quality for existing products. The rewards of achieving a reputation for quality and becoming the gold standard in your business will transform your business and the relationships you have with your customers.
As with all things in business, developing and maintaining a corporate reputation for quality is an ongoing process. Just like you end up with dirty oil by driving a car, every organization builds up “experiential sludge”/service issues over time. You can spend a lot of time determining how to obliterate that operational sludge on your own, or you can use proven approaches that deliver results.
When you discover what hammer your customers really want AND deal with experiential quality issues at a root cause level, you’ll drive out self-inflicted service costs and put more on your bottom line.
Doing this work is the “O” in the P.R.O.F.I+T Roadmap, which provides a clear set of strategies and tactics to address the entire quality equation. Ask me for details if this blog post resonated with you.
#1 Bestselling Author, International Speaker, and Accelerator Anne C. Graham is on a mission to help business leaders and their teams double their profit per employee – or more – in less than one year, in less time per week than they’re spending on email per day. Her #1 Bestseller Profit in Plain Sight includes the 5-step proactive P.R.O.F.I+T Roadmap to do it. Connect with Anne on LinkedIn.