What Is It? What Does It Mean?
Well, what it is NOT is speed, size, strength, length, most expensive, etc.
Quality - in a business sense - might best be described as..."Conformance to Customer Requirements."
Huh? What does that mean? Let's see if we can make some sense of this. If you deliver a product and/or service that meets all of your customer's requirements consistently, you would be regarded as a quality company with quality products/services.
That doesn't just mean “being polite” to the customers - that's common sense. It means analyzing all the steps in a customer relationship from the time they call or come into your store right through to the paying of the bill, and beyond - until his/her next purchase takes place. And then making sure that the customer's needs are satisfied in each of these steps. Time after time after time.
Quality just doesn't happen...it has to be planned, executed, and managed, all the time. It is an ongoing challenge for any company, large or small.
Let's take a look at a simple example of quality:
You call up a company and the second thing you hear is this: “Your call is important to us. Please stay on the line and a customer service representative will be with you shortly.” The first
thing you'll likely hear is a lengthy speech about "pressing 1 for English" and so on. If your call is that important
, then why isn't a real person answering the phone?
Is cost-cutting a higher priority than taking care of customers on the spot? Is this a quality performance designed to "conform to customer requirements?"
Does this company embrace the philosophical thought that more/happy customers = higher revenues? Are they taking your business for granted, and simply cutting costs in a misguided attempt to improve the bottom line?
Ironically enough, some of those same companies will be the ones that employ tele-marketers to make “junk calls” to you in an irritating attempt to scrape up some business. They might be further ahead to simply turn the tele-marketers into customer service people so they could deal with them in a quality fashion in the first place!
As a smaller, independent business, you have a huge potential competitive advantage in that you can be closer to your customers - and have them coming back again & again - for quality service that simply isn't available to them from larger companies.