Quotes in customer focus
There are four prongs of quality and four ways to improve quality of product and service:
- Innovation in product and service
- Innovation in process
- Improvement of existing product and service
- Improvement of existing process
The common mistake is the supposition that quality is ensured by No. 4, improvement of process, that operations going off without blemish on the factory floor, in the bank, in the hotel will ensure quality. Good operations are essential, yet they do not ensure quality. Quality is made in the boardroom.
A bank that failed last week may have had excellent operations— speed at the tellers’ windows with few mistakes; few mistakes in bank statements; likewise in the calculation of interest and of penalties and loans. The cause of failure at the bank was bad management, not operations.
A good question for anybody in business to ask is What business are we in? To do well what we are doing-i.e., to turn out a good product, or good service, whatever it be? Yes, of course, but this is not enough. We must keep asking - What product or service would help our customers more? We must think about the future. What will we be making 5 years from now? 10 years from now?
The quality revolution is nothing more, or less, than the dramatic expansion of scientific problem solving using informed observation and directed experimentation to find out more about the process, the product and the customer.
Any sufficiently inept bureaucracy is indistinguishable from an organization intent on punishing those that rely on them.
Profit in business comes from repeat customers, customers that boast about your product and service, and that bring friends with them.
It will not suffice to have customers that are merely satisfied. An unhappy customer will switch. Unfortunately, a satisfied customer may also switch, on the theory that he could not lose much, and might gain.
No defects, no jobs. Absence of defects does not necessarily build business… Something more is required.
When you want something really bad, you will put up with a lot of flaws. But if you do not yet know you want something, your tolerance will be much lower. That’s why it is especially important for us to build a beautiful, elegant and considerate piece of software. Every bit of grace, refinement, and thoughtfulness on our part will pull people along. Every petty irritation will stop them and give the impression that it is not worth it.
Quality in a product or service is not what the supplier puts in. It is what the customer gets out and is willing to pay for. A product is not quality because it is hard to make and costs a lot of money, as manufacturers typically believe. This is incompetence. Customers pay only for what is of use to them and gives them value. Nothing else constitutes quality.
Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.