Quality – the word many companies use to define the value of a product or service. Quality – the necessary stamp of the marketing department. Quality – the long lasting buzz-word. Is it so over-used that it has become a red flag for clients or consumers? If a business touts quality as the value proposition #1 of purchasing a product over a competitive item, is it a turn off? Or has it simply become insignificant and watered down? Is it exploited so often that the word no longer has meaning?
Hey manufacturers, let’s re-define quality. Let’s personify it. For a business owner, a commitment to quality should go beyond the product (and customer support). For those whose business it is to create something, quality is most applicable to “units.” Sure, it’s essential to the quality of the product that it is manufactured to high standards, tolerances, and using the best materials and processes. And I am not saying we should ever compromise the product. However, the newly defined quality should be internally focused, addressing the culture of the company which will ultimately enhance the product. From the way the phones are answered to relations with competitors to the way employees are treated. Commit your business to quality business.
Embedding quality into the company culture begins at the top. It begins with executives upholding high standards of business ethics, running the business with a focus on principles, rather than cut-throat competition and winning at all cost. This may also include (what is commonly referred to as) firing some customers and firing some suppliers. Remember, being dedicated to quality business means holding tight to values at all stages. Business ethics sometimes seems to be the first thing to go in an unstable economy. Why is the perception that ethics has to concede to the bottom line? I argue that ethics will HELP the bottom line.
The new level of professionalism will translate to all employees. Respected employees respect their jobs, respect their clients and are a positive representative of their company. Creating a quality business takes into account all aspects of business by re-defining priorities and weaving a new strand of excellence into everyday business practices. By doing so, the caliber of employees rises, the entire company will experience a renewed sense of pride, the client support is brought to a new level, and the company becomes more personal – trusted, respected and valued. Couple that with a great quality product, and you have quality business. It’s like a great big stamp that isn’t only applied to “units” but to every facet of the business. Quality business results in the best form of marketing – recommendations from customers. Quality business results in success, growth and the opportunity to innovate with confidence.
Let me take a moment to just expand on that: What does innovation have to do with quality business? Quality business means being supported by customer confidence that will allow you to take risks and make changes and create new solutions with a certain level of self-assurance. Without this support, new solutions may be viewed as unreliable.
So maybe it’s time to revise your emphasis on quality product into quality business. It could be the difference between status quo and growth in an environment that is less than stable. Sounds idealistic/ambitious/generic? Perhaps. Would love to hear from those who have tried in the comments below…