Back at the start of January, I wrote a similar piece titled “ You Get What You Pay For – Literally”, highlighting the value benefits of supporting local businesses and in turn, keeping your sales tax $ local where you expect to use local services. While keeping with a similar theme, this piece will focus on a pet topic of mine, Quality.
I’ll begin with a confession: Quality was the subject matter for my Thesis, so naturally I’m a little obsessive about it. By definition, Quality is one of those wonderful things in life that’s impossible to measure accurately because it has a direct correlation to each person’s individual level of expectation, Quality has its own DNA.
Quality is most commonly associated with Service and product Performance. Let’s briefly discuss both aspects as they relate to our businesses, town and community.
Service is a great measure of quality, faced with the biggest challenge – managing expectations. Each day we serve Customers with a variety of expectations, some of these Customers become Clients and we begin to understand what they expect and strive to serve these needs. Many of these Clients change their expectations over time and we adapt and respond accordingly.
Service is a purely person to person experience, we can train staff, write procedures, conduct training sessions, at the end of it all, the perceived level of Quality Service will be determined by the ability of ourselves and our team to interact, meet and exceed the undefined expectations of the Customer or Client. We all have a lot riding on our ability to do this well. The performance of our businesses, the performance of our town as it attracts more visitors and investors and the ability of our community to sustain itself off the proceeds of Quality Service all rely on this interaction between people.
Performance is possibly the more common measure of quality. We can all share stories about cars, houses and electronic devices that have not met our expectations of Performance. It’s fair to say that in recent times, our expectations of Performance have grown exponentially to the point where we simply do not expect products to fail in any way. If and when they do, we tend to get a little crazy about it.
With 15 years of my career spent in the Construction and Development industries, I’ve spent plenty of time dealing with performance related quality failures. Punch list items dealing with long-term “system” failures (aka water leaks, noise, vibration etc.) are commonplace and require great problem solving skills to resolve. Solving the problem is just one part of the equation. Managing the expectations of the typically irate Client is a whole different challenge.
Our recently developed consumer expectation of perfection (blame Gen. X or Y) fails to recognize the root cause of most performance failures. Performance failures typically occur due to a clash between Mother Nature and our expectations.
What does this mean? In this era of invincibility, we continue to forge further ‘ahead’ challenging nature and in many cases forcing products and services to perform in conditions that simply don’t acknowledge age old laws of physics. Rather, we see a customer stamp their feet and make unachievable demands, and the service switch in our head says “Yes” while the performance switch in our head says, “?” or “eh?”.
Much has been done across industries over time to please these expectations by undertaking lengthy research, development and product testing. In many cases, products and services do exist, and by virtue of the cost incurred during their development, are priced accordingly.
So, as a service driven, customer-pleasing race there is one key takeaway from this discussion;
- Manage expectations – if the product or service is likely to fail in a given application, share this information up front and seek to develop the trust of the customer, rather than simply closing the transaction.
And finally, as a perfection oriented, failure proof Customer or Client, remember this;
- You Get What You Pay For – if you want the bulletproof product that has Mother Nature’s seal of approval, choose the product that has been tested and demonstrated a level of performance that meets your expectations.
- Chill Out and be Realistic about your Expectations – as our industries forge ahead developing new products and technologies, the learning cycle starts again, it evolves, and is completed and then – the goal posts move again to meet tomorrows expectations.
Meagan Hill is a Commercial Real Estate Investments Specialist and Principal of NAI Jackson Hole servicing the Jackson Hole WY and Teton Valley ID markets.
For further information, contact Meagan at (307) 734-8700 or email@example.com
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