Quality

The Problem With Just Providing Quality

Consider the last time you got on an airplane. Over the course of the usual welcome, the briefing member of cabin crew invariably says, ‘your safety is our primary concern’.

When was the last time you chose an airline based on their safety record?

Now, that’s not to say that safety isn’t important. Of course it is. But when looking for a flight online, the filters you’ll probably use will be related to length of trip, number of stops, price, departure or arrival time, or cabin class.

And the reason you don’t filter on ‘safety’ is that you just expect it.

You expect to arrive at your destination safely. It’s a minimum requirement and one that is table stakes. In other words, transporting people safely to their intended destination is the minimum required to compete as an airline.

Apply the same logic to the provision of any service and the same holds true. So when a service provider says, ‘come and work with me because of the quality of our service’, then it’s also a fairly weak competitive position for two reasons.

Firstly quality is subjective – what you consider quality may be different to what I consider quality and therefore it’s often multi-faceted and difficult to measure and get right.

And secondly, but perhaps more importantly, saying you’ll provide a quality service is also table stakes in our new economy. It’s the minimum expected for providing and purchasing the service. It’s the equivalent of being told you will arrive safely at your destination. Achieving the overall outcome is what you paid for and so it’s incredibly difficult to build a value proposition primarily just doing what you said you would. Doing what you said you would allows you the chance to compete in your market but nothing else.

What people care about in the service industry is the customer experience. They want it better, quicker, with less hassle, less obstacles or downsides; they want it when they want it, on demand, ready to consume, and they want it whilst all the while being made to feel like they’re the only customer you have.

So forget saying you’ll give people quality – that’s what they expect – so just make sure that happens. But instead put your focus on the customer experience, as that’s where the opportunity for real differentiation exists.

 

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