Quality is an Attitude


The other day I was at a meeting where a celebration took place as a result of the launch of the latest upgrade version of a software package. While this celebration was taking place, a similar group of colleagues were addressing customer issues, dissatisfaction with the previous release, the way it was handled, the lack of training that took place and lack of follow-up from vendor to client. One unhappy customer, is one customer too many. How can anyone celebrate one piece of the pie and the rest play catch up?

Companies, from healthcare to manufaturing, from financial services to consumer services measure quality in many ways and advertise their successful performance in periodicals, posters, recognition meetings and via Key Performance Indicators (KPI) matrices. How can anyone claim success with a KPI result of 90% in quality? How can quality be consider anything less that 100%? We measure quality in all sorts of percentages when we deliver. As individuals, when it is delivered to us, we insist in 100%. Why the difference? Quality is Quality, Quality is an Attitude!

These same companies, corporations and many entities, spend millions of dollars in quality programs, consulting services, training classes and many other vehicles geared at improving quality. One cannot purchase quality, but one can believe in it. We all already do. When we take a shirt to the cleaners, we pay for the shirt to get cleaned. In other words, we pay for 100% return on our investment. So why, when we’re delivering service, the equation changes? Our customers pay a fee and we must deliver on our promises. If anything, we should deliver the bare minimum, 100%.

From an American Express Survey; “7 out of 10 Americans said they were willing to spend more with companies they believe provide excellent quality and customer service.” I question why there are companies that do not take advantage of this free offer. Quality is not an expense, “lack of” is.

During a recent stay at the Ritz-Carlton in San Franciso, California, I noticed their standard modus operandi; “Excellence in Customer Service and Quality Delivery.” Their goal is “To develop such a strong emotional engagement between hotel staff and their guests that a guest will not consider staying anywhere else, even if they have an option.” What a goal!

Trader Joe’s philosophy of “It’s okay to break the rules from time-to-time to help customers in desperate circumstances, your service quality shouldn’t always be dictated by company rules.” Gutsy, simple and it works!

Nordstrom’s commitment; “In store or online, wherever new opportunities arise—Nordstrom works relentlessly to give customers the most compelling shopping experience possible. The one constant? John W. Nordstrom’s founding philosophy: offer the customer the best possible service, selection, quality and value.” Nordstrom is simply at the top of their league.

I can go on and on citing and quoting top companies that through quality they simply win, win win and are second to none. Does this attitude starts at the top?

Does it starts at the bottom? It simply starts with you. It is not a commitment to quality, it is a belief in quality. Quality is an attitude!


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