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    Is your product or service good quality?

    June 11, 2018

June 11, 2018

Is your product or service good quality?

Is your product or service good quality?

How do you know if your product or service is good quality? Is your product 10x better than the competition? If so, how do you know? Most of us like to believe that the thing that we do is quality and it is what separates us from our competition, but how do we know? How can we measure our quality and use it to distinguish our products from others? How often do we surprise and delight our customers?

Let’s start with, what is quality?

When we think about quality, it is quite easy to imagine the difference between a quality piece of furniture and a  not so quality (dodgy) piece of furniture or a service like a haircut, one quality the other not.  What are the differences you imagine when you picture this?  Maybe one of the chairs is made from a fancy hard timber, the other of pine or plastic.  Maybe one haircut left hair all over your shirt and the other didn’t.

So how did we define the features that dictated quality for these products and services?  We defined quality as a reflection of our expectations.  When we pay a lot for a chair we expect that chair to last for a long time and thus must be made from a sturdy material.  When we go for a haircut we expect the haircut to meet our expectations and leave feeling good – not itchy and covered in hair.

 

 

The quality of a product or service that we offer can dictate the price that people are willing to pay for it.  If you are producing a low quality product then the market will expect to pay a lower price than that of a higher quality product.

So how do we know if the product or service that we offer is quality and how do we quantify it?

How to define the quality of your service or product:

Is our product 10x better than the competitions? We won’t know until we measure, but what do we measure?  The first step in measuring quality is to listen to the Voice of your Customer.  What are your customers saying, wanting, needing?  What are they expecting from your product or service?  There are a  few ways to go about this:

1) Just ask them:

Simply striking a conversation with your customer and asking them “What are you looking for from this?

2) Feedback forms:

People can feel a lot more comfortable about filling out feedback forms or surveys rather than engaging in direct conversation.  If the forms are anonymous then you might get more honest feedback

3) Complaints:

We all receive complaints every now and then but what is the essence of some of those complaints?  Some people just enjoy complaining for the sake of complaining but make sure you write down or keep a copy of the complaints that you receive to see if there is a pattern that starts to form.  Maybe there are regular complaints about screws loose in the chairs that you are producing, or maybe it is too hard to be contacted by phone?

4) Place yourself in your customers shoes:

Use the product or service that you offer and try out competitors’ products and services.  Take note of how you felt, how were things different?

How to measure your quality:

Once you have a good idea of what your customers are expecting you can gather that research into your Quality measures and KPIs.  The chair example will be the easiest so let’s start with that.  The manufacturer conducted their research and was able to discover some key themes of expectation and quality of their product and as an example the following could be considered measures of quality:

  1. Life span:
Definition: The length of time that the materials in the chair last
Measurement: Number of chairs returned before the end of the lifetime warranty
Reason: 1 in 100 chairs are being returned within the lifetime warranty indicating quality issues – Returned chairs cost a lot of money to the company to replace
Customer Expectation That the chair remain in ‘like new’ condition for minimum 10 – 12 years
KPI/ Goal: Improve this to 1 in 1000 chairs

2. Weight Tolerance:

Definition: The total holding weight of the chair
Measurement Kilograms
Reason: Some larger customers have complained that the chairs have buckled under their weight.  Current holding weight is 120kg
Customer Expectation 150kg
KPI/ Goal: Improve holding weight to 200kg

Remember that you don’t have to meet their expectations immediately and can progressively work on improving the KPIs.

Services at first might seem a bit harder to “measure” the quality of but let’s take a crack and go back to the hairdresser example:

The owner of the salon had reached out to her customers and staff and was able to compile the following list of KPI/ quality measures.  It was a little harder to define what was a quality haircut so they compiled a list of measures that indirectly became a measurement  of quality, examples include:

  1. Customer Satisfaction Score:
Definition: How satisfied was the customer with their haircut
Measurement: A star rating out of five requested at the time of payment
Reason Several complaints about haircuts not being quite as expected and low repeating customers
Customer Expectation 4 or above for your establishment
KPI/ Goal: Customer Satisfaction is equal to or greater than 4 stars

2. Number of Interruptions:

Definition: The number of interruptions during a haircut
Measurement: Tally chalkboard on the wall for each time a haircut had to be interrupted
Reason: Customer surveys revealed that the customer felt less special as the hairdresser had to continuously leave the client to answer the phone to take bookings, degrading the quality of the service.
Customer Expectation No interruptions during their service
KPI/ Goal: Average number of interruptions per service, less than 1/service on average

3. Ran overtime:

Definition: The number of appointments that ran overtime
Measurement: Recording start and finish times of appointments in the calendar to find out how many ran overtime
Reason: Several customers were disgruntled about being late to their next appointment because the haircut had taken too long.  Currently 2/5 appointments have been running long
Customer Expectation No longer than 5 minutes over or 10 minutes under
KPI/ Goal: Improve this to 1/10 appointments

4. Repeat business:

Definition: Repeat business is when a customer comes back to receive a haircut after first receiving a haircut.
Measurement: Percentage of customers that have had more than one haircut in the last four months
Reason: Repeat business is a strong indicator of quality of service.  If a customer has returned for another haircut, this means that they liked the first haircut enough to get another.  Currently on 25% of appointments are repeat business
KPI/ Goal: Improve this to 35% of appointments

Improving quality

These sets of measures should then give you a baseline for your quality and allow you to measure the effect of changes that you make to your product and service.

Surprise and delighting your customers

To surprise and delight is anything that you do that is above your customer expectations.  A good example is my partner recently went for her haircut and when she entered they offered her a wine and popcorn when she entered, there was a live musician playing guitar in the corner and the hairdressers focus was 100% on her customer.  Since then she has refereed all her friends to this same hairdresser because they not only met her expectations but they went above and beyond with extra features that she didn’t know that she wanted.

In conclusion

The quality of your product is dependent on the expectations of your customers.  These expectations can be measurable either directly or indirectly to help you improve your quality.  To surprise and delight your customers you not only have to meet their expectations but provide them with something they didn’t know they wanted.  Follow these steps to improve your customers experience with you.

If you offer a service and want to improve your customers experience when booking with you and measure your customer retention rate then sign up with rotavi today.

 

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