Giving Quality – a Series on Giving

When is good enough NOT giving quality?

I am getting pretty sick of the ‘near enough is good enough’ attitude that seems to be pervading everything from white goods, core products, the service industry, public services all the way up to the highest echelons of power.

Guess what? Good enough is NOT giving quality. Nearly OK wouldn’t cut it in a ton of situations.

“Hey Mrs X we’re going to operate on you now, should be OK, well, near enough…you don’t mind a few scars and if we give you a bit less anaesthetic to save a few pounds do you?” Yes, I can see you running from that surgeon and never looking back.

There used to be a time when I feel we had a greater sense of pride in what we produced and supplied.  Now it seems to be OK to produce inferior and shoddy results and then look for ways to justify their inadequacies rather than strive for the best of the best.

Giving quality is about having pride and respecting your customers and clients

I am a believer in spending a bit of extra time to get something right which in the long run will save time and effort not having to put right what has gone wrong.  I would never dream of putting out something I had not spent time and a great deal of thought on, being pretty sure it hits the mark. It is just not in my nature to be satisfied with ‘almost’. I believe that giving quality is a duty when you are in the business of serving others.

All it takes to ensure you are giving quality is; stopping for a moment before issuing whatever it is and taking a long hard look at it.  Testing it, if needs be, to check that it is fit for purpose. And it never ceases to exasperate me that deadlines are set and then, even if the product is blatantly not ready, sending it out anyway to meet the deadline before any other consideration. E.g. NHS computer fiasco. What is even more worrying is when this is a deliberate marketing tactic – think iPhone. Apple consumers buy the latest version even though it is full of flaws and the only way to get a working bug free phone is to shell out for the next version.

If something is done well and built to last people will invest in it, buy it.  I have numerous items that I spent a little more on and they are still going strong after years, decades even. The people who made/supplied them should rightly be proud of what they produced. It’s something we should all strive for.

Giving quality is not old fashioned

Remember when you used to go to the cobblers (a word now regarded as quaint) to get your shoes re-heeled and re-soled? Nowadays you simply throw the shoes away and buy new ones and somehow, they never feel quite as comfy. We have become a disposable nation yet ironically, we are more conscious about recycling. Perhaps if the goods we bought were better quality in the first place we wouldn’t throw so much away?

From a business point of view it is sheer laziness to make inferior quality products and built in obsolescence is a marketing ploy. If the everlasting light bulb was available we would never have to replace them, so no future business there. Nobody will ever make one. Instead, we now buy eco-friendly bulbs that cost four times as much but do, in fairness, last longer.

So, the modern world makes sure your goods break so you need to spend more money on replacing them and giving quality is regarded as an outdated old fashioned notion. It doesn’t appear to make economic sense apparently to deliver quality products that last a long time.

But be warned, consumers are a lot less tolerant when it comes to bad quality in services. Sites like Trip Advisor positively encourage people to complain about bad service and praise the good. The Internet has given people a voice and business should take heed. There is a far from quiet revolution going on where social media is a source for recommended products and services. Friends will tell you to avoid certain goods and service providers and no amount of advertising can overturn a scathing viral complaint from hundreds or thousands of people shared across the worldwide web.

Maybe, just maybe, people are fighting back and expecting an ethos where giving quality is no longer an old-fashioned notion.

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