What Every Lean Leader Should Know About The Hidden Side of Quality Comes Down to a Hammer

This month we tackled the topic of Quality in some surprising ways.  I hope you were able to identify which of the 5 categories of service issues have been causing 80% of your unnecessary service costs, and used my three Solutions in Plain Sight to:

  1. Create the corporate reputation for quality you want,
  2. Deal with obvious self-inflicted wounds that affect perceived quality with root cause analysis, and
  3. Staple yourself to the entire experience.

You can leap-frog your competition, price for value, and strip unnecessary costs right out of your systems just by taking a new look at how to drive quality beyond the shop floor.  Because when customers love doing business with you for reasons they can’t quite define but which have everything to do with making their experience easy and seamless, you’ll also see a positive impact on client retention.

If you have time to spend 90 minutes or more on email every day, you have 90 minutes once a week to use the ideas in this month’s blog posts and in the complimentary 3-video training series you can share with your team.

It’s All About The Hammer

I’ll leave you with a fun analogy.  Imagine buying a hammer.  In some cases, you might want a dime-store hammer to hang a picture. In some cases, you need a heavy-duty hammer to build a house.  Have you ever asked your customers what they really want and need?  Or have you been so focused on building the highest-quality hammer that will be better than your competitors’?

Leaders and managers tell me that they’ve never really connected with their customers to find out if the dime-store hammer or a more expensive option is really required — they assume that they have to provide the highest level of Functional Quality. Often a dime-store hammer that’s quick and easy to find, and gets the job done is a better solution and speaks to Experiential Quality, not Functional. Most leaders neglect the Experiential side simply because they’ve never been taught why it’s so critical to trigger the emotional side of decision-making or how to move beyond conventional quality approaches to create and leverage the experiential side of the Quality Equation.

Doing Quality Right The First Time

Prevention is worth a pound of cure. Even when product and service issues are resolved, they harm your company’s Reputation for Quality. They cost your customers time and inconvenience that can make them susceptible to grass-is-greener competitive offers, costing you market share, volume and profits, and damaging your reputation. They are a huge hidden cost within your business that hurt your bottom line, not only because of the actual costs to make it right, but because of the time and energy wasted to repeatedly fix what’s gone wrong rather than move the organization forward. And they hinder your ability to scale for growth or even to grow at all if they result in negative word of mouth.

This Isn’t A “Nice to Do – Someday”

You want to take action on this immediately, even if you’ve already invested in having great Functional Quality. The rewards of achieving a Reputation for Quality and becoming the gold standard in your business will transform your business and the relationships you have with your customers, just as the rusted Tin Man transformed into Dorothy’s trusted ally after a bit of oil. Rusted or trusted? Your choice!

As with all things in business, developing and maintaining a corporate Reputation for Quality is an ongoing process. Exposure to the elements caused the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz to seize up, just like every organization degrades over time and eventually quality becomes an issue without a concerted effort to keep it well oiled. When organizational corrosion takes hold, you can spend a lot of time determining how to improve Perceived Quality on your own, or you can use proven approaches that deliver results.

You’ve learned how to activate the Quality Equation by addressing every aspect of the Experiential Quality your customers receive every time they interact with your company. You’ve seen straightforward steps to minimize waste — of time, resources, energy, attention, rework (not just on products), and lapses in quality that are very visible to clients and staff. When you deal with Experiential Quality issues at a root cause level, you’ll drive out self-inflicted service costs and put more on your bottom line. Act on the three Solutions in Plain Sight and you’ll quickly and easily develop a corporate Reputation for Quality as a company that gets it right the first time that will be hard for your competitors to emulate or beat.

This P.R.O.F.I+T  Roadmap provides a clear set of strategies and tactics to address both. When you’re ready to transform your Perceived Quality and become the gold standard for your industry rather than settling for business as usual, you don’t have to reinvent any wheels, you just need to implement the Roadmap in my #1 Best Seller.

#1 Bestselling Author, International Speaker, and Accelerator Anne C. Graham is on a mission to help 5 million business leaders and their teams double their profit per employee – or more – in less than one year, in less time per week than they’re spending on email per day. Her new book Profit in Plain Sight includes the 5-step proactive P.R.O.F.I+T Plan to do it.  Connect with Anne on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.