When discussing quality with leaders, finding a common ground for framing the conversation and understanding organizational obstacles and challenges can sometimes be problematic. This article simply illustrates the two dimensions of quality that all enterprise leaders must embrace to ultimately be successful in their desired marketplace. There are really only two quality questions that matter in delivering winning products and services.
Quality Question #1
To what extent does your target quality solve your customer’s painful problem?
The basic purpose of the product or service that your organization provides your desired customer is to solve their painful problem. Doing this requires an insightful understanding of how your solution (product/service) is consumed by your customer and what value it provides them in their use of your solution. The answer to this question defines the customer’s value proposition.
The value proposition is defined by 1) the customer, 2) their painful problem, 3) your solution that solves their problem, and 4) the customer’s perception of the value of your solution. A winning value proposition is necessary for a competitive marketplace. The greater the value proposition, the more successful the enterprise.
The value proposition can be defined through the Customer Value Model, which specifies value proposition characteristics on four essential dimensions.
Solutions define target specifications of the products and services the organization provides to solve customer problems or fulfill customer wants or needs.
Responsiveness defines target specifications for the response time on all customer interactions.
Relationship defines the target specifications of the customer service provided in support of organization solutions.
Cost defines target specifications for the customer’s total cost of ownership versus their perceived benefit.
The value proposition covers a broad range of characteristics that substantially influence the customer’s perception of the relationship.
Quality Question # 2
To what extent does your organization provide the specified target quality?
This question assesses the consistency with which your organization provides the intended product or service. Does the product provided meet the target specification, on time, at the agreed-to cost, and without error?
Both quality questions must be satisfactorily answered to be successful.
- If an organization is missing a winning value proposition, the consistency of the solution provided will not matter to customers.
- If an organization offers a winning value proposition but the solution’s target quality cannot be consistently provided the customer will be frustrated and unhappy.
Quality Questions In Conclusion.
Quality is in the eye of the customer. It must be managed by first finding a target quality that solves the customer’s painful problem better than all other options available and second, consistently providing that target quality.