Friday, November 03, 2006

Future Business = Quality + Customer Reaction

In producing any product the ultimate decision rests in quality. Products that are built with quality as the key element last and garner positive reviews from the customer. These positive reviews translate to customer recommendations and referrals. Every sales person on the planet will tell you the golden value of referrals. This in mind would make one wonder why any company would choose to manufacture or sell poor quality goods.
Yet, many manufacturers have chosen the path of price driven products. By price driven, I mean looking for the lowest price in order to enter under the market. These products are often of inferior quality and fail to hold up to the rigors of daily life. Occasionally, it is simply a matter of finding a better way, but care must be taken by the consumer in order to determine which has occurred.
Poor quality will usually drive away future sales and reduce your market in the future. Innovative products will draw market and defy the quality curve for a short while. The quality curve will eventually over come and drive your product out of the market. If you have a company that is highly creative or quick to react to fads and notions, then your low end product dropping off the list may be a good thing. For most businesses they are looking for long term success and each product is seen as an anchor that secures their portion of the market. These anchors are what sets the solid base on which the future can be built.
Most businesses start with the ability to do something better, cheaper or faster. As businesses grow they become more difficult to steer. Many businesses start to rely on past victories while competition moves in and starts to steal market share. Having an effective long term business means you work hard to keep your edge at better, cheaper or faster.
The key tool to making this happen is maintaining a quality driven focus with customer service as priority. Your customers will give you feed back that will keep you ahead in your market. For this to work you must listen to your customers and adapt to their needs. A customer savvy work force will constantly be listening and innovating your product line to match the expressed need. Following this practice broadens your market share and brings in referrals. Who doesn’t want to do business with a company that strives to listen and produce a quality product that meets the needs of its customers?

Don’t let your competition put you out of business. Find out what your customers want and give them a quality product that matches their need. Never stop asking your customers what they want. Always ask if they know anyone else that could use what you offer. If you follow these basic rules you will be in a successful business for a long time.

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