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A dreamer to the core. A thinker. A writer. A marketer. A poet. A management guru in the making! A keen observer of business, organizations, leaders, society, economic environment, consumers, and innovation. A confirmed maverick who loves to turn conventional wisdom upside down!

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Who Determines Quality?

Quality in a product or service is not what the supplier puts in. It is what the customer gets out and is willing to pay for. A product is not quality because it is hard to make and costs a lot of money, as manufacturers typically believe. This is incompetence. Customers pay only for what is of use to them and gives them value. Nothing else constitutes quality.

– Peter Drucker
All the product managers, brand managers, and marketing managers out in the sun to woo the customer should take note of this simple wisdom. Well, it’s not rocket science, but pure vanilla commonsense that quality is determined by the customer not the producers. Producers can at best meet the quality specifications of the customers. And yet the product managers frequently – if not always – start with themselves rather than the customers before designing a product.

Second take-away of this profound wisdom is the fact that quality is relative and not absolute. So it would be better to see quality in terms of value it has for a customer. In that sense, same product can give immense value to a segment of consumer and no value to another segment of consumers. Hence, same product can offer great quality for a segment of consumer while another segment may consider it of inferior quality.

Third take-away is the fact that quality is not about the product or service but about the perception of the product or service in the minds of customer.

And all the above boils down to the eternal fact that the customer is king (or queen for that matter)

Isn’t it simple?

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