by George Hedley
Is quality really an issue when you shop for a new laptop computer, select an insurance company, or buy a home? Do you care about quality when choosing an architect, engineer or bank? After bidding a project per plans and specifications, is quality the main selection criteria when hiring a supplier or subcontractor to do the work?
Customers expect PERFECT quality!
Why do so many people shop at Wal-Mart? Answer: The store offers lots of products, at very competitive prices, with a full money-back guarantee. If customers are not 100 percent satisfied with a product, they can return it for a full refund or exchange it for a new one. The product either works or it doesn't. Customers either like their purchases or they take them back to the store!
You believe that you provide a quality product or service superior to your competition. But your competitors also believe they provide the superior quality product or service. In reality, quality is almost indistinguishable from company to company. Without perfect quality, you won't have any customers. Perfect quality is not a reason that customers want to hire your company or buy your products. Perfect quality does not set you apart from your competition. Perfect quality doesn't matter to customers. Perfect quality is expected. You either have it or you are out of business.
Quality is required.
In construction, quality is dictated by project plans, specifications, and industry standards. Drywall taping is the same across the country. It is either acceptable or not acceptable. Contractors provide products and services required by their contract. And, usually only the minimum required. When the contract is adhered to and the work is inspected, quality will be the same no matter which contractor is selected. Contractors are wasting their time trying to gain customers with promises of quality work. Quality is expected and required by the contract and industry standards.
Offer more than quality.
Quality today involves providing more than the minimum required. What "extras"-above and beyond the contracted scope of work-do you offer your customer? What do you give that is special or unique? Do you offer additional guarantees? Do you provide more than your competition? Do you do more than the minimum?
Consider these ideas to offer customers more than perfect quality-
· Plumbing contractors: Leave your customers a bottle of drain cleaner.
· Landscaping contractors: Give indoor potted plants to your customers.
· Electrical contractors: Offer a set of extra light bulbs for every fixture.
· Concrete contractors: Provide a three-month inspection and repair any slab cracks.
· General contractors: Refer customers to lenders who finance projects.
· Air conditioning contractors: Include six-month air balancing.
· Painting contractors: Leave clearly labeled cans of extra paint for touch-up.
· Architects: Offer to review clients' existing furniture and layouts.
· Concrete ready-mix companies: Provide educational training for concrete contractors.
· Paving contractors: Provide any asphalt maintenance required after six months.
· Masonry contractors: Guarantee that no excess grout or debris will be left behind.
Do more to get more.
Most companies don't really do anything more for their customers than what they get paid to do. Perfect quality does not impress anyone today, it is expected! To impress your customers, do more than the minimum. Do more than your competition. Provide a pleasant experience that will encourage your customers to refer you work and use your company over and over again. Be creative. Be unique. The more you do for your customers, the more business you'll do with your customers.
George Hedley owns a $75 million construction and development company and
Hardhat Presentations. He speaks to companies on building profitable businesses,
leadership, and loyal customers. He holds 3-day in-depth "Profit-Builder
Circles" open to construction company owners in an interactive roundtable
format every 3 months. His "Profit-Builder System" includes proven
tools to always make a profit, build equity, create wealth, win profitable
jobs, motivate your people, and enjoy the benefits of owning a profitable company.