A major accounting firm's motto was "quality in everything we do".
Now, this statement was pretty bold for its time because it meant the business needed to have the best systems and people to deliver and maintain what the market perceives as quality – which will be assessed differently by every consumer. It's also a tough ask, because to do this you need to be on your game 100 per cent of the time. However, it is aspirational, and if it is achieved and sustained the rewards to the business and its owners can be huge.
Such is the power of achieving and maintaining the highest standards of quality.
Quality is delivered by outstanding and effective internal processes under the direction of a considered strategic plan. But the most important component is the delivery service and living up to, and exceeding, the expectations of the market.
Here in Whanganui the quality of service varies. Some businesses I have encountered are exceptional in terms of service quality — value is driven by their customers.
Unfortunately, however, there are businesses that operate to their own agenda, and their quality is average at best — I've tried them once and will be unlikely to return.
However, I like to focus on the positives, and there are a number of businesses which demonstrate that excellent service is alive and well in their business. In my view, future business awards should recognise great retail staff and their contribution to the Whanganui economy.
When you receive great service and you know that you are delighted with it, you will return to experience that service again. It is true that customers actually follow really great people from business to business, based on the service they have received in the past.
Recently, I read a really interesting article about how millennials appear to understand service and value better than previous generations. The origins of this theory were less easy to explain, but the writer highlighted that young consumers recognise and can describe value because of the exposure that they have had to world markets (through increased free trade), the ability to access quickly referrals from others through social media and the advent of e commerce.
So, with this in mind, all businesses need to have the right attitude towards their customers – as future customers are more value conscious. Great service diagnoses and solves problems but also uncovers opportunities for further interaction — and sales.
A recent encounter with a service provider showed they had 'the right stuff' in this regard. Well done to the Saturday morning team at Stirling Sports in the Avenue. A challenge in relation to footwear for a budding athlete in the family was professionally solved by the team. So, as well as the "sale" they also have my future recommendation.
Positive referrals are free advertising (and the best kind!).
■ Balance Consulting is a Whanganui consultancy specialising in business strategy, process excellence and leadership mentoring — contact Russell Bell on 021 2442421 or John Taylor on 027 4995872.