Quality, a way of life.
“Quality means doing it right when no one is looking” – Henry Ford
Recently, I’ve been inspired to write this blog on “Quality” for a number of reasons! I’ve always been infatuated with companies who delivered quality on many fronts. Whether it is the quality of their products or quality of service, all have an impact on the quality of one’s life!
In regards to quality products, Apple always continues to be at the top of the list! We all know that Steve Jobs obsessed over the quality of his products. As Steve states, “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” The late Steve Jobs, was criticized for his fixation over quality and design. He not only obsessed about the exterior of the computer, he was equally obsessed about the interior… even though it wasn’t visible to consumers! Quality was so important to him, that he asked his team of engineers to sign the inside of the circuit board to ensure it too, was beautiful. Many would view this as crazy, but for him it was a way of life!
Quality of service is equally important not only in business but in your everyday conduct. One of the top companies that deliver quality service is, Zappos.com. Zappos is an online retailor whose goal is to have the absolute best customer service! I’ve had the pleasure to visit Zappos numerous times and to get a first hand glimpse of the service in action! Not only did I meet a number of awesome people at Zappos, (and you know who you are) I’ve also had the pleasure to have dinner with Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO. When I asked Tony, in the beginning, what did you aim to accomplish at Zappos? Tony stated, “We asked ourselves what we wanted this company to stand for. We didn’t want to just sell shoes. I wasn’t even into shoes – but I was passionate about customer service.”
Today, some seventeen years later, The Zappos Company is a 2.3 Billon dollar organization over delivering amazing service daily. In fact, recently, the company announced their longest customer call hit 10 hours and 43 minutes long. “We encourage employees to stay on the phone for as long as the customer wants, even if it’s over 10 hours long. We know it sounds crazy, but as long as the customer is happy, then we are happy, too.” Says Tony! Crazy for some, a way of life for others!
Lastly, I was recently invited to the Toronto Police Chief’s Children’s Charity Dinner at a prestigious country club. Appetizers stations were set up so guest could enjoy a variety of food. The station that caught my attention was the one serving lamb kabobs. After tasting the kabob, I was hooked. After speaking with the Chef, I was given the name, Macelleria Potenza, and location of the Butcher. Later that week, I decided to pay them a visit. The location wasn’t close nor was it in an upscale location, but I ventured anyways. Once in the butcher shop, I asked to meet with the owner Joe and immediately gave him praise for the best lamb kabobs ever! I asked him, how long have you been in this location and does the location serve you? Joe’s reply was priceless, he stated, “I’ve been in the same location for 43 years. As long as you have great quality meats and great service, people will come from all over!” It was a great moment for me, because I was that person. Since then, I’ve been a loyal customer visiting them religiously!
Some people believe that in order to deliver great quality products and/or services, it must be accompanied by large costs. The truth is, it doesn’t have to cost much at all. I often share this awesome phrase to my friends, colleges and audiences alike, “If you think it’s expensive to hire A players, hire C players!” This phrase rarely needs an explanation, and often gets the CFO’s in the room to perk up!
Personally, I rather do without, than to compromise on quality (both with products and/or services!) I continued to be enamoured with companies that work really hard to deliver on quality. I believe that quality supersedes everything; it’s a way of life!