Over 200 Years of Measuring, and Quality Has Become a Subjective Opinion
Written by Jukka “Juke” Niemelä, an entrepreneur and a project management expert.
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The concept of quality we know today goes back all the way to the Industrial Revolution. If you have slept through your history lessons like me, here’s a little reminder: it was between 1760’ish and 1820’ish. That makes the quality concept over 200 years old. There are moments when ISO standards rule, but subjective opinions spread via social media are stronger, faster, and more credible tools for success. I am going to tell you why and how.
I Have a Digital Tribe. I Rule!
In 2008 I chose to be an entrepreneur. After the first 2–3 years of finding my place in the universe, I realized what truly counts: customer experience and quality. Without the other, you have nothing. I could have applied for all kinds of funds to develop my processes, but in the end… it’s still all about the customer. After the years I have succeeded in gathering a digital tribe to do part of the marketing for me. With a permission, I storify how my customers experience me. A blog, Twitter, and Facebook to share the word and create a dialogue. Works like a charm, and attracts new tribe members and paying customers.
Quality Standards Make Poor Sales Arguments
Ask yourself: do your clients buy from you because your company has a collection of ISO standards? Do they buy from you because you have your own quality management process? Heck, no they don’t. They buy from you because your products or services make their life or business easier, safer, cheaper, or more profitable. Or something else. Quality standards are only handy tools for you, and give basically no added value for your clients. Before making their final decision, your clients may ask you why should they trust you. Quality standards may come in handy then. With them you can show that you are a credible, trustworthy partner.
Satisfied Customers Make Great Marketers
If you think back to just one year, how many times you have bought something because someone you trust has recommended it? And I am not talking about those cheap television commercials where a supermodel has eaten a miracle powder, and became slim and shiny in days. No. I am talking about something that is new to you. Probably new in the market too. A new software to help you cut costs in your company. A consultancy service that would cut your delivery time in half. The recommendations you hear come from those in your network who have already used the product or service. These persons are peer marketers who do the marketing for the company pro bono because they are satisfied customers with an experience and opinion on the quality.
You Need to Get Subjective Opinions
Now, satisfaction is a subjective opinion just as well as the experienced quality. A company with ISO standards may deliver top quality service or products by ISO measures, but poor customer quality experience by subjective opinions. The key is customer service, whether it is provided by people or by technology. Sometimes you might have to have a person at some stage of the sales and delivery process, sometimes a well-tailored tech solution covers it all.
This Is What You Should Do
What does it then take to create a tribe to market for you? Let’s say you already have all your processes in place. Probably ISO standards too. Your products and services are ready for delivery. The key is in product marketing, stories and social media. In a nutshell: carefully designed and implemented product marketing attracts the right clients who spread the word in their networks. Catch the best of those satisfied peer marketers and write stories about their success. Spread the stories in social media. You will be amazed about the impact of the subjective opinion of your quality by the right people can make to your business. The reward for these people is not money but the publicity of their success stories. What could be more of a win-win situation?
Originally published at qualityintelligence.net.