Hungry for success? Quality is a key ingredient

Quality is one of those things we sometimes take for granted, or simply neglect. Don’t. Quality has to be at the very heart of your business.

Quality control — food for thought?

On visiting a client of mine a couple of years ago, he asked if we’d like lunch. Since it was due to be a long meeting, discussing the future of their website (which was to be re-built as a Content Management System, so they could manage the website themselves), we said yes and he gave instructions to a senior secretary to get sandwiches. He also gave her explicit instructions to not use the local sandwich shop nearby. As she left, he then began to explain why.

You see, he once bought a sandwich that had, secreted within the folds of meat and salad, a long black hair. For most, that’s the moment you throw the sandwich into a bin. For the local sandwich shop, that was also the moment they lost a huge amount of repeat trade.

When poor service leaves a bitter after taste

In my mind at least, this incident was merely the fall out from something much more serious, and that’s a lack of customer care. The guys at the sandwich shop must have been aware that a local company was spending a lot of money with them, so why not sweeten the deal? When I say “local company”, I mean a head office for a multi-national business, employing hundreds of people.

My client was vocal in his protestations, and the moment the hair-in-sandwich story got around, well guess what? Most of the office staff followed suit and never bought another morsel of food from those guys again.

Customer care — eating humble pie?

If the guys at the sandwich shop had been more attentive, instead of my client simply stopping buying from them, he may have felt compelled to have called them to explain what he’d found in his sandwich. At which point, said sandwich shop should have ensured the next time they wanted food, it would either be steeply discounted, or even free.

And you know what would have helped precipitate this more positive outcome? Just saying “Hi!” to my client when he walked into their sandwich shop.

By all accounts, that never happened. Not once. Not what I’d call a recipe for success…

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