Quality has different meanings for different people.When we sell goods internationally, it is critical that these goods are produced to and maintained at a certain high standard – one that is decided by our customer and that we have committed to meet.
However, for a service, the customer does not define a standard and we do not have a clear idea of his expectation. As we have no idea about the customer’s expectations, the question of agreeing to meet them does not arise. Even so, there are some basic expectations that we must fulfill if we want to provide good quality service. Let’s look at some examples to understand this.
On a visit to a dentist, as soon as I had sat in the chair, I saw the previous patient’s extracted tooth, a swab of bloodied cotton and used instruments on a round table next to my chair. I also saw some red stains in the basin next to the chair. I mumbled an excuse and promptly got up and left. I went to the dentist next door. At the second dentist, I was called in only after everything had been cleaned. The dentist washed his hands in front of me and sterilized every instrument before examining me. I was impressed by his methods. After that, not only did I become a regular patient, I also recommended him to numerous friends and acquaintances.
On another occasion, I had called a plumber to my house to fix a leaking tap. The plumber came, changed the washer and got the tap working. After that, he threw the old washer into the garbage bin and cleaned the tap and the surrounding area. He then proceeded to check all the taps in the house and clean their filters – all this without being told! While leaving, he gave us a bill for the work done, along with a detailed break-up of the amount. He told us that we could call him any time between 7 am to 9 pm for anything we needed. He has now become the ‘go-to’ person for my household.
The well-known Marathi writer, ShriVaPu Kale, has recorded several observations in his story ‘Satavalekar’ from his ‘Karmachari’ collection. He has described in accurate detail how finding a piece of onion or garlic skin or chilly stalk in one’s ‘kanda-pohe’ is enough to dampen one’s enthusiasm!
Nowadays, most weddings serve buffets. There, if one has to wipe one’s own plate, spoon and bowl, then, however good the food may be, it is unlikely to earn any praise. At some buffets, some of the items have to still ‘arrive’. When this happens, a person usually eats whatever he can get, compliments the hosts on the good food and makes his way out!
Small things like these cause a customer to feel let down. Every customer won’t give you his feedback; he will simply avoid you. Overall, we have to think about what will make our service good, decide the processes to be followed and keep making improvements to bring our service to a level of excellence. Only then will our customers say that we offer ‘quality’.