Very often we talk about a quality bowling experience. we talk about high touch points, high tech points and “always going the extra mile” to make sure customers leave our bowling center with happy memories
Every now and then I like to stop and see if we are truly delivering a happy memory so I ask our staff:
“What kind of quality does the customer want?” I usually get answers like:
1. “They perceive us as a good value for the money.”
2. “They had a good time and their time was well spent; they have no regrets.”
3. “They forgot about their troubles for a while.”
4. “The center was neat and clean and everybody smiled and if they had a problem, someone was there to take care of it.”
5. “We didn’t say NO all day to any customer.”
6. “When people finished bowling, and as they were leaving I said, “Thanks for coming; come back and see us soon”, they said ‘We sure will”… and I think they meant it.
7. “One lady commented on how clean our bathrooms smelled and another man told me that his son really enjoys his summer league program and will probably bowl in the fall.”
Gee I thought, these are real great comments, but what if we got it wrong? Maybe quality was just a clean bowling center, cheap prices, OK food and the fact that nobody at the center hassled them or gave them a hard time. What if that’s what they wanted and we weren’t delivering that?
Has anyone ever asked how the customer defines “a quality bowling experience?” if you have would you share those answers with us…’cause, who knows, we may have been interpreting it wrong…and all we have to go on is what WE think, not what the customers think.”
“Aw Fred, that’ just common sense. You have gone overboard on this one. Really, read the next paragraph…
Reminded me of a story about Kodak, who recently filed bankruptcy, (followed by Polaroid). Their idea of customer quality was to “deliver the highest most professional quality images to the average consumer.” That is, give the typical shutter-bug consumer the same quality picture that a professional photographer wants.
But Kodak, and subsequently Polaroid, got it wrong.
What the customer wanted was cheap film, easy to use and eventually pictures that could be shared with anybody they wanted to and NOT museum quality prints.
And as one marketing executive (Seth Godin) said in a recent article I read: “Quality is not an absolute measure. It doesn’t mean ‘deluxeness’ or ‘perfection’. It means keeping the promise the customer wants you to make.