Bad Quality Lasts Longer than High Prices

I recently saw the following quotation in the footer of an email from one of my client contacts at a leading IT company:  “The memory of bad quality lasts longer than the shock of high prices.”  

How true that is.  On a personal note, have you ever opted for the cheap seats at a show or concert, only to wish you had paid 20% more to be able to actually see and hear the performance?   Or, ever made a snap decision to buy a new piece of furniture that was on a too-good-to-miss sale, only to realize when it arrives that it really isn’t that comfortable or doesn’t fit in like it should?   As customers, we make purchase decisions based on the value we expect to receive, and we all try to optimize the value equation in our favor.  But, sometimes we get it wrong and tip the balance too far toward price, only to later regret the quality component.

In Voice of the Customer relationship studies, it’s pretty common to include several metrics on quality and also a metric on price.  Most of the clients Walker works with are industry-leaders that are bringing to market leading innovations and new trends, and that calls for a premium on price.  In these cases, it’s critical to measure VALUE, including a competitive view on Value, so that we have a gauge on customers’ perceptions of ‘what they get, for what they paid’.  Analytically, we look at what drives value, and often find that quality components (Hardware and Software quality, the quality of the People that customers interact with, quality of Support) are bigger factors in customers’ assessment of the ultimate value they receive. 

The same thinking should apply when we scope out customer measurement programs – both in terms of vendor costs and the allotment of time for internal team members to manage the program.  We recommend that you, as VOC program leaders, are careful, even territorial, about not cutting out the 20% of scope and time that will provide 80% of the value – the extra analytics, communication planning, collaboration, action planning, change management and deployment type activities that are going to make the biggest difference on how your internal customers assess the quality – and the ultimate ROI! – of your efforts.


Krista Roseberry
Vice President, Consulting Services



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