Speed Or Quality? Or Door # 3?

by Jeannie Walters

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Even Speed Racer is concerned with quality.In this week’s CXO Twitter chat hosted by Vivisimo, there was an interesting strong debate discussion regarding Speed v. Quality. Are they mutually exclusive?

(By the way, if you are interested in Customer Experience Optimization and on Twitter, join us for this chat. It’s always full of good folks who bring many great insights!)

And how do each impact the customer experience?

Without quality, there is no experience. Customers quickly realize you’re not delivering on what was promised. Some chat participants argued speed was not only unnecessary to worry about – but essential NOT to focus on in any way. With a focus on speed, the quality will drop.

Some (and I was among them) argued that speed to market and speed in general is essential as part of the customer experience. Here are some of the ways I see it:

  • If customers really WANT a feature, a competitor who beats you to the punch is delivering a better experience.
  • Speed in service is essential. If a customer has to wait for you to deliver, each moment of waiting can lead to frustration, anger, and increased expectations.
  • Thanks to social media, smart phones and Apple store hipsters with the cash register around their neck, we expect speed. If speed is not delivered, we are anxious a company is falling behind, unable to meet our expectations.
The basic argument for quality was: it’s not right to sell things that don’t work. Quality Cleaners Drive-In
I agree.
However, I don’t believe these are mutually exclusive. The company who can deliver high-quality service in an expedited fashion wins. So how can you encourage BOTH speed and quality for your customers?
1. Establish quality as vital. But don’t let perfect kill good enough.
Too often, we tweak and twist and edit products until they are perfect…for the time they originally were supposed to launch. Unfortunately, by the time they launch they are now outdated and boring. “Good enough” is often ok for a launch – especially for beta or when including your community via requesting feedback, offering charter memberships, etc.
2. Speed wins the race.
Encourage a deadline that is aggressive but realistic. A while back, I heard Peter W. Schutz (retired CEO of Porsche AG Worldwide) discuss his “Race Day” idea. He told the company Porsche had to win the race, even though it hadn’t been done in many years. Give your company a race day for each project. Don’t let sliding deadlines and missing meetings become the norm.
3. Invite your customers into the process.
Customers are more than willing to give their opinions when you include them in the creation. Invite your customers to participate in betas – not just for technology but for all your new ideas. Keep them posted on how you’re using their feedback.
My father is fond of saying, “There’s always a third choice.” It’s a simple reminder not to look at the world in a black and white way. If your team is arguing for speed or quality only, ask them to look behind Door # 3.
 Photo Credits: Outtasns & debaird

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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, a Forbes Coaches Council Member, a C-Suite Network Advisor, a LinkedIn Learning and Lynda.com instructor, and a TEDx speaker. Learn more here.

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