Getting Customers

Quality is defined by the buyer- Does your product fit the Customer need?

Many businesses small and large, have realized the hard way, that it is the customer who defines quality and different customers may have varying needs from a service or a product that is offered. An important criterion which defines and decides quality is to what extent the product meets and satisfies the particular needs of the buyer. A product is considered to be of ‘poor quality’ when it falls short of meeting the performance expectations of the customer. However, it is true that a product that exceeds performance expectations is also considered as poor quality. In general the quality of a product is determined by the degree to which it is capable of fulfilling the customer’s needs. Thus a product that produces 20,000 units per hour when the buyer needs one that produces only 5000 units per hour is not a quality product, in that its extra capacity is unnecessary in terms of meeting the buyers usage of the product and the expectations. Many business buyers pose the question “Do we really need the latest very expensive equipment model for everyone? And most of the time the answer is ‘no’. The moderately priced machines will work just as well.This relationship between price and quality plays a significant role in marketing in developing economies. Standard quality requirements of industrial products sold in the markets of developed countries that command higher prices may be completely out of line for the needs of the less developed markets. A product which possesses features that are labor saving has little or no importance where labor is easily available. Such features which are of not much advantage to the buyer do not contribute to enhancing the quality rating of a product. This does not mean that quality is not important or that it is not sought in developing markets. It is a strong indication that these markets need products that are designed to meet their specific needs rather than products designed for higher expectations and greater parameters of usage. This is especially true if the added features result in increasing the price of the product.

Hence when a product is designed it is essential to view it from all aspects of use. Products which claim to be universally operable often encounter problems in extreme variations in climate. Products that function effectively in Western Europe may require major design changes to operate as well in the hot dry Sahara region or the humid tropical rainforest regions. Manufacturers need to take into account many variations when making products that will be functional in far flung markets.

Against the scenario of today’s tough competition, it is imperative for every company to consider the nature of its market and the appropriateness of the design of its products. To deal with the competition in an effective manner, care should be taken to ensure that the product is not over engineered and overpriced and moreover, made available at a competitive price. For a product to be a success it is essential that it exactly fits a customer’s needs – advanced technologically for some segments and less sophisticated for others, while retaining its original quality. Indeed more and more frequently customers’ opinions are valued in all aspects of the product development process, from generating new ideas to prototype testing.

So for your product to fit the customer’s need the following rules apply

  1. Align your product to the customers’ requirement
  2. Give the customer what is needed- don’t exceed the expectations in the name of quality
  3. Satisfy the need of the customer with a choice of products for small and large businesses
  4. Adapt the product technology to make it affordable both to large and small segments.
  5. Avoid over pricing and over engineering- at increased costs- The customer takes only what he needs

The concept of quality encompasses many factors and the perception of quality rests solely with the customer. Keep the customer satisfied. A product which reflects the needs and expectations of the buyer- no more, no less… is a quality product.

Entrepreneurial Learning

The article talks of quality and how it affects the buyer, and how the action of the buyer affects the seller. The relationship between price and quality plays a significant role in marketing in developing economies. Standard quality requirements of industrial products sold in the markets of developed countries that command higher prices may be completely out of line for the needs of the less developed markets. For a product to be successful it is essential that it exactly fits a customer’s needs – advanced technologically for some segments and less sophisticated for others, while retaining its original quality.

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