The Future of Quality


Last week I was asked to talk in the re-opening of a well-established hotel, who has designed to take a major  leap in their service concept. Ever since I read Robert Pirsig's  classic "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" I have pondered upon the idea how do we define quality. One thing is obvious here: there is a great transformation where increasing emphasis is given to quality instead of quantity, be it hotel service, your standard of living, your work or your whatever. Quality is the name of the game.

I came up with seven criteria for quality:

1)  Quality means local: if you serve your client here in Finland by providing lingonberry shampoo (provoking the sense of using local materials) in hotel bathroom, it can't be produced in China (as I realized in the hotel in North of Finland where I stayed last week)

2) Quality means environmentally sound:  in the coming decades, there is no other subject that worries people all around the world than environmental destruction. Thus we need to bear it in mind in everything that we offer to our  clients

3)  Price/quality ratio need to be in shape: in other words, because consumers have access to ample amount of information, you simply cannot fool them (or you can but it comes back to you with a huge price tag)

4) You always need to provide your client several options. You simply can't offer just one solution even if they did it in former Soviet Union

5) Basic services need always be free. Today, in hotels, it means internet the way it is with fresh water.

6) You should avoid rigidity and bureaucracy at all price. For overwhelming amount of people, quality means simplicity and agility. Remember our great tradition of Scandinavian design!

7) You should offer your client a bit more than what she expects: positive surprises are the best way to build loyalty to your clientele

I sum: quality means ultimately deeds that bring out your attitude: how you take care of your client...