How to get quality back on track
A lesson from probably the best, not anymore, beer producer
Carlsberg has recently admitted that it’s probably not the best beer out there.
This begs the question:- how do you deal with criticism about your products and services?
Carlsberg’s marketing budget would probably be eye watering to a small business. So, if you don’t have that sort of money to spend on advertising, how do you address quality concerns and shout about a new product to your clients?
Why do you have to keep a check on the quality?
Depending on how you position your product or service, quality will mean different things to different people.
Clearly, you want to produce something which is safe and which people want to buy but if you’re producing a budget face cream, the quality isn’t expected to be the same as a more expensive one.
We all know that sometimes expensive doesn’t mean better but if you’re saying your face cream is probably the best out there then you need to make sure it is.
People will pay more for quality if it’s there.
In Carlsberg’s case, it seems they got comfortable with that slogan and maybe even thought they could change the process and taste of the beer and really nobody would notice. They’ve found out the hard way that it doesn’t pay to take your foot off the gas.
If you produce sub-standard products, your clients are likely to complain more and return items to you. If you have stock sitting in a warehouse which you can’t sell, it’s going to affect your profits and you may have to pay to replace or repair products more often if you aren’t managing the quality.
If customers are happy with their new sofa, they’ll likely tell their friends. If they aren’t happy, then they definitely will. Customers are also more likely to take to social media platforms to complain too. It can not only damage your profits but your reputation and brand too.
How to get the quality back
If you realise there are some negative mutterings about your products out there or sales have dropped away, it’s time to look again at your wares.
Take some time to look at the competition.
What are they doing which might be better? What has your customer feedback been telling you about why they’re unhappy with your product compared to others? What are people saying about the competition?
Before you make changes to a product and relaunch it, make sure you test it on a sample group first. Invest in some market research with potential clients to see what they think of the product.
If you make hats for example, allow a test group to wear them for a short while free of charge, if they agree to take part in a focus group or survey afterwards. If you make cakes or chocolates, this should be fairly easy to arrange!
Taking the feedback onboard, products can be tweaked before they’re launched more widely.
As well as selling products which are well made, being the best means offering options.
Clients don’t all want to have a grey chair. They may want to customise their chair so it matches their home. By offering the same chair in other colours or finishes, you’re adding to the customer experience and hopefully improving your original product. You can also charge more for added extras, so it’s a win for your profits too.
The full package
Don’t forget, quality isn’t just about the end product. Quality also includes the service that comes with that product. People feel they are getting a premium product if they have a good consumer experience. Don’t let down a new product with poor customer care.
Now you need to tell people about it
Once you’ve made your product taste better, look better, last longer etc, you need to tell people about it.
Not only will you need to tell your existing customers that you’re re-launching the product but you need to let potential customers know about it too. Consider using a range of marketing channels to do this as you’ll reach a wider audience. If you can, don’t forget to do some market research so you know who your ideal customer base is.
Explain the features
The chances are that you’ve made changes to the product or you’ve enhanced it in some way. Make sure you’re clear what these changes are. It’s not enough to just say it’s new and improved. People will want to know that you’ve addressed the problems that were there before. It will help to rebuild trust in your brand.
If there were some negative reviews about the product in the past, why not offer those clients the new product at an introductory offer as a trial? Offer it to them before you market it more widely. Hopefully they will like the revised version and will share their thoughts on social media.
Hopefully, by taking the time and investing in relaunching a product, you’ll regain your original sales and even surpass them.
Business support and advice
We like to work with our clients to understand their business and their customers. If you need to invest in a new product or service, we can help get your finances in order.
We can also go through your sales figures and profit and loss forecasts, so you have a clear picture of how your products are performing. If we think there’s a market out there which you haven’t considered, we’ll talk you through it.
About Jon Pryse-Jones
Since joining THP in 1978, Jon Pryse-Jones has been hands on with every area of the business. Now specialising in strategy, business planning, and marketing, Jon remains at the forefront of the growth and development at THP.
An ideas man, Jon enjoys getting the most out of all situations, “I act as a catalyst for creative people and encourage them to think outside the box,” he says, “and I’m not afraid of being confrontational. It often leads to a better result for THP and its clients.”
Jon’s appreciation for THP extends to his fellow team members and the board. “They really know how to run a successful business,” he says. He’s keen on IT and systems development as critical to success, and he continues to guide THP to be at the cutting edge and effective.