by Alan Willett

“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”

— Stephen Covey

Takeout nights had usually been a delight for us, but one night became quite stressful.  

After carefully placing the order for the six of us, I drove to town and picked up the food. Once I arrived home to my very hungry family, we discovered multiple mistakes, including a missing meal.  

The missing food damaged our trust with that restaurant. When it happened twice, they were off our list.  

I have a question for you and your customers. When you deliver a solution to your customers, do they trust it will work the first time?  If not, how many iterations does it take before it does work at adequate levels?  

Some organizations have customers who expect to receive broken solutions. These customers expect to go back to the restaurant multiple times before having a complete, high-quality meal. These customers are not happy, nor are they loyal customers when they see other choices.

Steve Shook, Director of Software Engineering at ISHPI, gave a talk called “The Long View.” In that data-rich presentation, he covered the extensive history of his organization. One fact about quality that stood out for me was that the higher the quality their organization produced, the higher the customer loyalty. These customers expected the solutions to work the first time – and the solutions did work the first time.

With all the customers I work with, my work on quality has shown that focusing on quality pays back in improved speed and results in happier customers.

I have developed a new habit when I pick up my takeout food. I verify it on the spot.

I am an enthusiastic repeat customer at the places that get it right. What do your customers expect?

Yours in the calm pursuit of excellence,

Alan Willett