No matter what kind of business you run, there is no substitute for offering a high-quality product with superior service. While some businesses may be able to "cheat" and temporarily boost their business by a number of different tactics, overall the businesses that survive over the long haul do so by seeking to integrate the highest quality standards at every level. Here are the 5 key hallmarks of a high-quality business.
1. Stellar Customer Service
There is perhaps no more important task that any business faces than that of providing outstanding customer service. In addition to the fact that it is far more expensive to try and draw in new customers than to keep an existing one, current customers are 60-70% more likely to buy from you than a new customer and your existing customers will also be your best salespeople. Considering 70% of consumers trust brand recommendations from friends over advertising, keeping your customers happy is a monumentally important priority.
2. Critical Community Engagement
More than just offering good customer service, the best and brightest brands are also heavily invested in their communities. Whether that is the global community in cases of brands like Apple, Nike, and Ikea or whether that is your local community, the most quality businesses do far more than just sell a product or service. Whether this is hosting a local pancake breakfast or sponsoring a little league team, no matter how big or small your business is, quality businesses invest in their communities.
3. Quality Employee Care
The highest quality businesses understand that your employees generally take care of your customers the same way you take care of your employees. If you genuinely want to offer great customer service, you first have to offer great employee care. Sometimes this means benefits, but more often than not it means treating your employees like human beings. Interaction and engagement with your employees are just as critical - if not more so - than interactions with your clients, consumers, and your community. Take good care of your employees and they will provide that stellar customer service you are looking for.
4. Outstanding Asset Management
Whether you own a bakery, a retail store or a roofing business, managing your assets is of utmost importance. Whether you need to know exactly how much flour or sugar you have on hand at any given time, how many hours your crews put in that week or how many units you sold that day, the most well- run businesses utilize a quality management system to help them know exactly where they stand at any given time. Good asset management is critical for any business to run effectively and you can't deliver a quality product, good or service for long without great asset management.
5. Rock Solid Branding
Global tech giant Apple has not only made its mark by doing one thing and doing it far better than anyone else they have also created an utterly relentless brand message. Apple not only offers a certain design aesthetic in every one of the products they make but also carry that same aesthetic into their retail stores (recently redesigned and rebranded as a "town square"), their corporate headquarters and even their retail store employee "uniforms" (a simple Apple t-shirt). From top to bottom, Apple knows exactly who it is and so do their most loyal consumers.
No matter what product or service a business sells, provides or offers, quality businesses all have these key traits in common. They understand that at the end of the day, their businesses are dependent on people. Quality businesses pour the majority of their resources into caring for the people that make their company great - whether that be their employees, their customers or their community. After that is managing their resources to keep their business running smoothly and doing the work of building a quality brand that people trust.