Perception of Quality: Don’t fall into this trap

Perception of Quality: Don’t fall into this trap

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Sunday 7:30 AM: “Ring… Ring…” my mobile goes off. I see it is my childhood friend and golfing buddy Jawahar on the line. Along with having the misfortune of knowing me for nearly 40 years, Jawahar is the CEO of one of the finest universities in India with over 15,000 students (PES) that he has built literally ground up.






He and I have share this passion for exploring food different places. Today his pick was a place that was ‘hole in a wall’ place in the remote inner cities of Bangalore. He told me that he had gone to this place a long time ago and remembered that the food was good. We traveled nearly half an hour to get to this place. 



As we drove close to this ‘hole in a wall’ in Jawahar’s blue BMW SUV into some narrow streets. I noticed quite a few nice cars parked around the restaurant. As we parked and walked up to a small house (of the chef) that was converted into a restaurant by day, there was a long line of nearly 50 people. We joined at the end and waited and waited and waited for nearly an hour. The crowd grew restless. People got upset that someone cut the line. The owner jumped into action and yelled at everyone in a way that would make the ‘Soup Nazi’ from the Seinfeld show look like a spring chicken!


Eventually we got our turn and were shunted into a small room where we were made to sit on a wooden bench as they served the only two dishes on the menu. We noticed that there were several very well to do people that had all put up with the Super Soup Nazi, the heat, the parking, the waiting for a simple breakfast! While we waited for the food (and because we had run out of all topics to talk) I got to thinking about how this relates to our work!


I came up with a with this conclusion. “Customers are willing to come in and buy your service despite every obstacle that you throw at them so long as they perceive that they will get quality service!!!!” As I had this epiphany they served the much awaited food.


We ate in silence and as we made our way out the I asked Jawahar what he thought of the food. He said it was not as good as he had before and the standards had really dropped. Knowing Jawahar it just meant that we would never visit this place again.


As I walked into my house I made a resolution that we would never let this happen at Vantage Agora and never take our customers for granted.


Needless to say that our Monday morning ‘Operations call’ was even more focused on quality than usual. At VA we talk about having our customers feel like ‘a child would when she gets a toy she always wanted”, when they use VA services. I believe that is what we are all striving for. The day we become like the ‘Super Soup Nazi’ and neglect our customer the end of our business is not far away.


Let me ask you a few questions to help you decide if you and your company are providing ‘Customer Delight’:

  1. Is there an objective way you track customer quality in your organization that is tracked all the way back to the people that did the work and their performance?
  2. Can tell me what your 6 Sigma quality level is today for your company?
  3. If you don’t know your 6 Sigma number, can you look it up in a dashboard and trust that the information is correct?
  4. Do you have a system that helps your organization learn from every mistake or change?

If you say ‘NO’ to any one of these questions you need to make a change urgently. You have to focus on ‘Operational Excellence’ before it is too late.


If you need help to bring Customer Satisfaction and Operational Excellence into your organization, go on and make the call to your friends at Vantage Agora. We will be glad to help!

About Vantage Agora:

Vantage Agora (VA) is a global provider of social enterprise networks software products for operational excellence and back-office solutions for operations excellence along with consulting services for companies in the insurance, finance, and healthcare sectors. As a SSAE 16 Type II audited company,Vantage Agora utilizes advanced data processing and quality control systems on a secured network to ensure efficient, comprehensive management of back-office functions such as insurance, financial, and administrative tasks. Founded in 2004, Vantage Agora has offices in Cleveland and Dallas.


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