On a recent business trip, I took a chance on dining at a place called Taj Mahal Indian Restaurant. I figured having the name Taj Mahal was a good indicator that an authentic Indian meal was in my near future. When I arrived, I was further impressed to see a plaque boasting their restaurant’s best-of award from the previous year. This made me feel like a kid in a candy store–excited for a treat that would transport my taste buds across the world, at least for the duration of the meal. Boy was I disappointed.
Frankly, the food sucked. The samosas were cold, the garlic naan was not garlicky enough, the masala chai was just not up to par. I was discouraged because, based on the name of the restaurant and the award so proudly displayed, my expectations were very high. I truly hoped for the Taj Mahal, but I got the slum mahal instead.
The owner of the restaurant, with a methodically persuasive tone, asked about my meal and was pleased when my answer was exactly what he wanted to hear. Feeling defeated, I decided to go with the flow and say the food was great. I couldn’t argue with them about the food when they have that plaque in the window, right? Maybe they were just having an off day.
I realize every business has off days, but should a business sacrifice the quality of its product just because it’s having an off day? Your potential clients and customers expect, and some demand, the Taj Mahal of products. In this day and age, your competitors provide or design and manufacture the same products that you provide; however, the one thing that will give you an upper hand is customer service. The ultimate customer service is delivering a quality product on a consistent basis. Being average or sub-par, even just on off days, will not make you more appealing than your competitor right down the street.
If you compromise your Taj Mahal product standards for slum mahal standards, you might as well close your door or the lack of quality will eventually force you out of business.