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Japanese Marketing and Ideas of Quality
Most American companies have adopted the Japanese attitude of doing things right the first time. However while Americans pay lip service to the Japanese concept of first-time perfection or zero defects, experience shows that they actually don't want to do it right the first time. Rather there is an attitude based on "no pain, no gain" - you have to learn from your mistakes.
In the auto industry, for example, General Motors found out that selling "perfect" cars with no mistakes decreased the appreciation of their customers significantly. Big jumps in GM's image were made when the small number of mistakes were treated adequately and quickly: "What a great company. When you have a little problem with your car they pick it up, replace it with a new one and the next evening it is brought back. Fixed."The message is clear; the people who had a problem with their cars had a chance to experience how much GM cared..
In a study within AT&T it was revealed that the phrase "total quality control" appealed to Japanese workers, but was deadly for the Americans. None of the managers was interested, so they were asked what they were doing wrong. The program was redesigned, giving managers tasks to do, and they were videotaped failing these tasks. The people who came in talking about "doing it right the first time" and "zero defects" failed again and again, but then learned from their mistakes.
In America "zero defects" means perfection. For the Japanese perfection is attainable; for the Americans, only God can accomplish perfection. The three words ''total quality control" represent the most negative combination possible to the American unconscious. So when AT&T stopped copying the Japanese and starting seeking quality the American way - through trial and error - success was imminent, The training program was devised around quality and started with planned failure. Whereas the Japanese would give managers a rule book to study in order to achieve perfection, AT&T developed a process in which initial failure was built in, so the managers could learn through trial and error to create quality that they would then view as a personal accomplishment.
Companies should not purposefully make products with defects so that they can show customers they care, but they do need to consider another attribute in addition to the quality of the products or service: the quality of the relationship between the product and the customer
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