Quality is the New Currency
FEB 4, 2014

Quality is the New Currency

For years, companies have been wrestling with Features versus Quality app production. Modern development ideas like Agile Development, First To Market, Ship Early and Often, and Minimum Viable Product have pushed companies to develop and market as many features as they can, as fast as they can. Many of these theories are based on capturing customers by being first to market, and retaining them by continuing to build new stuff (whether they want it or not). The question is: does feature first really equate to customer loyalty?

Nielsen’s Global Survey of Loyalty Sentiment study shows very traditional values of a loyal customer in North America:

• Price - 61%

• Quality - 20%

• Service Agreement - 11%

• Selection - 8%

• Features - 5%

Price and Quality lead the way as values that overwhelmingly capture customer loyalty in North America, while features are the least critical. While the ratios for other parts of the world are more evenly spread across the other 3 attributes, what remains the same are the top two values globally – Price and Quality.

Lower price will always make more loyal customers but if you incorporate simple inflation into the economics of it all, price will have to naturally rise over time (2009 was the only year since 1980 to have a negative inflation). So if lowering price isn’t possible – or viable – quality becomes your new best friend in customer loyalty; especially in the age of social apps, search, and news, which all tend to be free resources. The companies that put quality first will continue to keep loyal customers. The model has worked pretty well for companies like Apple, who have built an incredibly loyal customer base on the foundation of the, “It Just Works” mantra, taking product quality out of the back QA lab and making it part of the customer facing ideology, and an integral part of their brand and culture.

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