Putting the phrases “IoT Quality” in the same sentence as “The Experience Economy” makes you think, doesn’t it?
After all, what picture is created by the phrase “customer experience,” the hallmark of The Experience Economy? Most of us think about our daily interactions with products, services and software interfaces. Then, we picture whether, or not, these interactions are useful, practical, efficient and enjoyable.
Our enjoyable experiences motivate us to want to repeat them. As a result, we continue to purchase not only that product or service. We carry a positive sentiment towards the OEM, their brand and their entire product line, as well. Overall, customer experiences catalyze customer retention.
The Experience Economy captures the plate tectonics of Operations and IoT Quality processes and mindset crashing into Business methodologies and mindset.
Repeat customers sustain organizations. As a Quality professional, Deming incorporates this mindset into his work, during the end of the second and into the third Industrial Revolutions. In addition, the reason repeat customers return is consistent product quality, fueled by Quality processes. Therefore, customers would expect products and services to remain as good as the day they are purchased.
Then, things change. The 2nd and 3rd Industrial Revolutions are replaced by the Age of Cyber Physical Systems, Industry 4.0. Pine and Gilmore’s seminal 1999 book (and the 2011, Industry 4.0 edition) “The Experience Economy” and then “Infinite Possibilities” (Pine and Korn, 2011) set a new benchmark for Quality systems.
These books not only change the rules of customer engagement. They also alter the role of Quality. Yes, Quality professionals remain involved in designing, measuring, analyzing, improving and controlling the quality of products and services. However, IoT Quality professionals now encounter business colleagues adding additional requirements. What happens when product and service specifications include customer experiences, as well?
Customer expectations change within IoT environments and The Experience Economy.
Clearly, the age of mass production and “as good as the day I bought it” customer expectations are over. During the past two decades, customers expect a company’s products and services to become not only better during that product’s lifecycle. IoT customers expect their experiences with a company’s products and services to become continuously better and better.
While The Experience Economy is widely adopted in B2C organizations (business-to-consumer), there is a strong place for customer experience in retaining B2B (business-to-business) customers. Enter the role of tomorrow’s IoT Quality professionals.
Will Quality keep pace with customer experience within Internet of Things environments?
The Experience Economy is all about addressing opportunities. Hence, an opportunity exists for customers to experience the difference Quality contributions make in creating continuously better and better customer experiences. Except, in many organizations, B2C or B2B, the role and value of Quality contributions remain hidden from customer-facing, line of business units.
In addition, Quality professionals serve in an often-legacy and reactive capacity. They fix what is broken, rather than playing a proactive role, designing and developing not only products and services, but experiences, as well.
IoT Quality professionals in manufacturing and other B2B industries cannot “sit this one out,” because enlightened competitors are embracing the challenge to move forward.
I’ll be the morning keynote, speaking about Customer Experience and Customer Retention, at ASQ BOSCON 2018, on March 20. I explore the quality processes and mindset shifts essential in creating an engaged, quality-focused workforce which owns customer retention.
Does the concept of promoting the Quality Experience make you a bit uncomfortable, as a Quality Professional of Worth? I hope so.
Because, Quality tools like design thinking and qualitative Voice of the Customer methodologies, have a tremendous impact on delivering the types of customer experiences that retain customers and elongate customer lifecycles. However, to successfully deploy these tools and methodologies, Quality professionals must walk Quality talk across the organization, from the plant floor to the C-Suite.
That scenario presents Quality professionals with a non-traditional, tremendously exciting, opportunity. Are you prepared to move one millimeter beyond your current professional comfort level?
Then, take the next steps towards Quality professional innovation:
- Read these related posts on professional innovation, workforce engagement and customer retention.
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Babette Ten Haken, Founder & President of One Millimeter Mindset™ serves organizations as a corporate catalyst and innovative speaker, strategist, coach and storyteller. Babette’s One Millimeter Mindset™ Workshops and Speaking programs leverage collaboration to catalyze professional innovation, workforce engagement and customer retention, especially in challenging Industrial Internet of Things environments. Babette’s playbook of IIoT team collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon. She is a member of SME, ASQ, SHRM and the National Speakers Association.
Image source: ASQ