Philosophy on Quality
Ah, philosophy. It’s not just for quantum mechanics. Instoll is part think-tank and part do something about it – it’s an ongoing experiment with real-world implications. And we want the brands we incubate or promote to drink the “quality cool beverage.” Let us explain.
What is Instoll’s philosophy?
- Have you ever received an advertisement that said you could fly to the Caribbean for $399, but when you click the link the cheapest trip there was $489 and then the price just creeps up the closer you get to the “checkout” button?
- Have you ever paid for a service and then tried to get someone on the phone to talk about it, finding out that after they ran off with your money, there’s nobody you can talk to, or that you have access to a super slow chat system or a phone menu that navigates you in convoluted circles for 10 minutes, or you get transferred from agent to agent having to repeat your story every time?
- Are you sick of signing your life away and allowing companies to use and abuse your personal information, chew up your phone’s CPU so they can mine your contacts, tell you when your computer needs to be restarted without your consent, dictate the terms under which you can receive service even though you are paying through the nose?
- Have you ordered products and tried to return them only to get answers like “only with the original packaging”, “only if you pay for shipping”, “you can send it back but, we’ll charge you a restocking fee”?
These are all examples of a negative customer experience, and consumers put up with this treatment every single day. It’s somehow become OK to treat consumers like an after thought. This kind of treatment is the opposite of the quality standard we want to promote in every industry.
There are firms out there who can and do treat their customers better. What if you could know, before you did business with a firm, how they handle their pricing, their support, your privacy, returns/exchanges or your loyalty? Wouldn’t that be awesome?
Welcome to Instoll’s philosophy: Quality is not just about the product, it’s about how the product is advertised, how the customer gets information before purchasing the product, it’s about the fulfillment of the customer’s purchase, and it is about how the customer gets treated after they have made the purchase (needing help, exchanging/returning, even their loyalty in general).
Yes, it will take time to evolve and we are just at the beginning, but every journey tends to start there. We want to start by refining this philosophy with a few closely held brands and then as we figure out how to define this philosophy a little better, we want to come up with tools customers can use to find companies which bring a high level of quality to the entire customer experience.
There are many more dimensions to consider when evaluating a company’s products/service, but Instoll has identified the following tenets for the first version of “Quality of Experience” :
Truth in Pricing: Everything should be as easy as we can make it – no hidden agenda, no “surprise you get assemble this yourself”, no “that picture was a suggestion of something but not what you get”. No surprise resort fee, no hidden service fee, no additional bag fees.
Human Contact: AI, automation and self-service are great options – they save businesses money and done right, they save customers on time; however, rarely are the bots that wonderful. No hiding behind bots. Make sure humans can be reached with minimal effort (navigating a menu that hides the humans is not acceptable). If not at the “free” tier, certainly for customers who have shelled out coin.
Privacy: Everyone wants their customer’s data. We want you to share whatever information allows us to serve you, but trust that your information is only shared as far as YOU want it to go. In fact, you might have heard the phrase “if you get a service for free, you are not the customer.” Instoll is happy to promote paid services, but then those services should, as broadly as possible, allow their customer to choose how and when their information gets shared, hidden, exported, copied, deleted, etc. We value brands who respect customer privacy and don’t share information any further than is “medically” needed to complete a transaction or provide the service the customer has requested.
Experimentation: Instoll is an experiment and we value our customers being able to painlessly experiment as well. We think customers should be able to try out products and services, have access to easy returns/cancellations and to purchase a la carte or pay-as-you-go with no binding contracts.
Loyalty: Instoll wants companies to offer real loyalty programs. There are two components – one is valuing how long a customer has been loyal and making sure that the longer a customer has been loyal the better they get treated, and the other component is a loyalty point system where the points are good for at least 3 years if not longer. And none of this “Plenti” point aggregation crud – that was totally abused to dilute what customer could receive for their loyalty. If points get aggregated then they have combined power, not diluted power.
This is the beginning of “quality” being re-imagined. We can’t wait to see where it goes.