September 6th, 2016
My Dad’s Ruler
In the top drawer of my dad’s desk I found a ruler. It was made of dark wood and had shiny golden letters spelling out the words Dad lived by – “Quality is Remembered Long After Price is Forgotten.”
It was many years ago and I was just a child, but I remember going to Dad’s desk, opening the drawer and reading the words often. The words on the ruler have been the measuring stick for the performance of our family in business for almost 60 years.
At one time, we attempted to use these words in our marketing efforts, but they were too easily misconstrued. The potential client could presume we were implying they should pay more to get better quality, and this slogan was our effort to justify high prices or to instigate fear of low prices. So we stopped sharing the words on Dad’s measuring stick with the general public. The correlation between price and quality was never the point of the words on the ruler to Dad.
You see, the important part of the statement for Dad was always about the legacy of quality… which is business longevity.
Dad recognized business longevity ultimately depends upon the consumer remembering quality after they had forgotten everything else about their experience with a business — including price.
With that realization, Dad’s goal was to take quality to a new level. A higher level of quality that would force clients to remember him and his company — forever. A level of quality that would force clients to consider no other alternative for the services he provided. Dad’s aim was not to satisfy clients. He set out to delight clients with the best products, service and overall experience imaginable.
Dad found that — when he met his personal goals for elevated quality levels — his clients became his advocates. They provided him with repeat business, references and feedback of every kind — including the invaluable opportunity to provide service after the sale.
It took time for Dad to surround himself with true believers of his eternal business doctrine… To find suppliers whose top priority was top-notch quality… To find installers who shared his goal to delight customers, always striving for perfection while treating clients’ homes as a castle and respecting them, their family, neighbors and belongings.
Over the decades, whenever faced with a decision about a project, an employee or a supplier, it has never failed to remember that “Quality is Remembered,” and to make a decision that favors best quality. The words on the ruler remained the driving force of Dad’s business philosophy and the guiding force to every interaction he had with his clients — and with the manufacturers of the products he supplied to the end consumer.
Dad’s ruler is worn, but still measures business longevity and promotes the legacy of quality philosophy. The rich grain of the wooden ruler is still dark and the golden letters still shine, “Quality is Remembered Long After Price is Forgotten.”