“Good enough is never good enough.”
– Jack Welch, General Electric
“When you’re better than ‘good enough,’ your price is too high.”
– Sam Bowers, business professor and lecturer
It’s hard to argue with a business legend like Jack Welch. And he’s right. We need to continuously tweek and refine our product or service to meet the changing needs of our customers or to better serve their existing needs.
But Sam Bowers is also right. Price is always part of the equation. Marketing executives deal with this every day. Yes, we have the technology to make an improvement to our product, but it will add $10,000 to the price tag. If our customers are unwilling to pay an additional $10,000 for our product, then the message is clear. The old product was good enough.
I could put higher octane gasoline in my car but it would cost more, and you know what? My owner’s manual says the car is designed to run on the lower octane gasoline, so it’s definitely good enough.
I have a wrist watch that I bought for under $100 and it keeps amazingly precise time. It never gains or loses a second. I could have spent thousands of dollars for a fancy Rolex, but all I require is dependable time keeping. So my watch is good enough.
The message is simple. We must always strive to understand and meet customer needs. But before we “surpass our customer’s expectations” (as many companies claim to do), we better look at the cost/benefit relationship from the customer’s point of view. In many cases, dependably and professionally meeting our customer’s expectations is good enough . . . particularly when “surpassing” means eroding our profit margins or raising our prices.