What Do Sunglasses Have To Do With Software Performance?


So, what do sunglasses have to do with software performance?

For the moment, leave aside the marketing aspect. The how you found out that these sunglasses were good quality. For the purpose of this post, I include price in the marketing aspect as pricing and discounts really are a function of marketing. When a consumer purchases on price alone, they’re purchasing on marketing alone, not solely quality. See loss leaders as one example strategy for this.

We’ll focus instead on two areas:

  1. The customer (or prospective buyer) perspective of why they believe the sunglasses are good quality
  2. The business perspective of how they drove that perception of quality

This really isn’t rocket science but it amazes me how many companies still (in 2021) neglect these (to me) basic guiding principles.

Two Opportunities

If my company is in the business of manufacturing sunglasses, it has two opportunities to improve the quality of the glasses and the perception of my company:

  1. During design & manufacture cycle
  2. During post sales cycle

Quality During Design and Manufacture

How does my company differentiate our sunglasses from every other market player? Perhaps we invest in better R&D so our shapes are better, different or more suited to our customer profile than our competitors. I invest in style.

Perhaps we invest in better materials? Clearer lenses, scratch resistant coatings, UV protections, polarisation technology and so forth. Maybe the materials from which make the frames are lighterweight or more durable so the glasses don’t break as easily as the competitors glasses.

In short, we improve the quality of the product that goes out the door.

Post Sales Quality

So a customer has purchased and comes to you with an issue. Their glasses are defective in some way. The quicker you fix (or remediate) their issue, the better they will think of your product and company.

Do you offer free exchanges (over and above consumer protection laws) for faults? If so, how effortless, quick and cheap is the process for me to get the glasses back to you?

Do you take that one step further and offer exchanges even if they aren’t faulty? Do you offer 24/7 support? Perhaps you offer a money back guarantee or free exchanges if they don’t suit within a certain time period? What are you

In short, how quickly and accurately can you fix my issue and make me happy again?

Software = Sunglasses

The software your company produces really is no different from my sunglasses. You too have two opportunities to improve quality of your software:

  1. Better software into production in the first place
  2. If and when things go wrong (and they will) how fast you remediate those issues and return customers to their happy state

Final Thoughts

As I said at the beginning, this isn’t rocket science but companies I deal with still regularly either struggle to achieve this or (worse) seem to ignore these basic principles.

To me, the worse the two above things are, the more money you have to spend on marketing to “paper over the cracks” so to me, it just makes sense! Then again, I’m not in marketing so maybe I’m missing something!?

I’m very keen to know your experiences:

  • What have you / your company tried or implemented in this area?
  • What worked, what didn’t? What have you learned, unlearned (old habits die hard)
  • Where did you succeeded or fail?
  • Where are you stuck for next steps? What blockers are you facing?

Please do connect with me on LinkedIn and we’ll continue the conversation there either publicly or via private mesage if you prefer.

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