Why should I care about 'Quality'?

Quality is one of those words that seem to be self explanatory - "of course we want quality, lots of it!", but when asked "and why is that?" my customers are often at a loss to elaborate.  The term is used very liberally in most industries but rarely goes beyond empty phrases.  Recently I stumbled across a profound response to this question and I felt compelled to share it:

Your customers are in a perfect position to tell you about ‘Quality’, because that is all they are really buying. They are not buying a product, they are buying your assurances that their expectations for that product will be met. You haven’t got anything to sell but ‘Quality’


(Source: John Guaspari, "I know when I see it" 1985, p77)



So next time, I come along and ask this provocative question - I hope to hear "that's all we have to offer!" :-)