Ever wonder how eBay can be a $10 billion dollar company? Why Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year? How Craigslist is a household name? Bargains! Everyone loves a bargain. Bargain hunting isn't based on income or status; it just exists in some people. There is joy in getting something below value which is why a large percentage of people wait for something to go on sale. As a self-proclaimed bargain hunter, the one constant is that I always look for the best quality product I can find, whether I am buying new or used.
Learning to focus not only on price but also on quality was a lesson learned the hard way. In the early years at our business, we priced integrated touchscreens from our now long term partner ELO. At the time, we thought they were too expensive. We focused solely on price and decided to buy LCDs from a different source, pull them apart and install touchscreens that we sourced in China at a bargain price. We thought this made good business sense at the time.
After replacing nearly every touchscreen we had deployed at that point at a cost of $70,000 for every possible issue you could imagine, we re-evaluated our requirements for a high-quality screen. Since that early experience, we have never sacrificed quality for price. We now have the best warranty in the industry because we focus on quality. We have tens of thousands solutions deployed; with some more than 9 years old and still working great. Do we have any of the bargain screens running today? None.
When you think the price is too good to be true - it is (or it's stolen). As the old proverb says "A bargain is something you cannot use at a price you cannot resist."
Sacrificing quality in self-service solutions is not good for the industry. I often say "Out Of Order" is not a kiosk manufacturer but we have all seen the signs. People who have a bad experience with self-service are less likely to use other solutions. The same goes for companies who have deployed them. Social Media provides outlets for customer reviews like no other medium in the past. Any perceived savings quickly disappears, along with trust, when a company has to send teams of people to repair something that is supposed to be designed and built for unattended 24/7 use. While a bargain can be exciting to find, when it comes to the product or solution that you have to stand behind, what will be the true cost of your bargain part? It's important to remember, people are more apt to purchase based upon customer reviews. Now more than ever evaluate the product or solution you produce and the 'bargains' in building, because odds are that someone will talk about it. As Henry Ford once said "Quality means doing it right when no one is looking."
The bottom line: if you deploy junk; you are better off not deploying at all
Chris Gilder, CEO & Founder of Meridian, brings more than 20 years of entrepreneurial successes to the senior management team. His vision and drive to succeed has led Meridian’s double digit growth for well over a decade. Meridian has been recognized as the leader in the self-service kiosk industry and an innovator with the development of the Self Service Technology Center in partnership with Intel, HP, Microsoft, Zebra Technologies and Storm.