Within any organization, quality is the standard bearer that will determine success or failure. A company can only survive due to the fruits of its labor. In many cases, companies have developed a top-notch, unbeatable product. While the product may have been as revolutionary as sliced bread, the ulitmate determining factor in success or failure is quality.
Examine the difference between a Japanese automaker and and American automaker. The Japanese, through American innovation, have developed near-flawless processes that can be stopped by any line worker discovering a problem. On the flip side, an American automaker, the production line can only be stopped by a front line (or higher) supervisor. Do you ever wonder why a Ford Explorer begins to rattle at 36,000 miles while a Toyota 4Runner can be expected to be driven for 200,000 miles without fail? Quality is the answer.
Most people not only expect quality, they demand it. Have you ever eaten at a restaurant and been treated poorly by the wait staff? How much did you tip them? In most cases, I would venture a guess and say "not much" and be correct. We expect simply expect quality. On the flip side of this expectation, are we willing to pay for quality?
Quality choices are made during every trip to the super market. Depending upon the product, we determine if the quality of the name brand exceeds the cost savings of the no-name brand. Can we stomach the no-name in order to save money? Will the no-name bleach destroy our clothes and cost us more money farther down the road? Can I live with the decision?
There is one example in which a company can produce a non-quality product, but yet charge exorbitant fees: Microsoft Operating Systems. Microsoft is the only company that I have ever witnessed in which they can provide a product that is incomplete, requires updates to be used (out of the box) and suffer no repercussions because of it. How can they do this and get away with it? There is little to no competition facing them. While Apple is giving Microsoft a run for their money in some arenas, Microsoft is still the king of operating systems.
People do not simply expect to receive "adequate" service or goods, we expect to receive what we paid for the item. If we pay $1 for a child's toy and expect that toy to last the child's lifetime, then our expectations are too high. We demand quality, we are willing to pay for quality; however, we do not always receive what we pay for. The market forces behind supply and demand will push inferior products to the wayside. Business recognizes this fact and in most cases, attempts to market their product within the correct price range.