The title of this article sounds like it should be asked at the end of the product development cycle. In my opinion, it should be kept in mind from the very beginning. It is the question Fred Reichheld, a well known marketing guru, has identified as the “Ultimate Question”. To fully quote him the question is “Would you recommend us to your friends and colleagues?”. Reichheld argues that if a product or service gets to the point that the customer would recommend it to their close friends and colleagues it has met or possibly exceeded the customer’s expectations. Once the product or service gets to that point it sells itself. One could say that the ultimate question asks if the business or manufacturer has met their ultimate goal, creating a product that sells itself. Its the only important question because everything else falls into place if the answer is yes.
Before we go any further you may be asking yourself why am I writing about a marketing concept on a website with the theme of developing engineers and products for the healthcare industry. The answer is obvious to those who create products but its importance is typically skimmed over in engineering curricula. Most products meet the customer’s needs at some level but the truly successful products exceed customer expectations. When a product exceeds customer’s quality expectations it does exceptionally well in the market place. The engineer is a key player in the process that makes that happen. Just as they can not design well if they don’t know the manufacturing processes they can not meet or exceed their customer’s expectations unless they know their ultimate goal. That is why every successful engineering professional in industry always keeps in mind their own version of the “The Ultimate Question” as they design and develop a product.
If you look at the tabs above this article you will see the “One Question” tab. Try it out! Evaluate this website and provide some written feedback. As time goes by you will be able to see a product evolve before your eyes using the “Ultimate Question”.