Using Market Research to Meet the Challenge

Article

Waksman, Janet Siegel   (1988, ASQC)   Marine Midland Bank, New York, NY

Annual Quality Congress, Dallas TX    Vol. 42    No. 0
QICID: 3536    May 1988    pp. 876-880
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Article Abstract

Quality Professionals have been trying recently to take a more proactive role in management by including customer perception in the development of product and service specifications. This is especially true in the Service Industries where it is often difficult to separate the product from the service delivery.

Unfortunately, measuring customer perceptions of quality is not always easy, and the data tends to be qualitative rather than quantitative. Yet, some measure of customer satisfaction is necessary if the quality management is to take a positive approach to the challenge of quality.

In my paper, I will present a model for utilizing Market Research techniques to determine customer quality requirements as well as to measure customer perceptions of current quality, and any future changes to that perception. The model has been successfully implemented at Marine Midland Bank in Wholesale Operations.

The paper will include discussions of types of research which can be used and how they can best be applied to quality situations, including: focus groups, telephone and mail survey research, internal surveys, etc. Also included will be recommendations on how to gain management's support for the program, how to select and work successfully with an outside vendor, low cost options for gaining customer input, and how to present the data for maximum impact within the business.

The Marine Midland program will be used to provide specific examples of how the model can be used. Results within Marine Midland have been excellent. As a result of the research changes in service delivery techniques have been accomplished. New standards have been set tot better reflect customer requirements. Employees in service areas that were poorly rated by customers have been targeted for new training. Much to the surprise of marketing, even new products have been developed, and existing products have been re-designed.

By learning some very basic techniques, quality managers can learn to provide valuable data to their organization, gain quantitative support for the setting of quality objectives, and develop quality measures which speak in the language of marketing managers and top executives.

Keywords

Surveys,Customer satisfaction (CS),Financial industry


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