Introspection - Customer Connection Empowerment


Rado, Russell N.   (1990, ASQC)   CIGNA, Philadelphia, PA

Annual Quality Congress, San Francisco, CA    Vol. 44    No. 0
QICID: 9589    May 1990    pp. 1040-1046
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Article Abstract

Being recognized as a "Quality" company by both current and potential customers, as well as by employees, is a goal espoused by most businesses in today's marketplace.

The rewards and costs associated with achieving quality customer connections can be significant. Among the rewards for the customer are satisfaction, value, service, and reliability. Rewards for the employee can be satisfaction, self-esteem, confidence, career growth and monetary benefits. For the organization, the key rewards are growth and profitability.

The costs are no less significant; however, the difference being that costs are high regardless of the outcome being positive or negative. Costs can either be the investment taken to ensure quality performance, or in the negative context, the cost of lost business, lost opportunities and in some cases, the end of the organization itself.

Many elements are necessary to achieve quality customer connections. Three base line requirements are:

  • Employees and the company sharing a common definition of superior customer service.
  • Employees believing their organization values superior customer service.
  • The capacity to deliver existing in both individuals and the organization.
To assess the current state of these requirements in an organization requires an examination by both management and individual contributors. The purpose of the examination is to assess the gap between the actual levels of each requirement and a determined desired state. For example, examination on the first requirement may uncover that, in fact, there is no articulated definition of superior customer service by management, and therefore, individuals in the organization have no specific guidance to rely on.

Over time, the goal of the examination and resulting actions is to achieve confirmation that superior customer service is understood, possible and highly desirable as a business goal. Within the organization, the process of achieving customer connections becomes an integral part of a company's quality management continuous process improvement focus.


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