Nash, Matthew J. (1993, ASQC) Harbridge House, Inc; Boston, MA
Integration of customer research into quality programs increase the effectiveness of total quality management (TQM). The goal of TQM should be customer satisfaction, and yet less than half of quality programs use customer satisfaction as the primary measure of success. Action oriented customer research obtains data that identify areas for improvement. This feedback loop between customer research and TQM adheres to three guidelines: the research should focus on customer experience with products or services; the research should identify specific drivers of customer satisfaction; the firm's strategic plans should support the results of customer research. For example, a mutual fund processing service used the SERVQUAL service quality measurement technique to examine shortfalls in service. Gaps can occur among customer expectations, management perception of those expectations, customer perceptions, service quality specifications, and actual service quality. The SERVQUAL survey showed that these gaps could be reduced by giving customers access to more knowledgeable employees and striving for error-free record keeping. Improvements in customer satisfaction usually require cross functional activities, because the output of many processes affect customer perceptions. Therefore, a process guidance team should coordinate the activities of the process improvement teams.
Case study,Customer satisfaction (CS),Effectiveness,Total Quality Management (TQM)