Total Quality Management

September 12, 2008

Customer Focus and Satisfaction

Definition of Customer

There are two distinct types of customers i.e. external and internal. Internal customers are within the company-the colleagues working together for delivering a service or product for the external customer. We will, however, remain restricted to the external customers here.

An external customer may be an individual or an enterprise that hires or purchases the product(s) or service(s) from another person or business  in exchange of money.

One of the most important factors for the success of an enterprise is its customers. Without them, a business cannot exist. But to capture customers, a business must try to find out what people want, how much and how often they will buy and how their post-purchase satisfaction will be ensured.

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What is the relation of a process vs its customer?

The process is defined as a set of interconnected activities that result in a product or a service to be offered to a customer. Thus, their relation is of critical importance. The result of one activity (the process) directly affects the other entity (the customer).

For example, all the customer complaints are analogous to process variation. If variation that is non-conformance to the quality standards occurs, it will ultimately affect the quality of the end product or service. Therefore it important to keep a strong check on this aspect.

Define customer satisfaction?

Customer satisfaction is not an objective statistics but more of a feeling or attitude. If a customer is happy with a product or a service it has hired or purchase they will pay their bills promptly, which greatly improves cash flow-the lifeblood of any organization. Customers that are satisfied will increase in number, buy more, and buy more frequently.

How would you define quality with respect to customer satisfaction process?

Many companies approach customer satisfaction in a narrow way by confining quality considerations to the product alone. Whereas, service connected with the product are  frequently over looked, such as packaging, timely and accurate shipping and ability to meet deadline matters.
customer define quality in terms of their overall experience with the company.

What is customer defection, why it occurs and how can it be stopped?

Customer defection means losing a business. It occurs when an unhappy customer decides to stop hire or purchase your services or products and decides to find some other suitable alternative that satisfies its needs which your organization failed to deliver. Therefore, customer defection is a threat. On the other hand retaining a customer is great opportunity. For a product manufacturing company a customer defection may occur due to poor quality of product or poor after-sales services, whereas in case of service sector it plainly based on the quality of service itself.

In service sector,  employees-customer interaction influences satisfaction more than actual product or service obtained. These one-on-one or face-to-face contact between customer and deliverer of service (nurse, flight attendant, retail clerk, restaurant server) is extremely important.
Poor service quality causes customer defection, which in turn have a substantial impact on cost or profits.

The ultimate outcome of customer focus and satisfaction is to achieve profit in the private sector and productivity in the public or non-profit sector. The one thing which is proven as result of various studies is the relationship between customer retention and profit.

Employee retention, which is achieved through good human resources management practices and organization development methods such as team building, job development, and empowerment. Employee retention depends on employee satisfaction, which in turn can be related to external services and customer satisfaction.

What key indicators are used to measure customer satisfaction?

There are two basic steps in measurement system:

1. Develop key indicators that drive customer satisfaction.
2. Collect data regarding perception of quality received by customers

Key Indicators for Physical Products

  • Reliability
  • Aesthetics
  • Adaptability
  • Usability
  • Functionality
  • Appropriateness

Key Indicators for Services

  • Friendliness/courteousness of employees
  • Safety/risk of service
  • Billing/invoicing procedure
  • Responsiveness to requests
  • Appearance of physical facilities
  • Approachability of the service provider
  • Willingness to listen to customer
  • Honesty and an ability to communicate in clear language

What is the importance of Buyer-Supplier relationship in terms of customer satisfaction?

Almost every company purchases products, supplies, or services in an amount that frequently equals around 50% of its sales.

Traditionally many of companies follow “lowest bidder” practices where price is critical criterion. Now companies are realizing that careful concentration of purchases, together with long term buyer-supplier relationship, will reduce costs and improve profits. Dr. Deming suggested that a long-term relationship between purchasers and suppliers is necessary for best economy.

Several guideline will help both the supplier and customer benefit from a long-term partnering relationship:

  • Implementation of TQM by both supplier and customer.
  • Long-term commitment to TQM and to the partnering relationship between the parties.
  • Reduction is supplier base.
  • Get suppliers involved in the early stages of research, development, and design.
  • Benchmarking

4 Comments »

  1. this informations about customer, customer service, & customer satisfaction is perfect…it helped me so much,,thanx..and try to give more details about basic needs of customer????? if u can!!!! plzzzzzzz give it..i need it!!! thank u so muchhhhhhh

    Comment by Lekha Shukla — May 17, 2009 @ 5:37 pm

  2. Great post, I especially found it usefull where you started

    Comment by Contact Center Services — March 9, 2011 @ 10:31 am

  3. A short but a great knowledge and points about customer focus and satisfaction…acurrately define each term separately help me during collecting data for my presentation… thankyou

    Comment by Asim ayaz — June 12, 2011 @ 6:31 pm

  4. Hey, very nice site. I came across this on Google, and I am stoked that I did. I will definately be coming back here more often. Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table, but am just taking in as much info as I can at the moment.

    iso 9000

    Comment by ISO 9000 — August 18, 2011 @ 2:33 pm


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