ASQ December 2016 Roundtable Topic
The topic for the ASQ December 2016 roundtable is:
What is the best way to ensure quality and customer integration grows together?
Let me start with Quality.
Explaining quality is NOT easy. Everybody has his or her very own interpretation of the word quality.
Here are the definitions of quality by three quality gurus:
Quality means:” Conformance to requirements” ………Philip B. Crosby
Quality of any product or service can only be defined by the customer” …… W. Edward Deming
Fitness for use (Free from deficiencies)…… Joseph Juran
At the end, who are the ones defining what quality is?
These are the customers; the external customers. Customers are crucial for any organization.
Customer integration is part of a customer relationship. It’s having direct contact with the customer, in other words, your customers must be treated as part of your organization. Quality has to do with your products, service, and of course, happy and satisfied customers. It’s all about your customers, focus on them, and it will have an immediate positive influence on your end product and/or service.
A partnership with the customer (external customer) is a must.
Having direct contact with customers can benefit a company in many ways.
- Better/Open communication (customers)
- Retention of your customers
- Customers become loyal
- Improve your chances to succeed: better market segmentation
- Running your business better
- It’s a competitive advantage
So for any organization, Quality is very important, and customer integration has direct influence on the quality of service and/or products of your organization.
Every institution has to do their utmost to get feedback, ideas, and information from their clients/partners.
Collecting customer’s data (feedback/input) is of great importance.
This can be done through various ways:
- Talk to your customers about products/service they are receiving.
– Focus groups
– Customer reviews
- Ask your customers what they think you can improve.
(Data like: quality, price, location, product and service are important)
But: What’s the best way to ensure quality and customer integration grows together?
To make quality and customer integration grow together the essential tools are:
Being open and honest will improve the communication between the different groups/partners. This will result in an effective communication flow, which means a flow of ideas from customers to make changes, adapt and/or improve your quality.
Trust is an important tool for a successful customer relationship. People will automatically talk freely when there’s a sense of trust. When your customers trust you as an organization, it will have huge impacts on the quality of your products and/or service.
Treat your customers/partners with respect; this is the key for a lasting customer relationship. This will let your customers feel comfortable in expressing their ideas and or opinion.
To ensure that quality and customer integration grow together, these 3 factors mentioned above (Communication, Trust, and Respect) are the tools that will make it happen.
Customer integration can benefit your business (quality of your products and service) and it is a very important part of the Plan-Do-Check (customer feedback)-Act cycle. …….. When organizations make quality and customer integration grow together, it will be a trigger for Continuous Improvement.