Total Quality Management - Question 1

Developing an inclusive perspective of customer’s needs and prospects of existing customer base and delivering what they need is the basic idea behind ‘customer focus.’ An organisation that is truly customer oriented has customer oriented behaviour and mindset ( Viio and Nordin, 2017). This involves shredding your own ideas and needs and focusing of the wants of the customer’s. The outcome of such a mindset will result in creating a set of loyal customers which will lead to business profitability. Service sector is more customer-oriented than manufacturing sector. Inseparability between production and consumption of services in service sector even the process of serving counts in quality and not just the final product. In service, the value of quality declines even when the process is not up to the mark no matter how good is the product. As the customer’s expectations are forever changing and increasing rapidly, both, the small and large institutions need to cope with this expectation and provide what the customers need and only the business which focus on these needs and supply products and services with changing demand will thrive in today’s competition. Likewise, each industry needs to characterize the quality marks and to determine satisfaction of the customers in relation to those quality mark-ups to perk up the organization processes. To enhance the compatibility of organizations in today’s time, implementation of principles of customer certrality and focusing o organizational aspects which will improve the service are the steps that needs to be taken. The key elements in a customer- focus industry should be the voice of the customer, their suggestions, criticism, appreciation, etc and to learn from these valuable feedback and try to improve the services or products accordingly. By discovering the voice of the customer, the design, manufacturing, services and marketing process all align as the core element of these processes is customer focus. Expectation of the customer plays an important role in determining the success of the service or the product. The perceived result of a particular service is compared by what the customer had expected and which in turn determines the quality of the product or service. Customer is only satisfied when the perceived result of service is better than the customer’s expectation , lower perceived result may result in dissatisfaction of customers towards the quality or services or products. There is a certain gap between the expectation of the customers and the reality of service provided by organizations. Firstly, the gap between what customers expect and what managers think they expect happens due to the communication gap within the organization as there is lack of free flow of information to managers through service providers. It is the duty of managers to fix the issues and stay upto date to increase customer satisfaction (Tajeddini et al., 2013). Secondly, the gap between the company’s understanding of customer expectation and implementation of customer focused services on the basis on such understanding. This leads to wrong implementation of services and believing that the customers have exaggerated expectations. This in turn would result in losing the customers to the organizations who have rightly implemented appropriate processes to increase customer satisfaction. Thirdly, the gap between the present service standard and the actual service standard of the company. There are various factors which affect services, such as, poor employee base, lack of resources, lagging to provide supply to the current demand, etc. Management can remove the gap by employing efficient staff, making sure of the availability of resources beforehand, etc. It is important and advisable that the company tries to hold on to the current customer base by increasing their satisfaction rather than building a new customer base as building a new customer base costs 5 times more than preserving the current customer base (Pan et al., 2012)

Total Quality Management - Question 2

Customer focus has a positive effect on performance measures such as employee satisfaction, innovation and cost benefits (Alam,2013). The main most prominent effect of customer focused organization is improve in the level of customer satisfaction (Cai, 2009). It also affects certain other performance measures such as; it brings about innovation within the organisation as a customer focused organisation would be required to optimize their production. It improves the overall quality of the products so as to provide value to customers (Mokhtar, 2013 ; Slater and Narven, 2000). Improvement in financial status is another advantage of providing satisfaction to customers by implementing customer focused services (Lado et al., 2011); and innovation is more relevant within the firms that inculcate customer-oriented strategies. There is a strong relationship between customer focus and employee satisfaction. It is important for the organization to know what the customers expect from their organization. This is done through interactions and close communication of employees with the customers which in turns leads the managers to interact the with their subordinate to gather information. As such managers practice employee empowerment, a practice that make employees feel appreciated and valued at their respective jobs (Anaza and Rutheford, 2012). An effective interaction by the employees and passing that information to the managers and so on allows the organization to make the needed changes. This leads to developing new ideas to satisfy a customer. Organizations bring in innovative ideas to filfill the everchanging expectations of the customers. Hence, customer focus strategies should be implemented to bring about innovation in an organization (Krivokapic et al.,2013). It is important for an organization to improve the production process in order to provide customer satisfaction. The organizations that implement customer focus strategies are able to improve the process involved in producing and delivering products and or services. Consequently, product defects are minimized so as to improve cost benefits. Defects can prove to be costly to a firm as it involves redo of the product or wastage of the defected product. Customer- focus strategies are important to improve the overall production processes of the organization. Lastly, the objective and importance of implementing customer focused strategies is fulfilling customer expectation. For implementing customer focused strategies it is important to understand the needs of the customer by working closely with the customers and providing opportunities for customers to share their views regarding the organization. Connecting with customers through surveys, social media, online feedbacks are some of the ways to know what the customer wants. The organization then works according to the feedback and improve the services provided which ultimately work towards higher customer satisfaction.

Total Quality Management - Question 3

Customer feedbacks should be understood and be viewed as a means to improve and provide better services to customers. There should be a close contact of service providers with the customers so as to understand what the customer needs and note their response to the complaints, suggestion or criticism provided by them. The lack of communication will remove the chance of knowing the expectations of the customers as they will simply change the service providers or will look for other better resource with better services and products. The tools that help organizations help in better understanding the needs and wants of the customers is through surveys, focus groups or more sophisticated techniques of customer value analysis on the basis of quantitative and qualitative indicators. There are different quality dimensions that needs to fit different product or services and are basis for most of the service quality measures present. The quality dimensions that are important and main are reliability, tangibility, assurance, empathy and responsiveness (Zeithaml, Bitner 7 Gremler, 2006). This can be done by communicating with the client and understanding are the important factors driving satisfaction for each service process. Not every factor is important to the customers so determination of main drivers followed by determination of relative weight for each factor and for each driver will enable the organization to calculate their customer base’s satisfaction. Comparing the organizational satisfaction score with that of the rival organization can be used to calculate the relative satisfaction score for each driver. This is supposed to be the most efficient way to measure customers expectation regarding se4rvice quality. To get a clearer picture of satisfaction of customers needs by own organization and satisfaction of customer’s need by rival organizations; this method can be adopted and implemented. These quality drivers also affect the profitability. The effect on profitability must also be shown while measuring the effect of quality drivers this brings the concern of cost/benefit. Besides cutting costs, raising investment also proves to be effective in providing value to customers and in turn bringing in huge profits. The focus should be on effectiveness of schemes rather than their efficiency. Efficiency is equally important but effectiveness is what solves the problem of customer satisfaction. It might also be said that it is better to be effective (bring the customer) and be inefficient than be ineffective (lose the customer) and be ineffective (Carr & Littman, 1997). The cost of becoming efficient is decreasing in today’s times and will rapidly reach a point where those costs cannot decrease any further. Sometimes, while taking steps in cutting down the overall costs, the organization may incidentally end up increasing them. Embracing and adopting value added process and innovations will help the organization in recognising what the customer wants and when he wants it. Subsequently exciting the customers and receiving value for service and thus noticing an increase in revenue and profits. Ultimately, the goal is to provide quality service to the customers to fulfil their expectations, what was promised, when it was promised and how it was promised (Parsuraman, Zeithaml & Berry, 1985). When an organization sets the term of the transaction and the customer can either accept it or decline it. On accepting, the client expects that the organization keep up to terms that the organization itself determined. If the organization fails to adhere to the set terms, they will lose their reputation and decrease in revenue as the customer will sought to change the service providers.

References for Customer Focus Assessment

Alam, I. (2013). Customer interaction in service innovation: Evidence from India. International Journal of Emerging Markets, 8(1), 41-64.

Anaza, N.A., & Rutherford, B. (2012). How organizational and employee-customer identification, and customer orientation effect job engagement. Journal of Service Management, 23(5), 616-639.

Cai, S. (2009). The importance of customer focus for organizational performance: a study of Chinese companies. International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, 26(4), 369- 379.

Carr, D. K. & I. D. Littman (1997). Excellence in Government: Total Quality Management in the 1990s. Arlington, VA.: Coopers & Lybrand.

Lado, A.A., Paulraj, A., & Chen, I. J. (2011). Customer focus, supply chain relational capabilities and performance. The International Journal of Logistic Management, 22(2), 202- 221.

Pan, Y., Sheng, S., & Xie, F.T. (2012). Antecedents of customer loyalty: An empirical synthesis and reexamination. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 19, 150-158

Parasuraman, A., Zeithaml, V. and Berry, L. (1985). A Conceptual Model of Service Quality and Its Implications for Future Research, Journal of Marketing, 49 (4), 41-50.

Tajeddini, K., Elg, U., & Trueman, M. (2013). Efficiency and effectiveness of small retailers: the role of customer and entrepreneurial orientation. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 20, 453-462.

Viio, P. and Nordin, F. (2017). Double-Loop Sales Adaptation: A Conceptual Model and an Empirical Investigation, Journal of Business-to-Business Marketing, 24(2), 122-137.

Zeithaml, V. A., Bitner, M. J., &Gremler, D. D. (2006). Services marketing: Integrating customer focus across the firm. Boston, MA.: McGraw-Hill/Irwin

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