Systems and Processes
The SERVQUAL model shows the differences between manufacturing and service from a Quality Management perspective, indicating the added complexity of dealing with the human element of customer interaction. The ‘Gap’ model, however, points us to pretty similar approaches in terms of organizing to deliver value to the customer:
Challenge analysis matrix
A challenge analysis matrix (Capon and Mills, 2002) is one way of prioritising the areas for improvement. In essence, it is a four quadrant model where the axes are importance to the customer of a particular dimension (vertical) and performance, as defined by E –P (horizontal). High importance items with good performance are areas for maintaining the standard; high importance areas with poor performance indicate a need to improve, with secondary emphasis on lower importance items where performance is poor. Areas of high performance which are of low customer priority may represent an area where effort or expenditure might usefully be transferred to higher priority areas.An example is shown in Figure
In the example we can see that the most important things to the customer are reliability and responsiveness while tangibles are not really important. This pattern might, perhaps, reflect customers of a budget airline. The minor axis of each ellipse recognises that there will be a range of opinions amongst customers even in a relatively homogeneous group. The major axis of the ellipses represent the range of expectation to performance gaps reported by the customers; since both expectations and experience will vary for each customer it is reasonable to assume that there will be a wider range of variation along this axis.
Challenge analysis matrix example
In the example it would seem that tangibles are performing close to expectations despite not being seen as important the customer base. This might indicate that some money or effort might be saved in this area without significant detrimental effect on customer value. This is especially true if the effort or money can be re-directed to responsiveness (probably top priority for improvement due to the poor performance despite a marginally lower importance rating) or reliability. Empathy is not a particularly high priority for improvement, but if a cheap intervention is available to improve performance this would be sensible. Assurance seems to be firmly in the maintain zone.
The approach to delivering service quality value can be seen to be similar to that for delivering manufacturing quality value, as noted above. However, there is a significant additional element in the delivery of a service activity which is the human element. Gap analysis is a little prosaic and reductive to address how we inspire confidence, or delight our customers with our interactions.
One way of looking at this is epitomised by Jan Carlzon (1987) who coined the term ‘moment of truth. Carlzon, who was Chief Executive of SAS Swedish Airlines from 1981 to 1994 and presided over a transformation of business focus and performance (Customer think, 2006) suggested that every time a customer has a contact with an organization - on the phone, face to face or, these days, on the web - there is an opportunity to make an impression. If the customer’s expectation is surpassed then a positive impression is created, if the customer feels their expectation has not been met then a negative impression is given. Carlzon advocated an active management of such moments’ within a framework of understanding your customers (Customer think, 2006). The management of ‘moments of truth implies a number of things which are about creating an environment for employees to deliver customer value:
Although Carlzon’s approach has elements of systematisation, it is much more about empathetic responses to customers and empowering the front line to do what is necessary to enhance customer value. As noted earlier, systems and processes are necessary to achieve quality, but in themselves they are not spiciest; without individuals taking responsibility and behaving appropriately the effect of good processes will be limited. This approach also allows for more readily exceeding customer expectations rather than just minimizing gaps.
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Quality Management Tutorial
Background And History
Why Quality Management?
The Contribution Of Dr. W. Edwards Deming
Standards And Models
Leadership In Quality Management
Strategic Quality Management
Partnerships And Resources
People In Quality Management
Ethics And Corporate Social Responsibility
Learning, Change And Process Improvement
Implementing Quality Management
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