Friday, July 16, 2010

Quality : A Parameter of Customer Satisfaction

Quality:  when a product surpasses our expectation we consider that quality. Thus, it is somewhat of an intangible based on perception. Quality can be quantified as follows
  Q= P/E
Where Q= quality
P= Performance
E= Expectations
If Q is greater than 1 , this means the performance of the product is higher than the expectation of the customer, then the customer perception about the product is of extraordinary quality as the customer get ‘extraordinary satisfaction’.
There is trend in modern day competition among Japanese companies to give you rather more in order to ‘delight’ you. So when buy a lamp bulb which has a ‘mean time between failure’ of 1000 hrs , the Japanese manufacturer will try their best to ensure that you can get at least 20% more. Likewise when you buy a Japanese brand video tape specifying 180 minutes, it can normally record up to 190 minutes. When you buy a mink coat from a department store in Japan, they would invite you to store the fur coat in their temperature –control room during the hot summer season free of charge. They call these extra little things as ‘extra – ordinary customer satisfaction’ or ‘delighting the customers’.
So in second case if Q=1, this means the performance of the product is equal to the expectation of the customer, and quality of the product is at par for the customer. The customer is just satisfied about the quality of the product he is not getting any extraordinary satisfaction.
In third case if Q is less than 1, i.e. the performance of the product is less than the expectation of the customer, and the quality of the product is poor in the perception of the customer. The customer will never satisfy form the product quality.
The Dimensions of Quality
Quality has nine different dimensions. These dimensions are somewhat independent ; therefore a product can be excellent in one dimension and average or poor in another. Very few , if any product excel in all nine dimensions . For example, the Japanese were cited for high –quality cars in the 1970s based only on the dimensions of reliability, conformance and aesthetics. Therefore , quality products can be determined by using a few of the dimensions of quality.
Nine Dimensions of Quality
Meaning and Example
Primary product characteristics, such as the brightness of the picture
Secondary characteristics , added features, such as remote control
Meeting specifications or industry standards, workmanship
Consistency of performance over time, average time for the unit to fail
Useful life, includes repair
Resolution of problems and complaints, ease of repair
Human to Human interface, such as the courtesy of the dealer
Sensory characteristics, such as exterior finish
Past performance and other intangibles, such as being ranked first
   Adapted from David A. Garvin, Managing Quality: The strategic and Competitive Edge (New York : Free Press, 1988)

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