Quality Management Principle #1 – Customer Focus

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“The primary focus of quality management is to meet customer requirements and to strive to exceed customer expectations.”

Customer-Focus

Customer-Focus

 

Rationale

“Sustained success is achieved when an organization attracts and retains the confidence of customers and other interested parties on whom it depends. Every aspect of customer interaction provides an opportunity to create more value for the customer. Understanding current and future needs of customers and other interested parties contributes to sustained success of an organization.”

In today’s global market place, competition is very fierce, and our customer’s expectations are constantly evolving, therefore it is essential for organizations to have a complete understanding of their customers’ needs, both existing and future customers.

Since the whole goal of a company is to provide products or services to customers, it makes sense that there is a focus on customers as a main element. This starts with knowing your customer and their requirements, ensuring there is communication with customers throughout the process, and measuring the satisfaction of your customer as a way of measuring if the requirements, spoken or unspoken, have been met. We are not just talking about What the provider delivers but How they provide that delivery.

Many companies view customer needs are obtained from a survey. But actually customer needs can be obtained through many forms. Other than a formal survey, customer needs can be obtained during customer visits, customer complaints, customer feedback, after sales service, one on one or regular customer-supplier meetings etc.

Customer-focus is quite literally and quite obviously, focusing on the customer. That means thinking about them when decisions are made, policies are implemented, and employees are trained. It spans across the whole business and is a cultural thing as much as it is anything else. Customer-focused businesses think about what they can do to make customers happy all the time and think about how they can make the customer experience better.

I would say that customer-focus and customer-focused strategy go hand in hand which the best companies actually put that view into practice. Though it’s pretty easy to talk about and to want, but it’s difficult to actually do it. The companies that are customer-focused (the ones that actually do it, instead of just say it) are already depending on a customer-focused strategy. If they’re doing it well, they’re most likely seeing that strategy work for them in all areas (happy employees, happy customers, financial success).

Being customer-focused means understanding the customer’s business, organization, strategic goals, culture, wants, and needs. It means listening to what the customer says to us, understanding how to satisfy them, understanding their limitations, being responsive, and always trying to provide the greatest value to them.

Applying the principle of customer focus typically leads to these actions;

• Researching and understanding customer needs and expectations.
• Ensuring that the objectives of the organization are linked to customer needs and expectations.
• Communicating customer needs and expectations throughout the organization.
• Measuring customer satisfaction and acting on the results.
• Systematically managing customer relationships.
• Ensuring a balanced approach between satisfying customers and others interested parties (such as owners, employees, suppliers, financiers, local communities and society as a whole).

The Key Benefits
• Increased revenue and market share obtained through flexible and fast responses to market opportunities.
• Increased effectiveness in the use of the organization’s resources to enhance customer value, customer satisfaction.
• Improved customer loyalty and expanded customer base leading to repeat business.
• Enhanced reputation of the organization

Check out the Quality Management Principle #2 in the next article ……

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Monika Ardianto

Quality Management Consultant and Auditor at Monika Nonce Ardianto
Monika Ardianto is a Certified Quality/Operational Management Consultant with over 20 years of experience in improving quality management systems of large businesses. She is an award winning author of "Winning the Audit".

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