SIGNIFICANCE OF QUALITY
A company delivers products and services to its customers, who buy what the company sells and keep a company in business. It is easy to assume that any company is customer-driven. The tendency to ignore the co plaints or track them and identify the cause(s) can have very serious consequences. Therefore, it is very essential for a company to know about the customer satisfaction. Failure to identify the root cause(s) of complaints shows the inability of the company, which not only affects the companyâ€™s image in the long run but also losses the customers. Total Quality Management is a technique that focuses on the requirements the customer as the basic objective of a business organization to produce goods and services to meet their customerâ€™s needs. Quality is rapidly becoming a major factor in a customerâ€™s choice of products and services. Customers now perceive that certain companies produce better-quality products than other, and they make purchases based on the quality / satisfaction.
Quality is a relative term and is generally explained with reference to the end use of the product.
Armand Feigbaum, a noted authority on the subject, defines quality as â€œthe total composite product and service characteristics of marketing, engineering, manufacturing and maintenance through which the product or service in use will meet the expectations of the customer.â€?
What Does Quality Really Mean? A reputed researcher has identified eight dimensions of product quality characteristics, which the consumers look for in a product:
1. Performance: The basic operating characteristics of a product say clarity and color of the picture on a TV set.
2. Features: The extra items added to the basic features, for example, remote control to a TV.
3. Reliability: The probability that a product will operate properly within the expected time frame(how frequently it needs a repair)
4. Conformance: The degree to which a product meets pre-established standards.
5. Durability: How long the product lasts; its life span before replacement.
6. Serviceability: The ease of getting repairs, the speed of repairs, and competence of the repair person.
7. Aesthetics: How a product looks, feels, sounds, smells etc.
8. Other Perceptions: Subjective perceptions based on brand name, advertising etc.
These quality characteristics are weighed by the customer in relation to the cost of the product. These characteristics may vary in case of a service as it does not involve any physical product there. Researchers have sought attributes that are important in measuring the quality of various types of services:
1. Reliability: The ability to perform the promised service dependably and accurately.
2. Responsiveness: The willingness to help customers and provide prompt serviced.
3. Tangibles: Physical facilities, equipments, and the appearance of personnel.
4. Assurance:: The knowledge and courtesy of employees and their ability to convey trust and confidence.
5. Empathy: The caring, individual attention provided to customers.
In a service business customer satisfaction is considered an important aspect. Perceptions of service quality are affected not only by what is provided, but also, by the way the customer is treated when the service is provided.