This inverted pyramid is a good way to depict the importance of customers. She is at the top of the pyramid and the CEO is at the bottom. This shows the relative importance of people at the bottom of the hierarchy. A company never makes a product for its top management people, rather it is meant for the customer. As front line employees are in direct contact with people so they are in a better position to understand a customer’s needs and problems. Every effort should be taken by the organization to seek opinion from front line employees. Even in case of empowerment it is front line employee who should be having more empowerment which will enable him to solve customer problem on the spot.
Customer Perception of Quality
If a particular feature suits a particular customer need then that feature is going to win a customer’s heart. This diagram shows how the red area is the common juxtaposition of a company’s offerings and customer’s needs. Any product or service falling in this zone will be a surefire recipe for organization’s success. Let us take example of Maggi noodles. When it was launched in India in early eighties the taste was not accepted by the Indian taste-bud. Nestle researched properly and came with ‘Masala Tastemaker’, which was lapped up by the customer. Now after two decades Maggi can be found in almost every household in India.
Internal customers are as important as external customers. The above picture shows how important a cog is internal customer in the grand design of things. Internal customer helps change an input to a product which will be used by the external customer.
Basic Questions Asked from Internal Customers:
- What do you need from me: Internal customers should be constantly asked what kind of resources they need for functioning properly and for giving the desired result. There is a hypothetical example of a dot com company. The designer was comfortable working with Adobe photoshop, but the top management insisted that he should do with corel draw. As his skills were tasted properly when he was hired, so he was not enjoying and was always asking for the required software. He stayed in the organization for six months without contributing anything. Ultimately out of disgust he left the organization. The top management should have hired people with skill in using Corel in the first place, but if they had hired that guy then he should have been provided with the tool he was comfortable with. This whole episode resulted in huge loss of resources and manhour for the organization and low self-esteem for the concerned designer. At the end of the day there was no output at all.
- What do you do with my output: Once the management agrees to provide resources then it should ask about how the worker is going to utilize that resource and what would be the result.
- Are there any gaps between what you need and what you get: Sometimes a worker may not say what he needs because obvious reasons. It becomes top management’s duty to always analyse if there is some gap and should try to fill that gap.
Customer Perception of Quality
American Society for Quality Survey: Factors Influencing Customer Perception: