August 17 2018: These days it is pretty much standard in most industries – focus on getting the Customer to submit feedback on the services or products., once they are delivered. Most industries that we use every day., including utilities, banks and financial institutions, restaurants, hotels, and so on. The practice is so much prevalent that most places actually solicit your feedback and are at least ensuring they obtain some documentation of customer satisfaction. Whether or not many of us choose to actually fill out the forms or surveys., it is one aspect that has gained attention over the past 5-7 years.
What one seldom gets to see., at least in many industries., is the lack of visibility into what happens after the feedback is submitted or given. Especially if there is some negative aspects you wanted to point out as a customer, and would like to see fixed. This has often led to many customers feeling skeptical or just not wanting to provide feedback. We also see, in organizations., many, if not all industries, have a practice of using customer ratings and feedback directly to evaluate performance of the staff. We see this in hospitality, food and beverage, and many other service provider industries.
The concept I would like to highlight is how this sole focus on Customer Satisfaction., may be short sighted and a short-term approach whilst the real focus should be on the overall “Quality” of customer service and experience. We have heard about Quality of Service metrics in many industries. However, not having an overall improvement and quality program within the organization., while focusing on this single practice of asking customers for feedback may not result in the most optimal or favorable customer experience.
Some of the best organizations, hence focus on the entire gamete of services provided right with the “cradle to grave” mindset., and involve the customer feedback in all phases., not just at the end of the entire service delivery. That calls for embedding mechanisms like involving customer or end user right from as early as it feasibly can be., incorporating and approaching customer “touch points” throughout the lifecycle whether it is products or services., and developing a keen desire to “listen” rather than to talk. A lot of times., we see that the right folks in the organizations aren’t the ones that are front ending the customer feedback solicitation process., or the hierarchy within the organization means the feedback is lost somewhere in the “quagmire” of being fixed or even looked at. If the organization is large and deals with hundreds of thousands of customers, this problem becomes manifold.
So focusing on Quality in each and every stage/milestone/activity that is somehow directly visible or impacting the customer, and establishing an overall Quality improvement program that includes everyone in the organization., is the only way to really ensure consistent, high quality customer experience., as opposed to just customer satisfaction alone.
To aid this., organizations can use performance based standards and models such as the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI).,® which has become a defacto model and choice for quality improvement across the world for product and service industry. Over 5000+ organizations around the world of all sizes and industries use the CMMI model., to diagnose, prioritize, establish and measure the impact of Quality and process improvement. Having been developed at the US Dept. of Defense’s Software Engineering Institute over 25 years ago, the CMMI is now a global benchmark model., and is being maintained by CMMI Institute which is a part of The Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) a worldwide non-profit professional association., for IT and audit professionals.
The newly released and updated version of the CMMI., CMMI V2.0., focuses solely on performance based process improvement. This is a complete redesign and rebranded model., with focus on the state of the art and emerging technologies like DevOps, Kanban, Lean, CyberSecurity and Data management practices., which are all areas of contemporary concern in our current global economy.|As countries are going through many political shake-ups such as the Brexit and GDPR in Europe, to a bit more “inward focused” America., it is apparent that organizations need to make Quality and Customer experience as the sole focus., to survive and thrive.
More information on SQC here
More information on the CMMI here
Our earlier story on SQC here