Enhancing Customer Satisfaction with the Implementation of Total Quality Management

Mehra and Ranganathan (2008) reported that in 1979, Crosby gave 14 steps for quality improvement his work was supported by the work of another researcher, Ishikawa who stated that training, problem solving, and quality circles are very crucial ways of achieving continuous improvement. The researchers also spoke about the work of Deming with his contribution of giving 14principles that has become the foundation of TQM and acknowledged Juran for identifying the three basic functions of a quality management process which are planning, organization, and control.
To Juran these functions of quality management process are different levels in any programs for quality improvement. TQM and customer orientation It has been observe that only those business organizations that pay attention to the need of their customers and make efforts to meet those needs become successful. Naturally, customers have their perceived expectations of quality of products or service they want from businesses they patronize and when they get satisfied they stay, else they leave for somewhere else.
This is traceable to why customer satisfaction receives much attention and emphasis in the field of marketing. Researchers studied the profit of 472 restaurants and their results showed that data collected about customer satisfaction rate at a time has a direct impact on the profit margin of an organization nine months thereafter and concluded that quality as perceived by customer is what determines return on investment of any company( Mehra and Ranganathan 2008). It is therefore very important for organizations to focus on customer satisfaction so as to build a long lasting relationship with them.

Customer satisfaction was not given much emphasis in the past but these days with intense competition in the global market, Organizations have come to realize its importance to as to maintain their stance in the market. Now, they know well that customer satisfaction will lead to customer retention and profits improvements. Scholars stated opined that the chances of customer leaving an organization due to poor products or services quality would definitely be reduced when customer satisfaction is achieved by a company ( Mehra and Ranganathan 2008). Agus et al. 2000) established that a successful implementation of TQM by a company will enhance its customer satisfaction and lead to financial performance.
Goldman (2005), stated for an organization to remain competitive , it must identify its customers’ needs and find a way of building them into the products and services designs and development. Some researchers share the believe that in order for a company to satisfy its customer, their needs must be identified and incorporated into the design and development of appropriate product or service ( Spring et al. 998). Chan et al. (2001) report that quality function deployment is one appropriate TQM techniques that is a customer oriented approach and translates the voices of customers into the design features of products and services. This technique has three objectives which are to identify the customer, what he wants and find ways of fulfilling those wants. Researchers stresses that QFD methodology works by relating customer requirements with the design features (Govers 2001)
Researchers emphasize a company need of its customer loyalty, stressed that a company would retain its customers if only a higher level of service than those of its competitors is achieved (Alomaim, 2003). The measurement of quality is dependent on meeting the expectations and requirements of customer the first time and at every other time. The federal Quality Institute (FQI) states that “TQM is a comprehensive, customer-focused system that many organizations are adopting to improve the quality of their products and services” (Alomaim et al. 2003). Alomaim et al. 2003) stated that TQM is management at all levels in an organization with the objective of customer satisfaction. They went further to state the largest percentage of scores for this award. TQM in Services. Mehra and Ranganathan (2008) established that TQM has a wide application in the industry of health care to enhance customer satisfaction after they reviewed the work of Ingram and Chung (1997) who reported that successful adoption of TQM programs has led to maximally satisfied customers. Hasin et al. (2001) affirmed that hospitals have engaged TQM principles as a weapon to gain competitive advantage.
Researcher conducted a study to investigate success factors that are critical to TQM programs among corporations in US by surveying literatures (Dayton 2003). This effort led to his discovery of ten TQM success factors that are critical which includes orientation of customer satisfaction , quality improvement measurement, planning operational quality, customer and people management, management of external interface, improvement information communication, structures that facilitate team work, strategic partnership with suppliers and organizational culture of quality.
The cue for these factors was taken from Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. According to the results of the findings, it was revealed that quality management and organizational culture of quality as TQM most important success factors as it relate to organizational performance. These research efforts found support in the work of Sit et al. (2009) that highlighted six core TQM practices that is acceptable by award models for quality like European Excellence Model and Quality Award and MBNQA through reviewing of literatures on TQM practices.
These six TQM core practices are human resources focus, strategic planning, information analysis, customer focus, leadership and process management. TQM in Manufacturing. Scholars studied the Australia manufacturing industries to examine the impacts of TQM programs on their operational performance and reported that application of TQM in an organization helps to achieve success in relationships among employee, customer satisfaction and performance in business ( Terziovski and Samson 1999).
To support this view another researcher reported that Malaysian manufacturing industries enhance their financial performance by engaging TQM programs and traced this performance to their achievement of customer satisfaction (Agus et al. , 2000). It should be acknowledged that when organizations successfully implement TQM, the result is that high level of customer satisfaction and improved financial performance would be achieved. This stated fact finds supports from literatures on TQM and customer satisfaction. Mehra et al. (2001) strongly mphasized that customer focus play an important role towards implementing TQM and established that TQM is customer –oriented. They also affirmed that customer satisfaction and customer loyalty are important elements for organizations that possess the value of customer focus. Attempting to further stress the necessity of engaging TQM to improve customer focus, suggested that organizations must pay serious attention to customer satisfaction.
Researchers established that literatures abounds that mention customer focus and suggested that definition of TQM in the future should give customer focus its rightful place (Mehra et al. 001). Chien et al. (2002) state categorically that a strong relationship exists between the customer satisfaction level a company can achieve and its commitment to TQM practices which determines its performance. Other researcher believed that there is need for further research that presents the TQM relationship with customer relations ( Kaynak 2003). The impacts of the practices of TQM on customer satisfaction have been examined by many researchers and its wide applications in manufacturing and service industries alike have been reported.
TQM and cultural differences. Researcher contested that cultural differences among industry types and across nations will vary the applicability of quality programs ( Dawson 1995). In the author opinion, TQM has a strong inclination in the culture of Japanese which makes its adoption not applicable universally. He therefore suggests that businesses and nations that will adopt TQM should conduct studies on examining how it could be adapted to their cultures.
This view finds support in the work of other researchers who express their believe that TQM is neither effective nor fit for business environment that involves multiple cultures. Some other scholars doubt that TQM is effective in service industries because of the uniqueness of this industry in that their product is not visible. These concerns made Mehra and Ranganatha ( 2008) to undertake a study in the literature of TQM and customer satisfaction. Based on the results of their findings, they affirmed that implementation of TQM programs in an organization improves customer satisfaction.
They rejected the argument that the only culture where TQM programs will succeed is collectivistic and also established that TQM programs will succeed in both collectivistic and individualistic cultures and across business types and national cultures. The result of their research made them to redefine TQM “as a management strategy that, with sound design and successful implementation can be adopted to enhance customer satisfaction through a concerted focus on customer and that this strategy is equally applicable to both service and manufacturing businesses operating in varied global cultures.
For managers with kin interest on successfully adopting TQM implementation, they suggested 3 action plans; develop unique skills for identifying customers’ needs in their workforce, train their employees to understand global market competitions and global customer, and train specific personnel on ways of determining the customer satisfaction level at sensitive and throughout the contact points that are major. Mehra et al. 2001) and kaynak (2003) stressed that there is need for research that examines the impact of TQM programs on performance of an organization. Researchers are of the opinion that there is need for studies that will investigate the relationship between organization performance and TQM practices. This view finds support from Yasin et al. (2004) who expressed their concern for the rare nature study reports that relates performance of an organization to its improvements efforts on quality.
TQM and Human resources. Researcher examines in an empirical study the role of human resource management practices towards implementing TQM within the advanced technology companies and the results of their findings was that the practices of HRM impacts significantly on customer satisfaction (Yang 2006). Many business organizations have place strong emphasis on customer satisfaction as they believe it would help them to increase productivity and ultimately profitability.
Yang (2006) argued that company must put structures in place for customer satisfaction management and that company need employees to maintain such structures. Other researchers carry out an investigation on the relationship between the role of HRM and client satisfaction in the health industry (Ott and van Dijk 2005). Their study explored activities of HRM such as employee involvement, transparent management, plan for personal development, on the job training, supportive management style. They found that the manager’ management style nfluences the employee satisfaction. When Sit et al. (2009) reviewed the work of Adsit et al. (1996) that examines the association that exist between customer satisfaction, employee attitude and performance evaluation.
They reported that employee attitude have a significant positive impact on customer satisfaction which made them to conclude that human resource focus induced customer satisfaction. It is rather unfortunate that literatures of studies on the relationships between customer satisfaction and Organization’s vision are rare. Kantabutra and Avery, 2007) affirmed that what is found is a casual link of customer and employee satisfaction with the organizational vision. To this effect, these researchers embarked on an empirical study to investigate how organization’s vision affect customer and employee satisfaction in retails stores in Thai. The research findings revealed that organization’s vision, employee satisfaction, communication, motivation and empowerment enhanced customer satisfaction.
Based on the findings of their result, It was established that vision significantly enhances customer satisfaction. Sit et al. (2009) carried out a research study to examine the relationships customer satisfaction and TQM practices based on the perception of managers in the service organizations that are TQM certified in Malaysia. They reported that TQM enhances customer satisfaction and went ahead to establish customer focus, human resources, leadership and information and analysis as critical success factor of TQM practices and that they induce customer satisfaction.
It was revealed in their findings that human resources and information and analysis were TQM dominant practices because they have close relationship with Customer focus within the service organizations under consideration. Customer satisfaction and customer loyalty: (Bennette and Rundle-Thiele 2004) conducted an empirical study to examine the relationship between customer satisfaction and attitudinal loyalty of customers. The researchers work took premise from the previous literatures on the subject. They reported that out That four biggest bank in Australia ecorded customers’ dissatisfaction percentage of about 23-32 percent and they are among the nation’s six top companies that is public. It was surprising that their performance was not affected as they posted large profits. They found that customers still patronized these banks even though they were dissatisfied which made them to argue that customer loyalty and organization performance does not depend solely on the single factor of customer satisfaction even though this go against the popular opinion that abound in the literatures that satisfaction is what leads to the attitude of loyalty often display by customers.
They established that these customers were simply loyal. While public relations make every effort to convince the public that customer satisfaction is necessary for customer retention, these researchers discovered from the literatures that in 2003, the Bank of America earnings reports that customer satisfaction level of 14 percent constitutes 5. 3 percent of its customers. The question then remains, what is the satisfaction level experienced by other 94. perfect? This further proved that customer satisfaction does not necessarily leads to customer loyalty. Customer satisfaction has become a factor that is of high significance to business organizations and marketers alike especially in the service industries. Organizations because of so much emphasis that is place on this subject often see it as the ultimate in order to sustain the stiff competition in the global business environment.
It is believed that customer satisfaction will help companies to retain their customers so as to maintain their market share and ultimately achieve organizational performance. The researchers surveyed a sample of 267 businesses and investigated their satisfaction level and attitude of loyalty to the services of an advertising company(Bennette and Rundle-Thiele 2004). The result of their findings revealed that loyalty that is of high level do not in all cases due to high levels of customer satisfaction.
They went further to stress that customers often stick to a particular company, not because they enjoy the quality of its services and concluded that while customer satisfaction will remain the core of any organizational performance, it should not be the only goal (Bennette and Rundle-Thiele 2004). They pointed that attitudinal loyalty which customers sometimes display is another factor that enhances the performance of an organization. Given that they have considered attitude of customers to be critical success factor to business performance, it would be necessary to consider the impact of employee satisfaction on customer satisfaction.
This view find support from the work of scholar (Oakland 2003) who opined that performance as perceived by the customer will always be the core of TQM model but it need not be limited to this and there should be an extension of it to other stakeholders’ performance measures. Other researchers gave their suggestions for the need of further empirical researches that would examine the impacts of quality improvement efforts on organizational performance (Yasin et al. 2004, p. 45).

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