Monday, November 14, 2016

Ensuring Growth of Quality & Customer Integration

In its December 2016 blog post ASQ asks its Influential Voices of Quality participants how quality and customer integration growth be ensured. In my opinion sustainable quality growth must begin with a customer-focused culture of performance excellence characterized by servant leadership, customer listening, continuous improvement, high performance and empowerment, innovation, intelligent risk taking and knowledge management.

A sustainable enterprise must be agile, responsive and adaptive to ever-changing customer expectations and competitive pressures while demonstrating superior competency in anticipating future requirements and excel at re-inventing itself to capture market share leadership.



In today's world of inter-connected global supply chains and exponential rate of change, the sustainable organization must strategically prioritize its information systems and customer listening processes. All employees must be provided the skills, training and tools necessary to solve customers' problems. Employees must be trusted, respected, expected and empowered to use this newly acquired information to pursue innovative solutions and take intelligent risk. Failures must be accepted as a necessary learning experience while key learnings are actively and intentionally managed and shared to promote and advance organizational knowledge growth. High performance and desired behaviors must be defined, encouraged and rewarded.

Active customer listening provides unique insights into customer (and potential future customer) satisfiers and dissatisfiers. Social media word-of-mouth offers a powerful competitive advantage to the organization that is able to successfully cultivate a cadre of consumer-trusted customer advocates. 3rd party sites are available to help you monitor and track consumer ratings and comments on retail and social media sites. Appoint a Customer Listening Officer (CLO) and function; create a page on Facebook, Instagram or other social media platform; establish a ratings & reviews page on your own business' website and your partners' websites, etc. Contract with a 3rd party provider such as BazaarVoice, TurnTo, PowerReviews, etc. to collect and download this data on a regular basis. Then establish an internal process to sort and report the data to management, looking for nuggets of insight on where/how to improve. Most importantly, respond in a timely manner directly to the consumer where possible (e.g. Facebook, Instagram posts).

It all starts with authentic, ethical, inspired leadership and a critical understanding of your organization's mission and vision. "Start with Why" to understand why your organization exists: what differentiates your enterprise from the competition? What is your brand promise? Then, design your organization's structures, systems, processes, products and services to consistently deliver that customer-focused why.

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