Quality is the key pillar of excellence – one of the vital components enabling success in Customer Experience. Often, when we think about Quality, we instantly dive into something objective. Perhaps a physical product; objectives that are easy to measure; that we can standardize; and so on.
This is validated by all standard business definitions of Quality:
‘Quality is the extent to which a product or service meets a customer’s expectation. Quality is relative (feelings/experiences) to the perceived need of a user and is expressed as the right combination of product and price.’
Commonly, Quality can mean degrees of excellence – as in, ‘a quality product’, or “work of service quality”. For me, that is more about the characteristics of an objective.
And that just doesn’t add up for me as a CQX specialist – yes – CQX. How can a Quality be expressed as a quantity? How can CX then be expressed quantitively? Counting numbers of customers recommending you to others. Is that the result or outcome of good quality?
In line with modern Quality management practices, Quality comes down to two things:
- The objectively measurable aspects of a product, most distinctly expressed as something free of fault. (Descartes)
- The subjective feeling of “fit for my use” by the consumer. (Protagoras)
Aristotle philosophized about quality long before Edwards Deming came up with “TQM – Total Quality Management”. Aristotle initially came up with the concept of “quality”, implying that it can be either subjective or objective. However, a philosophy is also disambiguation.
Nevertheless, Aristotle, Deming and common sense, tend to see qualities as related to either subjective feelings or objective facts. Subjectively, something might be good because it is useful, because it is beautiful, or simply because it exists. Determining or finding qualities therefore involves understanding of what is useful, what is beautiful and what exists – here is where CQX comes in.
The only thing we can know is the sensations we get through our perceptions, or as Protagoras formulated it: “Man is the measure of all things.”
Customer perception of Quality is a shared experience. It depends on 2 unique humans negotiating about what that experience/Quality means.
You cannot just stop at understanding of what quality management means. You also need to understand how important the ‘carriers’ of Quality are. It’s not about having employees ‘executing’ Quality – it’s about them ‘being’ the subjective of Quality.
PEOPLE are the most important ingredient in relation to customer experience.
And as said earlier, today’s work of Quality in most businesses is very objective, the measurements and the standardization. Therefore, most companies happen to wash out the subjective. The business frameworks often exclude “human” or “people” in it…. The uniqueness of human beings that create the whole experience.
Let me give you an example – issue resolution.
When a customer comes to the company with a product issue. We dive into the process; the systems; the Quality Management System; the tools such as 8D; the work instructions; the Key Performance Indicators that measure the capability of the process/resolutions; and so on. We are well trained in solving and handling issues. But we are not that trained in seeing the PEOPLE that solve the issues. Far too many miss the significance of the PEOPLE experience when solving the issue.
I can assure you that the process description for issue resolution does not include:
‘When reporting an issue, be sure to describe and forward the customers emotions and needs, and also care deeply and say thank you to the resolver when done’.
Of course, if we suddenly need to write down “common sense” instructions, that is a little scary. But everyone has their own opinion of what common sense is.
Business needs to grow the subjective much more. We all know that customers and employees depend on the relationships with others. And that is why they stay or come back. Every salesperson knows that it is the relationship with the customer that makes them loyal.
It’s all about one subjective perception meeting another subjective perception. An individual human being meeting another individual human being – that results in an interpersonal relationship. This is where the individual strength and traits exists to exceed the Quality and experience. This is where the C of Customer and Q of Quality collide to make CQX!
If an organization wants to achieve sustainable growth and profitability, the goal should be the shared “Q”. That is an emotional process. Its people that meet, not products.
The only thing we can know is the sensations we get through our perceptions.
“Man is the measure of everything.”
Veronika Luxemburg is Certified by CXPA, as Customer Experience Professional (CCXP), Coach certified by ICF, and she also holds a Lean6Sigma certification. Veronika is a passionate global facilitator of change. She is long experienced on how to deliver on the customer promise by facilitating business transformation and change programs for Customer Experience strategies. Veronika has deployed CX tools and methodologies all over the world. Veronika is the founder of CQX, a global concept uniting CX and Quality. She has a background in multiple industries; Infrastructure Construction, Technology industries, Manufacturing, Aerospace, Education.
Contact Veronika by email at firstname.lastname@example.org