Improving Quality


Improving quality is a lot like taking vitamins, eating healthy foods, and exercising regularly. Although the results may not be immediate, long-term benefits are significant. Quality is neither a quick fix nor the program of the month, but rather a way of life for companies who are serious about improvements.

Quality is a fundamental to creating value, yet it is a moving target and must meet the customers’ current definition of quality. Thus, we offer the following recommendations for improving service quality and ultimately delivering superior customer value:

  • Design services in cooperation with customers. Learn what customers truly value by incorporating the voice of the customer earlier in the service development process. Also, it is important to determine not only the customers’ preferred service attributes but their relative importance, as well.
  • Focus your improvement programs outward, on market break points. Only by defining those episodes, when the customer comes in contact with the organization, and by focusing on the ones most critical can you see things as the customer sees them. Also, visualize the complete sequence of the moments of truth a customer experiences in having some need met. Remember, the customer sees service in terms of a total experience, not an isolated set of activities. Mapping the service cycle helps companies see these activities as the customer sees them.
  • Create a triangle representation of service quality. Hotels and restaurants often advertise and display on their properties ratings by one of the major motor clubs, such as AAA or Mobil Oil, Hertz #1 Gold Club service communicates a premium, value-added bundle of services to business travelers seeking a hassle-free car rental experience.
  • Use teamwork to promote service excellence—service workers who support one another and achieve together can avoid service burnout.
  • Create a service bias based on each of the following service quality determinants: professionalism, attitudes and behaviors, accessibility and flexibility, reliability and trustworthiness, service recovery, and reputation and credibility. These criteria can be used as guidelines for influencing positive service quality perceptions.
  • Develop proper measurements. Use metrics that are specific on nature, such as 95% on-time-delivery, customer wait time, or order processing time. Benchmark the best practices for each service are being measured, such as wait time or order delivery.
  • Employee selection, job design, and training are absolutely crucial to building customer satisfaction and service quality. Structure the job of service workers to maximize their ability to respond quickly and competently to customer needs. Also, train service personnel in areas of service delivery and attitude. Role play different service scenarios, showing various service recovery strategies. Provide service workers with some basic tools to help control service quality variation and uncover service problems.
  • Reward total quality efforts in marketing. Look for opportunities to reinforce quality behaviors when they occur. Employees should be rewarded ob the basis of these behaviors (commitment, effort) rather than strictly on outcomes, such as sales quotas. Rewarding a salesperson for meeting or exceeding quota with a bonus while giving a nominal award such as a pin or plaque to the person who fixes the product or process sends a clear message about the importance of quality.
  • Think of service as a process, not a series of functions. Service quality occurs when the entire service experience is managed and the organization is aligned to respond accordingly.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

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Geographic Information Systems


The administration and management of Sales territories presents a tremendous challenge, even to the most experienced sales managers. While you would like to have your salespeople feel that territory administration is done fairly and reasonably, the truth of the matter is that it is usually more of an art than a service. A geographic information system allows a salesperson or sales manager to view and manipulate customer and/or prospect information on an electronic map. Customer information can be accessed directly from contact management data. Information on potential prospects can be entered into the system directly as it is captured, or the information can be purchased in bulk in computer format from third party sources.

Once the information is plotted on a map, the administration of territories becomes immeasurably more accurate. The information can also be manipulated much more easily. In addition, this type of visual representation will often reveal buying patterns or trends that would not otherwise be apparent.

Salespeople can use geographic information systems in planning their sales calls to make the most efficient use of their time. Drive time is minimized when sales call planning is done with geographic considerations in mind.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Decision Tree


Probably the best known of all decision-making tools, a decision tree is a graphic representation of the options flowing from an initial decision or set of decisions. It is used to map out alternative courses of action and assess the implications of suh decisions. Probabilities (otherwise known as educated guesses) are assigned to the livelihood of the consequences that each decision is expected to generate.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Extending or Renewing a Contract


Extend, renew, or negotiate a contract when the other party is the happiest, not when the contract is about to expire. Whenever we’ve done an exceptional deal for a client, I encourage the executive in charge to discuss extending the client’s representation agreement then, even ifit still has a year or so to run.

If a customer of yours has received terrific news, even if it has nothing to do with your product—a raise or a bonus, for instance—there’s probably a good timing opportunity there.

Take automatic mood checks. Mood alone can turn a “yes” into a “no” and vice versa.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please contact www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight