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5 Keys to Excellent Customer Service by Dr. W. Edwards Deming

Dr. Deming teaches that superior customer service is predicated on excellent quality in all aspects of an organization. He teaches that quality starts with management and leadership. Although it sounds as if it should be self-evident not all employees automatically understand that customer service is the ultimate reason for their job. Further they may not understand that excellent quality and efficiency in all aspects of an organization are components of superior customer service. It is management’s responsibility to communicate this and make sure that all employees understand how their work fits into the goal of excellent customer service. The ultimate goal of continuous improvement in quality is better and better customer service and the building of successful long term relationships. Following are keys to excellent customer service:

  1. The emphasis should be on why we do a job – Often managers don’t consider that an employee that understands the ultimate purpose of their work will deliver better quality. When employees are given direction on how to perform their duties – the ultimate benefit of what they’re doing should be communicated. The purpose of the job should be stressed more than the job itself.
  2. The big problems are where people don’t realize they have one in the first place – Dr. Deming points out that there may be a flaw in a process that goes unnoticed until a serious problem occurs. This can occur when there’s a variation in product mix, change in personnel or any number of reasons.
  3. No one knows the cost of a defective product – don’t tell me you do. You know the cost of replacing it, but not the cost of a dis-satisfied customer – A customer with a negative perception of a company can cause untold damage. The ripple effect of poor quality can be lasting and widespread. Therefore every effort should be made to ensure that quality service is delivered at all times.
  4. The result of long-term relationships is better and better quality, and lower and lower costs – Superior customer relationships and sustained repeat business allow a company to spend less effort on customer retention and focus on improving company processes to reduce costs thus continuing to improve quality over time.
  5. Profit in business comes from repeat customers, customers that boast about your product or service, and that bring friends with them – Superior quality and continuous focus on achieving better and better service delivery will not only keep excellent customers but will turn them from customer into advocate. There is nothing more powerful than a referral when it comes to attracting new business.

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