The Customer and Quality ZAA 107 - Week 3

Key session outcomes…

  • Understanding the focus on the customer is a key concept of quality management
  • Understanding how ISO9001 requires organisations to focus on customer requirements.

If you world prefer to use the Microsoft Word workbook then click here. Otherwise continue with this online module.

The Customer and Quality | Rene Kling | 4:54 mins

The Customer and Quality

The previous session discussed quality by design. One of the key inputs to the design phase is input from customers. In this session, we are concentrating on why customers and their needs are a key ingredient to having a successful quality organisation. The document ‘ISO Quality Management Principles’ states the rationale behind this:

‘Sustained success is achieved when an organization attracts and retains the confidence of customers and other interested parties. Every aspect of customer interaction provides an opportunity to create more value for the customer. Understanding current and future needs of customers and other interested parties contributes to sustained success of the organization.’

We know that most organisations only exist because of customers. This week, we will investigate why customers are so important not just to business in general, but specifically in terms of quality management.

What do Customers Want?

Customers buy both products and services. We probably look for different things for both. As all of you are customers at various points, consider the following purchases, and determine a list of things that you look for in order to be completely satisfied with that purchase:

Reading 1: The Role of Customers in Total Quality Management

This very short reading, discusses that customers play an important role in quality management, and looks at both physical products and services. Thinking about the organisation you work for, or your last school or even your study at UTAS, what do your or their customers demand from the organisation? See if you can complete the following table:

The Costs of Poor Quality

Now have a look at the following video, which will provide you with the point that poor quality will result in the loss of customers. Make some notes of the most important points the video makes:

The Costs of Poor Quality | 4:01 mins

The SERVQUAL Model - Identifying Gaps in Customer Service

The SERVQUAL Model was developed to measure and improve the quality of service, and to identify gaps that exist, so the organisation can bridge those gaps. The model looks as follows:


In order to plug the gaps, so your organisation can deliver the best quality service of its products and services, we need to find out what customers think about our products.

Reading 2

You should now access Reading 2: ‘Service Quality Issues in Financial Services’

This reading provides a very good overview and several case studies of how gaps were identified and dealt with.

The SERVQUAL model developed into the RATER Model, which identified five main aspects of quality customer service.

The RATER Model of Customer Service

According to the book ‘Quality Customer Service’ by Zeithaml et al (2009), one way of examining customer service is the RATER Model:

  • Reliability: did the company provide the promised service consistently, accurately, and on a timely basis?
  • Assurance: do the knowledge, skills, and credibility of the employees inspire trust and confidence?
  • Tangibles: are the physical aspects of the service (offices, equipment, or employees) appealing?
  • Empathy: is there a good relationship between employees and customers?
  • Responsiveness: does the company provide fast, high-quality service to customers?

Have a look at the following two scenarios, and in groups, complete the tables with your responses using the RATER model.

Scenario 1

You work in a restaurant in Sandy Bay selling Nepalese food. You have lots of competitors in the same area – Indian, Chinese, Thai and Mexican restaurants. You would like to set your restaurant apart from the others – why would customers prefer your restaurant in terms of quality service? Using the RATER Model, how would you do this?

Scenario 2

You work in a large government department in Hobart. Your boss has received some feedback from other departments that they are not happy with responsiveness and the quality of work coming from your area. Using the RATER Model, how would improve the level of internal customer service?

Following on the previous week, the following video will provide you with a further overview of ISO9001:

Essentials Clause 6 Planning | 13:53 mins

After you’ve watched the video, make some of your own notes on the key principles covered in the video.


Created with images by PublicDomainPictures - "agent business call" • JeongGuHyeok - "maple leaf book reading" • Hans - "glasses read learn"

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