Quality as a strategy to improve customer satisfaction : a six sigma approach.
In the face of increased competition compounded by globalisation, the challenge facing many South African companies is the need to develop a competitive advantage that will secure and grow its market share. This study explores the concept of customer satisfaction as the means to create that competitive advantage. Customers today are more demanding and are exposed to wider choices. The challenge facing management is to define strategies to "delight customers" - customers do not just want to be pleased they want to be delighted, they want to feel that the company exists to ensure that their expectations are not only met, but exceeded. This study further explores quality as a strategy to enhance customer satisfaction. The Six Sigma approach to quality management has been chosen as the focus. This study has been based on a medium sized South African Information Technology (IT) company, called Business Connexion. The IT industry is characterised by many challenges, the most significant being that it is currently in a slow growth phase after being in a boom in the late 1990s. The management of IT companies, today need to develop strategies to retain their customers and to attract new ones. The challenge facing Business Connexion, who is a relatively new entrant to the market, is to develop a competitive advantage that will put it ahead of its competitors who come in the form of large internationally listed companies. This study explores the option of Business Connexion defining its differentiator based on the capacity to offer its customers a superior quality service at a price lower than that of its competitors. The Six Sigma approach is suggested because it focuses on the elements such as: defining customer needs, creating processes to meet and exceed customer expectations, investigating methods to reduce costs and creating a quality-focused culture within the company. These elements are critical to achieving competitive advantage.