Developing New Services: Incorporating the Voice of the Customer into Strategic Service Development

K. Narasimhan (Learning and Teaching Fellow, Bolton Institute, Bolton, UK)

Managing Service Quality: An International Journal

ISSN: 0960-4529

Article publication date: 1 October 2004

Issue publication date: 1 October 2004



Narasimhan, K. (2004), "Developing New Services: Incorporating the Voice of the Customer into Strategic Service Development", Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, Vol. 14 No. 5, pp. 437-437.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Customer loyalty, a prerequisite for retaining customers, can only be gained by delighting customers; this requires that an organization keeps developing new services that exceed customer expectations. In this brief practical guide, the authors explain briefly the processes to be employed with the aid of real‐world examples, from service industries and service side of manufacturing, supported by 96 figures and 28 tables.

Caroline Fisher is a professor of Marketing at Loyola University New Orleans, where she is the director of Six Sigma programs. She also teaches courses on consumer analysis and research. James T. Schutta, the president of S&S consulting Associates, is a past senior examiner for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. He uses the concepts in the book to improve the customer focus and align customer needs within client organizations.

The book comprises 16 chapters (13 of which are grouped into three parts), of varying lengths, and 9 short appendices. The last appendix contains answers to the end of chapter questions. The first two chapters are introductory chapters. Chapter 1 introduces the concept of services, internal services, and a brief description of the structure of the book. Chapter 2 gives an overview of the concepts of “voice of the customer” and “quality function deployment”, and details of what is covered in the various chapters to follow. Conclusions form the final chapter.

Voice of the customer forms the theme of Part One and is covered in four chapters. The topics covered are understanding consumer choice decisions including Noriaki Kano's concepts of exciters and dissatisfiers (amazingly, no reference to Knao's work is provided), how to collect voice of the customer using questionnaires, focus groups, etc., and assess the competitive position.

Part Two is the longest part with six chapters and focuses on how to develop the technical requirements of the operational conversion process to meet the customer needs identified in Part One. The first five chapters covers the techniques used to define the process in stages by using tree diagrams, relationship diagrams, cause‐and‐effect diagrams, matrix diagrams, and the house of quality. The application of these techniques is explained with examples from pizza delivery and services rendered to patients at a doctor's office. The conversion of customer needs into technical measures, then into process requirements, and then transform these requirements into process characteristics that need to be controlled to deliver the requirements and, finally, establishing key process controls to ensure that the specified requirements being met are succinctly explained.

Part Three comprises three chapters and its theme is Strategic Applications. Chapter 13 deals with the key topics of prioritizing resource allocations, application of customer value map, market segmentation and brand positioning, which help to identify where to work, to have the greatest impact on customer value. In Chapter 14, all the concepts and tools covered so far are applied to a laundry and dry cleaning service. Though brief, the example is self‐explanatory. In Chapter 15, attention is focused on briefly explaining the key data to be collected to make a case for continued use of QFD in an organization.

The book is concise and it is not for the novices. For readers with a bit of background knowledge of quality improvement methods, it is an ideal and useful book to have as a tool for applying QFD. The examples given are quite easy to follow.

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