1.1 Background of the Study
Throughout history, quality has remained an important aspect of any product or service. However, the definition of quality has undergone significant changes over time. In the early part of the 20th century, quality was defined as meeting the specifications and standards of a product (Edvard, 1968). Consequently, industries adopted quality practices that centered on standardization, inspection, and rework.
Deming (1986) asserted that quality entails meeting the requirements of customers and satisfying them, thus gradually changing the definition of quality to a customer-centric perspective. As a result, enterprises committed themselves to meeting the needs and expectations of customers with the aim of achieving customer satisfaction and loyalty (Gorst et al., 1998; Sirohi et al., 1998). Enterprises have adopted several approaches to understand the needs and expectations of their customers, including conducting surveys, market research, and in-depth interviews.
However, the success of Apple's innovative products and the subsequent increase in sales has revealed that merely meeting customers' expectations is insufficient. As Teece (2010) notes, identifying and fulfilling customers' latent needs, along with their emotional responses, has become crucial. In this regard, Rindova and Petkova (2007) emphasize the importance of gauging customers' emotional responses when identifying and meeting their unfulfilled needs.
As the new century began, various studies suggested that merely meeting the customers' needs is insufficient for ensuring their loyalty, and thus, industries must concentrate on customers' emotional responses and deliver products with appealing quality to attain customers' delight. (Reichheld, 1994; Kumar et al., 2001). It should be noted that Apple is widely considered as a trendsetter, owing to its success in launching innovative products like iPod, iPhone, and iPad, which led to a surge in sales. Additionally, a robust customer service department played an equally crucial role in creating delightful customer experiences (Gallo, 2012).
To reflect the current business environment and customer demands, the definition of quality has undergone a transformation. Diaz (2014) describes it as the extent to which a product adheres to design specifications while also meeting customer expectations and providing a satisfactory experience. In response to this shift in perspective, quality management initiatives have emerged, aimed at enhancing processes and products continuously to ensure customer satisfaction (White, 2022). In contemporary times, quality management initiatives have become ubiquitous across all sectors, from manufacturing and healthcare to education and hospitality, among others.
Numerous international standards are centered around quality management principles that are employed by top management to direct an organization towards continual improvement of its performance. Two of the most prominent standards are ISO 9000:2005, which deals with the fundamentals and vocabulary of quality management systems, and ISO 9001:2015, which covers the requirements for quality management systems. ISO 10014:2006 is an international standard that focuses on the application of quality management principles in achieving financial and economic benefits. On the other hand, ISO 9001:2015, another international standard, is of particular importance to our topic as it deals with quality management systems.
The most popular international standard for quality management systems (QMS) is ISO 9001, was released by the International Organization for Standardization. (ISO). ISO standards are the most extensively utilized quality and performance standards in the world. The ISO 9000 series of quality management standards includes ISO 9001. ISO 9001:2015 is the most recent version, which means it was introduced in 2015. The most significant benefit is assisting businesses in preventing quality problems that can have an impact on clients, staff, business associates, and even their own industry. The standard outlines the conditions necessary to establish a reliable quality management system.
All of these international standards are centered on one or more of the following eight quality management principles: customer focus, leadership, involvement of people, process approach, system approach to management, continual improvement, factual approach to decision making, and, mutually beneficial supplier relationships (Luburić, 2015). To maintain their competitiveness in the present business environment, firms need to undertake quality management programs (such TQM, Six Sigma, and Lean Production).
Customers today are more picky and have greater standards for the quality of the goods and services they purchase. Companies that fall short of these requirements run the risk of losing clients to rival businesses. Therefore, the challenge for firms is to put into place effective quality management efforts that will allow them to continuously improve the quality of their goods and services and the client experience.
Given the above challenges, this study looks into how quality management initiatives might be used to enhance the quality of the products and the customer experience.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The quality of the products or services that a consumer receives from a business has a big impact on their experience. When a company's products are of poor quality, it is assumed that the customer experience would be poor as well, which will result in unfavorable feedback about the company (Patel, 2023). On the other hand, if the product quality is great, the customer experience is anticipated to be positive, increasing the possibility that customers will promote the company to others. This type of word-of-mouth advertising is thought to benefit the company because it can increase sales and customer loyalty (Hayes, 2022).
Organizations run the risk of losing clients to rivals if they fail to meet or exceed customer expectations (Chaturved, 2021). Maintaining consistent standards of quality across all of their goods and services is a challenge that many businesses encounter, which frequently leads to dissatisfied consumers and a corresponding loss of revenue. In order to find effective solutions that organizations can employ to address this issue, this research looks into how quality management initiatives are used to improve product and service quality and enhance the customer experience.
1.3 Aim of the Study
The aim of this study is to examine the use of quality management initiatives as a means of improving product and service quality and enhancing the customer experience.
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The study had the following specific objectives:
- Identify the different quality management initiatives that organizations can implement to improve the quality of their products and services and enhance the customer experience.
- To investigate the impact of quality management initiatives on product and customer experience.
- To identify the challenges faced by organizations in implementing quality management initiatives.
- To suggest possible solutions for overcoming the challenges in implementing quality management initiatives.
1.5 Research Questions
- What are the different quality management initiatives that organizations can implement to improve the quality of their products and services and enhance the customer experience?
- What is the impact of quality management initiatives on product and customer experience.
- What are the challenges faced by organizations in implementing quality management initiatives.
- What are the possible solutions for overcoming the challenges in implementing quality management initiatives.
1.6 Research Hypothesis
H0: There is no statistically significant difference in the impact of quality management initiatives on product and customer experience.
Ha: There is a statistically significant difference in the impact of quality management initiatives on product and customer experience.
1.7 Justification of the Study
This study will provide insights into the use of quality management initiatives to improve the quality of products and services and enhance the customer experience. The study will be beneficial to organizations seeking to improve their products and services and enhance the customer experience.
The results generated by this study can be used to develop and refine theories related to quality management and customer experience. This study can also serve as a foundation for further research in this area, helping to identify gaps in existing knowledge and potential avenues for future research.
1.8 Scope of the Study
This study will focus on the use of quality management initiatives to improve products and customer experience.