/ Quality

Who is a customer? [Bergman]

From perspective of quality it's very important to define who is a customer. Bergman [1] define quality like: The quality of the product is its ability to satisfy, or preferably exceed, the needs and expectations of the customer. So who is a customer in that case and is there any doferences between customer and stakeholders? In this article I want to focus on definitions presented by Bo Bergman in book Quality: From Customer Needs to Customer Satisfaction [1].

Customers in [1] book are the people or organisations that are the reason for our activities. In another words we can say that customers are people for whom we create value (do the product or service). This could be the people inside and outside the organisation. It's not always easy to name the customer. For example we can simply said that customer in the restaurant is the person who eat dinner, but who is customer of education or police? In those situation we have to divide customers into categories and try to provide quality for all involved groups.

To provide highest quality we have to focus on three steps according to customers:

  1. name the customer (who they are, if it's necessary divide them into categories)
  2. name the customers needs and expectations (individual or by categories)
  3. fulfil those needs and expectations and if it's possible exceed those needs.

According to ISO 9000 the definition of customer is more narrow and provide the definition that customer is organization or person who receives the product. ISO 9000 also define the "interested party" and it's defined as person or group that having an interest in the performance and success of organization. In this "interested party" we can find stakeholders that are divided into two groups: primary (e.g. loan givers) and secondary (e.g. media).

[1] Bo Bergman and Bengt Klefsjö, Quality: From Customer Needs to Customer Satisfaction. McGraw-Hill, 1994.