Perceptions of Quality

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All too many companies seem to consider customers as nothing more than a necessary nuisance. Oh, they may seem otherwise, but they don't deliver. If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, then the road to business failure is littered with placards proclaiming 'the customer is always right'" (Capodagli & Jackson 1998, p.60)


Some companies were so surprised initially by the sudden 'quality movement' of the 1990's that Cant (1992, p. 1) commented that
Businesses generally have a lethargic approach towards any kind of change. When TQM was still a newbie, some people thought that it could rescue businesses from 'flabby management techniques' and 'shoddy products', while others thought it to be 'too perfect' and that such management techniques cost more than they are worth. American firms could not truly embrace 'Quality Management' until they thought it made their shareholders more money than it did the seminar organizers, consultants and book publishers, who again, they thought, reaped the biggest quality rewards of the 1980s. Only those who had the patience and stuck to it reaped the rewards. Many, who did not, were wiped out in the competition.
Virtually every business depends on repeat business for survival. It's a common sense answer that for customers to come back they should be happy with what they got before. Earlier, professionals could count on their reputations and work contacts to provide a steady stream of work; however, as a result of de-regulation, an over-supply of professionals in many disciplines and a declining public image, this is no longer guaranteed.
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