Conclusion: Letter to a New
Champion of Customers’
Perception of Quality
Congratulations on your promotion! We know you are excited about
exercising your talent in an area that is both challenging and vitally
important to the company. And we would like to share with you some
information we think will benet you in your new role.
Start by considering the skills the new job requires. Compare these with
those you already have. It is possible that you may be short on experience
in one or two areas (and most leaders are at certain points in their career,
as you know). If this is the case, surround yourself with people who are
strong in those areas. You will denitely want to bring together a well-
balanced team that possesses the dierent types of skills that you require
in order to improve your chances of success.
You will need to learn the organization inside out. Reach out to people
at all levels. Get down to the action at all the customer touch points. Talk
to them all, ask them questions, and listen to their answers. You will gain
a really good handle on reality by listening to people and establishing per-
sonal connections and important relationships.
As you navigate your way around the organization, share your thoughts
on what quality means from a customers’ perception perspective, and how
it is instrumental to the corporation’s nancial viability. Illustrate how this
ties into a customer-centric focus and how it leads to fantastic customer
experiences and plays a pinnacle role in branding, image, and customer
lifetime value. Explain your role in enhancing customers’ perception of
quality through forward-thinking, cross-functional, customer-focused
You will have to understand the beliefs and behaviors of people who will
work with you on this initiative. Your abilities to lead, communicate, nego-
tiate, inuence, and problem solve will work to your advantage. Remain
176 • Conclusion
open to opinions that differ from yours, and continue maintaining
honest, inclusive dialogues that shine the light on reality. Assume noth-
ing in terms of the customer. Do not shy away from placing a premium on
getting things done by attracting and retaining the best and most diverse
talent on your team.
is is a world of imperfections and your path to maintaining super-high
levels of customers’ perception of quality will be fraught with naysayers. As
you dig deeper to fathom the customer-friendliness of your organizational
culture, gauge what the execution culture is like. What really motivates
people? Is this based on performance and reward? Do people engage in
constructive dialogues with the customer in mind? Is customer-centricity
really just lip service? Is the place full of politicking, passing the buck?
What does accountability really mean, and how does this translate into
cross-functional initiatives? At the end of the day, you will need relent-
lessly strong leadership to back you. A record of meaningful achievements
will allow you to slowly but surely swing the organizational pendulum
toward a philosophy where customers’ perception of quality is very high.
Do not be distracted by sidebar initiatives that people may insist are
similar to those you are pursuing. Also, reassure the people who may have
grown despondent, due to past eorts they have made, in coming up with
very sound recommendations that were never acted upon. Start with the
end in mind, which is signicant improvement in the customer percep-
tion of quality. Establish sound metrics that quantify the end state, using
facts and gures to provoke new thought in order to change behavior or
reinforce behavior once it has changed positively. By the same token, help
people visualize and feel the change by creating compelling, eye-catching,
and dramatic stories that reduce fear, anger, and complacency and create
enthusiasm to embrace the suggested change.
You will need to look at data-driven methods to pinpoint the specic
issues that lead to poor customers’ perception of quality. e quantitative
model is the right tool to compute the nancial impact of leaving those
customer pain points unaddressed.
Obtaining approval for a customers’ perception of quality initiative
may be challenging, because the concept is new. Most potential spon-
sors and steering team members will be unfamiliar with it or will simply
believe that by increasing actual quality customers’ perception of qual-
ity will correspondingly increase. Use the data-driven methodology to
provide signicant evidence to contradict that false belief.