1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Total quality management practice is a firm-wide management philosophy of continuously improving the quality of the products/services/processes by focusing on the customers’ needs and expectations to enhance customer retention, satisfaction and firm performance. There are mixed results about the relationship between total quality management practices and customer retention, satisfaction and performance. However, this study will examine the impact of total quality management practices on customer retention and satisfaction.
A growing number of organizations use total quality management as a strategic foundation for generating a competitive advantage (Reed, Lemak, &Mero, 2000) and improving firm performance (Hendricks &Singhal, 1997; Lemak& Reed, 1997) and customer retention and satisfaction (Samson &Terziovski, 1999). Firms that have won quality awards generally outperform other firms with respect to both income measures (Hendricks &Singhal, 1997), customer loyalty and stock market value (Lemak& Reed, 1997). It is no surprise that the links among market orientation, total quality practices, and performance have attracted the attention of marketing and operations management researchers’ alike (Ettlie& Johnson, 1994; Flynn, Schroeder, &Sakakibara, 1994; Kohli&Jaworski, 1990; Narver& Slater, 1990; Samson &Terziovski, 1999).
Total quality management practices have been shown to enhance organizational performance for both product and service organizations (Powell, 1995). However, there is relatively little research on the differences between product and service offered by companies with respect to the impact of quality practices on customer retention and satisfaction. We know little about how these two different types of organizations view what they do, how well they do it, and its consequences.
The concept of total quality management practice has been developed as a result of intense global competition.Organizations with international trade and global competition have paid considerable attention to philosophies of total quality management, procedures, tools and techniques. According to Juran (2001), international competition requires higherlevels of quality achievement by organizations. Total quality management is the popular area of research inmanagement. Total QualityManagement has been practiced in diverse manufacturing industries andnow there is a growing interest in the service sector, even from non-profit organizations (Nwabueze, 1998). Butthe service industry differs from the manufacturing industry in a number of ways, such as service intangibility,simultaneity of production, delivery and consumption, perishability, variability of expectations of the customersand the participatory role of customers in the service delivery but the main aim by both sector is to achieve customer retention and satisfaction. Several authors have proposed models of total quality management.However, most of the models are based on theories and practices that are primarily derived from themanufacturing industry where this has been effectively practices in the recent decades.
Furthermore, total quality management has become the buzz word in the management practice. It has been defined in manydifferent ways. The International Standard ISO 8402, Quality Management and Quality Assurance-Terminologyhas defined total quality management as the ―management approach of an organization, centered on quality, based on theparticipation of all its members and aiming at long-term success through customer satisfaction, and benefits toall members of the organization and to society(Ljungstrom&Klefsjo, 2002). Temtime and Solomon (2002)said that total quality management seeks continuous improvement in the quality of all processes, people, products, and services ofan organization. Total quality management is also a systematic approach to management that aims to enhance value to customers bydesigning and continually improving organizational processes and systems (Kartha, 2004). The emphasis is onemployee involvement and empowerment along with customers and customer satisfaction as the focal point.
The tenets of total quality are continuous improvement, top management leadership commitment to the goal ofcustomer satisfaction and retention, employee empowerment, and customer focus (Ugboro&Obeng, 2000). Total quality management means thatthe organization‘s culture is defined by and supports the constant attainment of customer retention and satisfaction through anintegrated system of tools, techniques and training (Sashkin& Kiser, 1993).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Many researchers think that total quality management is old news, many of the new continuous improvement initiatives are based on total quality management philosophies. Total quality management encompasses a number of different initiatives.Juran (2001) wrote that the benefits and goals of total quality are lower costs, higher revenues, delightedcustomers (as seen in customer retention and satisfaction), and empowered employees. Costs can be lowered by reducing errors, reducing rework, and reducingnon-value added work. Higher quality can also equate to higher revenues through satisfied customers, increasedmarket share, improved customer retention, more loyal customers, and premium prices. Customers continue todemand higher quality goods and services. Delighted customers purchase over and over again, advertise goodsand services for the company, and check first when they are going to buy anything else to see what is offered bythe company they are loyal to.
However, it is not easy for management to implement total quality management, because it means a cultural overhaul (Rao,Youssef, & Stratton, 2004). Deming (1981) also attested that the benefits of better quality through improvementof the process are thus not just better quality and the long-range improvement of market-position, but alsogreater productivity and profit. Improvement of the process increases uniformity of output of product, reducesmistakes, and reduces waste of manpower, machine-time, and materials. Kaynak (2003) suggested that apositive relationship exists between the extent to which companies implement total quality management and performance as a result of satisfied customers.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
HO: There is no significant relationship between total quality management practices and customer retention and satisfaction.
HA: There is significant relationship between total quality management practices and customer retention and satisfaction.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following are the significance of this study:
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study will be conducted on some selected companies in Edo State. This study will also cover the method of total quality management practice adopted by the selected company so as to ascertain its effect on customer retention and satisfaction.
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
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