Characteristics of quality product/service
Whilst internal customers play a fundamental role in the process of making a product, in this report we are going to concentrate on external customers when defining a quality product or service. The reason why external customers are more important than internal customers is that the requirements of internal and external customers can sometimes conflict. To take an example, the desire by internal customers at Toyota for easy of assembly may conflict with the requirements of the end users which results in the end product being compromised by satisfying internal requirements. To fully understand what a quality product would look like from the point of view of Toyota’s customers, we look at the Kano model (Antony 2002) which classified customer expectations or satisfaction into three levels.
(1) Basic quality/threshold
These attributes or expectations are taken for granted when fulfilled, but when not fulfilled will lead to dissatisfaction. For Toyota examples would be those attributes which relate to health and safety, if the brakes on the car are working as expected, customer satisfaction will not be increased because brakes are expected to work all the time and also because brakes are a ''must'' according to health and safety, but if the brakes are faulty then the customer will become dissatisfied, good visibility and driver/passenger airbags are also in the threshold. Quality at this level of expectation is not defined by basic or threshold attributes alone but also by consistently meeting these thresholds at an acceptable price.
(2) Spoken Performance/Expected
These are the attributes that customers will specify and are also known as the ''wants''. If these attributes are not present, customers will be dissatisfied but if they are present customers will be satisfied. A customer would be willing to pay more for a car that provides them with better performance in terms of acceleration, fuel consumption (if a certain car is said to consume 5 litres of petrol over 5 miles, if it then consumes more than 5 litres over 5 miles the customer will feel cheated, good air-con system and enough room at the back seat for kids are also some of the expected attributes which will help to keep the supplier in the market. A quality car should satisfy these expectations.
(3) Excitement quality
These are the properties or qualities that the customer does not expect, in other words the customer does not know they want those attributes. Their absence cannot dissatisfy the customer because they don’t expect them but their presence will delight the customer or produce extraordinary satisfaction. They are the ''wow'' factors which often lead to market dominance. Examples of quality features on a car that delight a customer are, navigational aid, heated seats, cruise control and also the extra services performed when a customer takes his or her car to the garage for service like, body…