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How quality can strike a balance

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Quality needs to strike a balance between client satisfaction and global best practice.

I am a great proponent and advocate of quality. Quality consists of multiple measures, each working in tandem to achieve the desired standards. Quality has numerous key components, from global standards, compliance, safety, and customer feedback to end-user ease. Quality is synonymous with consistency and can only hold ground in the latter’s presence. People often judge it based on selective criteria, be it end-user feedback or one for a few qualitative outcomes therein. Ideally, this should be considered on holistic grounds aligning all quality aspects.

Quality in the service industry is the essential measure of success. It also happens to be an important aspect of my industry domain of Facilities Management. Quality refers to the systematic efforts taken to ensure that the services delivered to customers meet the contractual and other agreed-upon performance, design, reliability, and maintainability expectations of that customer as well best practices. It is, therefore, necessary, as elaborated above, not to undermine quality with one of a few parameters of the definition described above but to meet all requirements. For instance, customer satisfaction is not the sole criterion for quality, but it requires adherence to the entire gamut of quality needs, such as relevant compliance standards, best practices safety, end-user experience, and productivity management based on efficiencies and innovation.

Quality emanates from high standards of service delivery. However, I do insist on not ignoring other essentials best defined in global quality assessment frameworks. Our facilities management industry has a legacy issue with quality, most benchmarked against client satisfaction. This increased focus with client satisfaction is a misplaced notion. Client satisfaction is usually mired with a self-centered approach centered around the goals and objectives articulated in their contract that may not factor quality elements from a holistic perspective. However, it is the primary responsibility of the service provider in that engagement, whilst obliging to the contractual terms, to also adhere to the quality standards stipulated by their company and the global best practices. Quality can only sustain if aligned with all the fundamentals of essential quality requirements, be it safety, compliance, company guidelines and the end user ease based on customer experience. Facility Managers and service industry professionals must ponder on their conventional approach by having a paradigm shift in their mindset from customer satisfaction to end-user experience.

Lastly, quality cannot be compromised on the pretext of low client budgets. Indeed, one can work on different quality formats with minimal criteria for excellence by aligning all aspects, but each engagement needs to set definitive quality specifications.

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