Contents Foreword Acknowledgements Introduction An overview of quality and customer Satisfaction in public relations An overview of customer satisfaction and image Measuring quality in public relations ISO 9000 – quality standards and Certification in public relations A “smörgåsbord” of quality improvement Options in day-to-day operations Quality in different cultures and Environments A quality improvement program and the road ahead Appendix A: Satisfied customers – Our future Appendix B: Customer satisfaction and quality in public relations: A bibliography Page 345 6 1422 28 36 39 47 51 Foreword The series of PARA Gold Papers, initiated in 1973, has now reached no. 10. Its aim is to stimulate debate within and around our association on topics to vital interest to us as public relations practitioners, educators, or researchers, and on the communication between organizations and their key publics internally as well as externally.
The first nine Gold Papers dealt with several of the key issues for our profession, such as education, research, and ethics. This Gold paper no. 10 contains a series of challenges to all public relations professionals – public relations officers, consultants, educators and researchers: o How do we meet new demands on us? O How do we improve our professionalism and our day-to-day quality? O How do we make better use of academic research in our work? O How do we spread the quality gospel in our organizations? O How do we meet the certification demands from Governments, clients, and our own managements? O How do we take command of one of the most challenging of all contact issues – customer satisfaction measurement, evaluation and improvement?
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As PARA president, I urge our members to fuel the debate around those questions in their home constituencies – their own companies, government boards, associations and among their public relations colleagues. I urge other readers to observe the serious efforts of our worldwide association to improve the quality standards of our employers as well as ourselves, and to make good use of the high degree of professionalism that is demonstrated through this Gold Paper. On behalf of the PARA members, I extend my sincere thanks and warm congratulations to the PARA CSS Task Force that produced this thought- provoking and action-oriented Gold Paper. Paris, April 1994 Pierre Hen’0 PARA President 1994.
Acknowledgements PARA wishes to thank the following me beers of the PARA CSS Task Force for heir devoted work in the period 1992-94 which resulted in this Gold Paper no. 1 0 and the presentation at the Sixth Public Relations World Congress in Punt del Est., Uruguay, April 12-15, 1994: Editing Group: Dry Cert. Schusses, Deutsche Bundestag Positioned, Bonn, Chairman and representative of the main sponsor Mr. G¶ran So¶berg, WORLD Sweden, Stockholm, PARA past president and Member Emeritus, CSS Task Force Coordinator Ms Kristin Berth, Alpha Beta, Copenhagen, Editor of the International Public Relations Review, Deputy Coordinator Professor Donald K.
Wright, University of South Alabama, Mobile, member of he editing group with So¶berg and Berth Professor Class Foretell, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, specialist member on customer satisfaction issues Other members: MS Marie Biologist, Customer satisfaction staff, Sweden Post, Stockholm Mr. Curt G¶Raman, President, G¶rearrangement, Mall¶ Ms Sandra McLeod, President, KARMA, London Mr. Danny Moss, Director of Public Relations Programmer, Manchester Metropolitan University Professor Anne van deer Maiden, University of Utrecht, Installment Mr. Charles van deer Straiten Wallet, General Manager, Nonpublic, Brussels, PARA Past President Valuable assistance to the production of the Gold paper was given by the University of South Alabama, especially by masters degree student Ms Tiffany Landaus. A special word of thanks to Mr. Lars-Ole Larsson, Sweden Post, Stockholm, who initiated this study in PARA in 1992. The support of the Deutsche Bundestag Positioned made the CSS project possible, following the initial initiative of Sweden Post. P Gumbo, Germany, sponsored the printing of the book. The G¶rearrangement, Sweden, supplied the graphics and layout work. Introduction A wise man once said: “He who stands with both feet on the ground, he stands still”.
That statement is well worth contemplating for every public relations professional ? in private companies, institutions, state agencies, consultancies or associations: we must always be prepared to move on, to upgrade our basis competence and improve out professional skills, in order to remain useful contributors to our employers or clients – and to defend our positions in top management. That statement may be valid for several other management functions too, that is quite true. There is, however, a fundamental difference between public relations and most other management specialties: ours is the cross-border unction, requiring broad generalist knowledge as well as deep specialist education and experience. This makes our continuous further education all the more demanding – and interesting. This PARA Gold paper presents some major new challenges to all of us.
The Deutsche Bundestag Positioned (German Mail) experiences many of them the last few years: when the Wall came down; when the postal services of former East and West Germany merged to create one united Positioned despite all cultural and political differences; or when the Deutsche Counterargument (German Customer Satisfaction Barometer) was initiated a few years ago. T us all take quality improvement very seriously, both personally and for our employers or clients: we must take into account that dissatisfied customers may quickly become lost customers as well as dissemination of negative impressions of us. Thus, Customer Satisfaction starts with improved Quality performance on scientifically selected parameters. Qualitative measurement ? however difficult it may be – will gradually supersede quantitative assessment of our results. The new certification systems based on ISO 9000 and similar systems will soon be regarded as minimum requirements, for in-house departments and consultancies alike.
This Gold Paper does not provide all the answers, but we sincerely hope you will find many tips, ideas and thought-provoking suggestions to make you better equipped to meet the demands and challenges of the years ahead Bonn and Stockholm, April 1 994 Cert. Schusses CSS Task Force Chairman G¶ran So¶berg CSS Coordinator An overview of quality and customer satisfaction In public relations Although quality and customer satisfaction have played at centre stage of most business and marketing operations for more than a decade, little has been written about the significant role effective public relations can play in enhancing quality and customer satisfaction.
This Gold paper attempts to change this by trying to answer questions such as, “What should the role of public relations be in these contexts? “, and “How can we tell when public relations efforts have made a significant difference? ” Quality and public Relations The subjects if quality and customer satisfaction as they apply to public relations can be viewed in a variety of different ways. Some will focus on the technical aspect of public relations practice and give high marks for satisfying customers and performing a quality job if work operations have no errors – o misspellings, no typographical errors, no grammatical mistakes and no mechanical breakdowns (with projectors, sound systems, Vicars, movie projectors, and so forth).
Others will gauge quality in public relations on managerial attributes such as the effectiveness of strategic planning, the competence of a programmers research, the usefulness of a campaign’s communication facilitation activities, the impressiveness of the public relations professionals problem solving abilities, and so forth. In the end both technical and managerial aspects play significant roles in the perceived laity and customer satisfaction of the end product of public relations services. However, any examination of quality from a public relations perspective should distinguish between the product produced and the process used to accomplishing the assignment. Indeed, both product and process require quality.
And while product might be the most important, process often plays a major role in producing a quality product. History of the Quality Concept Dry. W. Edwards Deeming and D. Joseph M Curran are known throughout the world as the leading authorities on the process of quality. The work of both of hose men has resulted in worldwide acceptance of a variety of principles that have revolutionized quality and productivity. Although Deeming and Curran are both from the USA they are best known for their work in Japan. Deeming projects have resulted in worldwide practice in the use of statistical technique uses involving a variety of factors pertaining to organizational success.
Curran is noted for a managerial approach, other than a statistical approach, to quality improvement that has provided thousands of organizations with a guide to implementing programmer designed to improve quality’ and customer satisfaction. Since Deeming and Curran introduced the quality concept many other leading authorities have perfected the quality process, including Dry. Cases Foretell of the University of Michigan, the founder of Enjoy, and a co-author of this Gold Paper. Many of these experts have developed formulas and paradigms to enhance quality, most of which are known by acronyms such as TTS, MOB, MOB, TX and the Enjoy QPS. Although human needs for quality and customer satisfaction have existed since the dawn of history, the means of meeting those needs – the process of quality management – have undergone considerable change.
According to Curran, prior to the twentieth century, managing for quality was based on the ancient principles of product inspection by consumers – which is still used some today ? and the “craftsmanship concept” where buyers relied on the reputation and skill of experiences craftsmen. Soon commerce expanded outside village boundaries and technology brought new tools to help merchants measure for quality. In some towns craftsman organized into monopolistic guilds that generally were strict in enforcing product quality. The Industrial Revolution originated in Europe and created the factory system which would outpoured small independent shops and make them obsolete.
Craftsmen became factory workers and mass production inhibited quality. When the Industrial Revolution was exported from Europe to other parts of the world, especially the Americas, most followed the European practice. The twentieth century brought continued growth of goods and services in both volume and complexity that were even more demanding in terms of the quality process. World War II played a significant role in quality throughout the world as industry’ was faced with the burden of producing large quantities f military products at the expense of civilian products such as automobiles, household appliances, etc. This created massive shortages and it took until about 1950 for supply to catch up with demand.
During this time manufacturers gave priority to production over quality, a trend that would continue for at least a decade. Following World War II Japanese industry faced the obstacle of having an international reputation for exporting goods of poor quality. In an attempt to solve this problem, the Japanese sent management teams abroad to study approaches used by foreign companies. They also invited foreign lecturers to visit Japan and conduct training courses for managers. During the sass and sass many Japanese manufacturers greatly increased their share of international markets and Japan become known as the producer of quality products in consumer electronics, automobiles, steel and machine tools.
Organizations in other countries began taking notice Of the obvious effect Japanese concern for quality and customer satisfaction was having throughout the world and began importing these concepts to their own countries. What Does Quality Mean? Saran’s strategies of managing for quality is based upon a trilogy of the managerial process he calls: o Quality planning; o Quality control; and o Quality improvement. He suggests that in the planning process one should: 00000 Determine who the customers are. Determine the needs of the customers. Develop product features that respond to customers needs. Develop processes that are able to product those product features. Transfer the resulting plans to the operating forces.
Saran’s Quality Control state consists of steps that evaluate actual quality performance, compare actual performance to quality goals, and then act on the differences. In the Quality Improvement category several stages are used s a means of raising quality performance to unprecedented levels. Deeming work grew out of his philosophy that “quality is everybody job, but quality must be led by management. ” Throughout business and industry the word “quality’ has a variety of meanings that include: o The degree to which a specific product satisfies the want of a specific customer. O The degree to which a class of product possesses potential satisfactions. The degree of which a specific product conforms to a design or specification o The degree to which a specific product is preferred over competing equivalent products. O A laity characteristic (e. G. Appearance, performance, dependability, reliability, etc) o A vague expression of general excellence without being specific enough to be classified. (Such use of the word “quality” often leads to confusion). O The name of a function or responsibility in industry, related to achievement of quality of product. O The name of a specific department in an organization. O A moral trait or characteristic. How Quality Applies to Communications The practice of public relations is involved with communication ? the social interaction of information.
Although there are many definitions for public elation’s the most universal, international one was agreed upon at the First World Assembly of Public Relations in 1978 at Mexico City. It says: Public relations practice is the art and social science of analyzing trends, predicting their consequences, counseling organizational leaders, and implementing planned programmer of action which will serve both the organization’s and the public interest Regardless Of definition public relations is viewed as a management function that conducts research to identify public attitudes, then plans and executes communications programmer designed to earn public understanding and acceptance.
Quality and customer satisfaction are as crucial to success in public relations as they are in any other aspect of business and commerce. As Fraser Steel, former senior vice president of public relations for The Chase Manhattan Bank has pointed out, the underlying concept in all definitions of public relations is this unstated word – performance. And, as Steel says, “without proper performance, good public relations is impossible. ” In managing the entire process of communication for an organization, quality becomes a communicative concept – shaped by intention, expertise, critical creativity of initiators and recognized by information receivers. Quality in this sense has many complementary connotations.
What does one mean when saying a particular public relations campaign is of high quality? Is it excellent? Unique? Characteristic or answering to high degree of excellence? What causes the complexity of the concept of quality in public relations? Quality does not belong to any single element in the communications process. All elements belong to each other like parts of the orange. In this way, quality measurement in public relations becomes relate to: 00 0 0 00 0 The intention of the sender; The context of the message The context of the situation; The choice of media; The strategic seizure of target groups The effects of feedback; and The evaluation of activities and rest Its.
Five Modalities of Quality in Public Relations Professor Anne van deer Maiden of The Netherlands, one of the most noted academic experts on public relations, says to describe the communicative- comprehensive approach effectively one finds five different “modalities of quality’: The intended quality: What public relations practitioners intend to reach, the criteria for their handling, the standards they want to use for judging their own work and the responsibility they take for the results of their work. This is basic for a “two-way symmetric” intention. The attributed quality: The quality that clients and customers attribute to public relations activities on the basis of experience and the quality they tell others about. The proved or established quality: Also known as the factual quality, which is he quality “beyond further discussion”, accepted by all parties in the communications process, expressed in general terms. The recognized quality: Quality is not always recognized as such by the receiver, client or customer. Customers use heir own criteria which might be the complete opposites of the senders criteria!
The experienced quality: This the quality both sender and receiver experience through communication as reliable, helpful, problem-solving, etc. It is the quality 0 the ‘turned-together” relation, a positive feeling of a workable consensus on the basis of mutual respect. What makes quality measurement in public relations relevant and interesting? Quality measurement is only valuable and reliable when all modalities in the communication process are regarded in an integrated way. Take this example: it is meaningless when people state: this is quality, simply cause they are convinced that this is the truth. Satisfaction as a Communication-Related Term Customer satisfaction presents another example of complexity in concepts when applied to public relations.