Over the last few years, there has been tremendous growth in the diversity of products and services offered to customers across all industries. With this increased choice of products and services, the bargaining power of buyers is rising. The products and services offered by the different companies do not vary much, regardless of which companies are selling them. Customers are in the position where they can choose from an array of products and services from more than one company. This shift of power from company to customer forces companies to focus on customer retention and loyalty through improved customer experience. The dissertation introduces a framework for enhancing customer experience through improved business processes. The Enhanced Customer Experience Framework (ECEF) is developed by integrating various well known techniques into one comprehensive framework. As long as fifty years ago, researchers found it neccesary to design techniques that can assist companies in taking care of frustrated and unsatisfied customers. Many of these techniques had merit, and partly succeeded in increasing customer satisfaction. One of these techniques was developed in 1966 by Dr Yoji Akao, with the goal of integrating the voice of the customer into the technical design of products and services. Today this tool is known as Quality Function Deployment (QFD). QFD is used extensively in the ECEF to determine the relationship beween business processes and customer requirements, and to prioritise business processes from a customer perspective. Another technique or methodology is Business Process Reengineering (BPR), developed in 1990. The methodology of BPR – together with the steps associated with benchmarking –provides a useful process that may be followed when reengineering business processes to fit customer needs. The last technique that is integrated into the ECEF is simulation modelling, which can be used to test the impact of process improvements on customer experience. The ECEF consists of seven stages, with sequential activities taking place in every stage. The Framework developed in this dissertation is partially validated against empirical data obtained from the telecommunications industry. In South Africa the telecommunications industry is faced with the threat of new entrants as one of the largest competitive forces. In 2001 a third Telecommunications Company was introduced in South Africa and the market share that always belonged to only two companies was redistributed between three companies. For all three companies to be competitive, they had to invest in delivering quality service to customers. The ECEF may assist managers in enhancing the quality of their service delivery. By designing business processes to deliver products and services according to the needs of the customer, companies will be able to enjoy the strategic competitive advantage of customer loyalty.
Dissertation (MEng)--University of Pretoria, 2010.