Given the interest of blog readers on the ICT model based on a past post, it’s important to emphasize the value of feedback to the inputs and process part of the ICT model. To recall the ICT (or Information Communication Technology) model is depicted as input—> process—> output with a feedback loop to input from the quality of the output as depicted in the ICT diagram above. The feedback is really important.
To understand the importance of the quality of inputs think of the old saying “garbage in – garbage out” with respect to data and computers. It is quite amazing how applicable the concept is to what organizations do. Organizations exist as processors when you put your ICT glasses on. Now if you are a food processing factory then you can immediately understand the importance of well defined minimum quality of ingredients.The measurement of quality parameters is pretty precise and forms the “feedback” at this point. And this same well defined “quality” of inputs applies to all kinds of services including qualifications and training of personnel- delivering the service. In the world of services marketing the organizations structured ways of delivering a uniform”service” experience to the customer involves very structured training programs for employees. For example, the McDonald store employee- worldwide illustrates the success of getting human inputs to a predictable quality level. The word predictable is important because the intent is not to be “the best” or “the fastest” but merely to assure that the customer gets the exact same experience-wherever. And if you ask HR managers trying to get this done – you’ll know how challenging this is.You really don’t want negative customer feedback so the feedback and remedial action must happen during training.
When you think of the next link of the ICT chain i.e. process- things are much more reliable in manufacturing situations. Because production equipment comes with manufacturers helping the factory get started. So if inputs are deficient these suppliers can be hugely helpful in getting things started and stabilized. As with inputs, processes need records and the ability to track back and investigate a fault that is seen in the output.Because the output is being measured for quality on a random basis in manufacturing environments and forms the fairly unambiguous feedback.
Things are more complicated in service settings. The customer experience is difficult to capture in real time. That is one reason you find that restaurant waiters/managers tend to come by tables and ask if everything is OK. Unless there is a real problem most customers don’t speak up and measures such as taking a survey on the Internet about the experience is what some restaurant chains are doing today.
The feedback is thus the critical piece and feedback that goes back from output to process or inputs or from process to input is a great way to improve the whole input—>process—->output chain. So do look for feedback on all parts of your process and then try to have a genuine vigorous process to action the feedback.