Critical to quality (CTQ) refers to a product or process’ key measurable traits determining customer satisfaction. In other words, CTQ is an offering’s key attributes that influence a customer’s buying decisions. These are factors that help understand the seller what drives or leads to quality in the customers’ eyes. Any alterations to these can cause buyer discontent and/or loss of business.
For example, on-time pizza delivery, the bread’s freshness and taste, etc. are a pizza seller’s CTQ points. If the pizza comes in late, or if it’s not as juicy and spicy as desired, the customer may become unhappy.
Determining CTQs before designing or making a product is important. The exercise helps break down broader customer requirements into detailed or precise specifications. If in doubt, speaking directly to the customers would help ascertain a product or service’s quality-driving attributes. When identifying requirements, it’s important to take the bottom-up approach, or identify the customers’ basic requirements and move up from there.
Open and seamless dialogue between the firm and customers is essential to accurately determine CTQs. The open discussion also means the company can confirm CTQs with the buyer before starting work.
Monitoring and Upgrading
After identifying the parameters, the seller cannot relax and must have tools in place to monitor and improve upon the requirements whenever the need arises, since the requirements of buyers change or keep evolving. After all, determining CTQ is not just about meeting customer requirements but also exceeding them and beating the competition.