CTQ Trees: Turning Customer Needs into Actions

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  • 0:05 Critical-to-Quality…
  • 0:54 Gathering Customer Data
  • 1:22 Identifying Measurable Goals
  • 1:47 CTQ Tree Example
  • 3:29 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Amber Dixon

Amber works with graduate students enrolled in a virtual program and has a Master's of Social Work degree.

This lesson will define and explain how critical-to-quality (CTQ) trees can help change customer needs and expectation into measurable standards for products and/or services.

Critical-to-Quality Trees Defined

We all have heard the phrase, 'the customer is always right.' If customers are not pleased with the product or service, then a business needs to figure out why, when, and where customers are having problems.

A critical-to-quality (CTQ) tree is a mapping process that helps to create a diagram of characteristics of a service or product with a way to measure quality. It helps in recognizing what needs to be improved with a product or service to better meet the customers' expectations.

CTQ trees must identify, from a customer's perspective, an unmet need, complaint, or problem. When developing a CTQ tree, the question to have in mind is what your product or service must provide for customers to be happy.

Gathering Customer Data

Customer input is usually solicited during the beginning steps of developing a CTQ tree in order to best identify specific goals for improvement. This can be done by meeting or corresponding with customers about what is at the root of their concerns. You want to focus on the essential and critical needs of your customers, such as improving long wait times or making staff more available to answer questions.

Identifying Measurable Goals

Another step to creating a CTQ tree is to identify a standard or goal to achieve that can be measured to ensure the goal is met. This step allows you to drill-down from a general goal of improving customer services to a specific and measurable goal, such as reducing wait times to no more than three minutes. Finally, a way to track that the goal is met must be developed.

CTQ Tree Example

Collaborating with managers, team members and customers is an important component when developing CTQ trees. Let's look at an example.

Bonnie is a manager at a bank. She receives several complaints over a two-week period from customers reporting long wait times on the phone and inconsistent information about the process to add an authorized user to an account. Bonnie sets out to complete a CTQ tree with her management team.

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