Definitions - Customer Focus - Minnesota Dept. of Health

Definitions - Customer Focus - QI


A customer is the direct recipient of the product or service provided. Customers can be internal or external, and individuals or entities. Examples: another governmental agency, organizations applying for grants, agencies or businesses that are regulated or monitored by the government agency, perhaps other staff within the agency itself.

Customer Focus

Customer focus addresses how an organization listens to the voice of its customers, builds customer relationships, determines their satisfaction, and uses customer information to improve and identify opportunities for innovation or improvement.

Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction depends on the features of the service offered and the quality of the service interaction. Service-quality literature identifies ten determinants that drive customer satisfaction, which are mapped to five broad dimensions:

  1. Serving Well: Execution of the service, delivering the service as promised
    1. Reliability, including timeliness and accuracy
  2. Conveying Courtesy and Respect: Interaction between the agency and the customer
    1. Responsiveness, including helpfulness
    2. Courtesy
    3. Communication
  3. Earning Trust: Inspiring trust and confidence among stakeholders and the general public
    1. Competence, including expertise
    2. Credibility
    3. Understanding the customer
    4. Security
  4. Inviting In: Availability of a service and the ease with which it can be obtained
    1. Access, including available information
    2. Tangibles
  5. Program Effectiveness: Customers' perceptions of the value received from the service
    1. Determinants vary by program

Customer Service

Customer service is defined as a series of activities designed to enhance the level of customer satisfaction--that is, the feeling that a product or service has met the customer expectations (Source: Turban & Efraim, 2002).

Performance Measure

Data that determines progress toward a specific program, service, product, or process target. Performance measures indicate how much, how well, and at what level products and services are provided to customers. Measures may be expressed in a number, percent, or other standard unit.


A stakeholder is a person, group or organization that has an interest or concern in the product or service provided, but does not necessarily use the product or service provided. A stakeholder can influence and/or be influenced by the product or service, and often they indirectly benefit from the product or service.

Voice of the Customer

Voice of the customer (VOC) is the term used to describe the spoken and unspoken needs and requirements of the customer.