The dynamic nature of changes in the environment, particularly as they affect the tastes and aspirations of consumers, underscore the need to respond effectively to challenges posed by the changes. On the account of deregulation of our economy, competition has become a major challenge which chief executives must meet effectively in order to remain in business. Most managers agree that if an organisation is to be successful, it must change continually in response to significant development, such as customer needs, technological breakthroughs and government regulations (Eke, 2001:44).


Globalization of market and operations forces organisations to think over their quality problems and in turn their overall organisational competitiveness. In order to be successful in this global market, organisations should dedicate themselves to improving productivity and quality in a timely and collaborative manner (Dobyns and Crawford, 1994:102).


Almaraz (1994:141) indicates that productivity and quality are integral components of organisational strategies. Designing and developing suitable strategies, techniques, tools and models for improving productivity and quality have become an essential function of researchers and practitioners in a networked global economy. To this end, organisations have undergone numerous changes over the years in terms of implementing new operational strategies, methods and technologies.


In recent times, the concept of customer services has risen to the centre stage of modern business. As a result of this development, the management vocabulary is now replete with all kinds of technologies which are used to describe one and the same thing, customer service. Among these terminologies are customer satisfaction, customer care, customer relations, etc. (Nwosu, 1996:36).


To achieve world class customer service, Total Quality Management (TQM) techniques, supported by management commitment and good organisation will provide objective means of improving quality and hence the overall organisational competitiveness (Christopher, 1994:49).


Total quality management is among the new techniques which modern organisations now employ with very good result to secure and keep their customers permanently satisfied. It is therefore a way of managing to improve the effectiveness, efficiency, flexibility and competitiveness of a business as a whole (Christopher, 1994:23).

Benson and Savaph (1991:107) assert that TQM involves the whole organisation, getting organized in every department, in every activity with every single person at every level. This involves putting in place, process and system which will ensure that every aspect of its activity is aligned to satisfying customer needs and the organisation’s objectives. Thus for an organisation to be fully effective, every single part of it must work properly together because every person and every activity affect and in turn is affected by others.


Dobyns and Crawford (1994:94) expatiate further that TQM involves deep understanding of three basic components, namely; the system, the process and the philosophy from which the organisation is extracted.


The process here approximates to the necessary economic transformation from an underdeveloped economy to a modern industrial state. It also involves the uplifting of the basic quality of life of its people through modern processes of production. It involves still, the harnessing of the human and material resources for the goal of fitting into the system above.


The third component of TQM, the philosophy involves the identification of goals which have been partially addressed under the process as well as the means of attaining the goals.

Thus, TQM involves any attempt to improve quality at every phase of an organisation’s work whether it is on corporate plan initiation, implementation, personnel selection or customer satisfaction. Therefore, the ability to meet customer requirement is vital not only between two separate organisations but also within the same organisation.


Ryan (1998:68) argues that quality has to be managed, it will not just happen. Clearly it must involve everyone in the process and be applied throughout an organisation. Failure to meet the requirements in any part of the quality chains has a way of multiplying, as failure in one part of the system creates problems elsewhere leading to a cycle of yet more failures and more problems. The price of quality is the continued examination of the requirements and the ability to meet them. This will lead to a continuous improvement.