What is a CTQ tree?

A CTQ tree finds a problem, discovers what is causing the problem, and then highlights ways to fix the problem to improve customer satisfaction.

A critical quality tree (CTQ) is a tree diagram used by companies to see a product through the eyes of the customer. The tree finds a problem, or something to be improved, in the product or service, discovers what is causing the problem, and then highlights one or more ways to fix the problem to improve customer satisfaction. The data used to build a CTQ tree comes from research or consistent complaints about a particular product or feature. By using a CTQ tree, companies can improve satisfaction and drive sales.

A CTQ tree is used to help a company see the problems customers are having with a product. This information is usually obtained from surveys or consistent complaints or requests from customers who show a high interest or disinterest in a feature or product as a whole. As soon as a problem is found, the CTQ tree is started.

The first part of the CTQ tree is a must. For example, if a product is considered too heavy, it would be necessary to decrease its weight. If there is a specific reason why the weight needs to be reduced – for example, if the product’s customers are elderly and have difficulty lifting or using the item – then that information would also be added to this first section.

Next in the CTQ tree is the reason, or driver, for switching the product. For example, convenience would be listed in this section. Any issues when changing the product, such as if the product is a computer and making it lighter would decrease its potency, are also highlighted in this area. This section helps the company see the reasons for the problem, along with any potential issues with the product exchange.

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The last section of a CTQ tree is how to solve the problem. Changing product terms, removing parts, or using lighter materials would be highlighted here. For each driver, there must be a resolution to help the product and improve customer satisfaction.

While the tree focuses on current customers and their concerns, another reason to use a CTQ tree is to drive sales with new customers. This is done on two fronts. When a company improves a product, new customers are more likely to buy the product. Another reason is that a company that is willing to listen to its customers is generally more trusting than a company that ignores customer needs and complaints.

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