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With its celebrated success and proven results, the Six Sigmaquality improvement methodology has expanded from its origins inthe engineering industry to transform a wide variety of businesses,along the way developing a particular focus on customer service andsatisfaction. While this evolution may seem to imply a shift ofattention to the "ground floor" business-client interface, SixSigma expert D. H. Stamatis draws his readers to the very peak ofthe organizational chart, explaining how executives and leadersmake or break Six Sigma success with their every action anddecision. Six Sigma for Financial Professionals is a comprehensivequality improvement guide for the financial industry, explainingthe practice of Six Sigma methodology from top to bottom.

Conceiving a vision without creating the plans and effort toachieve it results in "fantasy," the author writes, while advancingplans and effort without an overriding vision produces "drudgery."Only by articulating vision, plans, and effort together can aleader realize "success." Stamatis explains how executives caneffectively shift paradigms within their organizations and empowertheir employees with the authority and motivation to achieve therequired goal. He identifies six items that a leader must alwayskeep in mind:

  • Customer orientation
  • Quality culture
  • Accountability
  • Products and services
  • Suppliers
  • Training

These are the critical arenas where an executive’s visionmust transform into policy and practice. Stamatis then moves on toanalyze Six Sigma principles in every aspect of a financial firm.Specific chapters address the fundamentals of Six Sigma, the DMAICmodel, design, project management, statistics, roles andresponsibilities, transactional business, and implementationstrategy. In each chapter, Stamatis includes case studies thatprovide leadership road maps and other practical blueprints basedon actual business experiences.

The author concludes with a heavy emphasis on training, both innuts-and-bolts Six Sigma implementation and in cultivating futureleaders as part of a vital growth strategy for any firm. Nobusiness can afford to ignore the extraordinary promise andpotential of quality improvement. Six Sigma for FinancialProfessionals will prove a powerful guide for CEOs, CFOs, and allcorporate leaders.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A clearly written book on the benefits of Six Sigma, this is an ideal book for those using or advancing this methodology.” (Accounting Technician, June 2004)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471459514
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 8/22/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.33 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Meet the Author

D. H. STAMATIS, PhD, is President of Contemporary Consultants, where he is responsible for consulting services in the area of quality assurance, statistics, Six Sigma, project management, and organizational development. He is also the author of, among other books, Total Quality Service, The Nuts and Bolts of Reengineering, and Advanced Quality Planning.

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Read an Excerpt

Six Sigma for Financial Professionals

By D. H. Stamatis

John Wiley & Sons

Copyright © 2003

D. H. Stamatis
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-471-45951-8

Chapter One

Customer Service
and Satisfaction

* * *

We must cultivate our garden.

* * *

When we talk about customer service and/or satisfaction, we talk about creativity.
Creativity allows us to handle or diffuse problems at hand or later on
in the process of conducting the everyday business. We talk about how, or
rather what, does the organization have to do to gain not only the sale but
also the loyalty of the customer. We want to know the payoff of the transaction
both in the short and long term. We want to know what our customers want.
We want to know if our customers are satisfied. Satisfaction,
of course, means that what we delivered to a customer met the customer's
approval. We want to know if customers are delighted and willing to come
back, and so on. Fleiss and Feldman present examples of that delightfulness
in their writings. Fleiss has written about Ben and Jerry's ice cream and
Feldman has discussed excellence in a cab ride.

As important asdelightfulness is, some of us minimize it, or even totally
disregard it. At this point, we fail. Some of the issues that will guarantee failure
in sales, satisfaction, and loyalty are:

Employees must adhere to a rigid chain of command

Employees are closely supervised

Conflict-in whatever form-is not allowed

Rewards are based on carrot-and-stick principles

Wrong objectives are measured

However, we increase our chance of success if we allow employees to take
personal responsibility for their actions in the areas of communication,
performance, and customer satisfaction. How can we sensitize our employees
to these issues? First, we must identify how we define the customer.
Second, we must understand customer expectation levels concerning quality.
Third, we must understand the strategy for customer service quality,
and fourth, we must understand the measurement and feedback cycles of
customer satisfaction.

The customer is the person or unit receiving the output of a process on
the system. In fact, it is worth emphasizing that a customer can be the
immediate, intermediate, or ultimate customer. Also, a customer may be a
person or persons, or a process or processes.

Customer satisfaction, however, is when the customer is satisfied with a
product/service that meets the customer's needs, wants, and expectations.
To further understand customer satisfaction, we must take a deeper look
at the levels of specific satisfaction. We must also recognize that there are
levels of customer satisfaction that, in a sense, define the basic ingredients
of quality. There are at least three levels of customer expectations about

Level 1. Expectations are very simple and take the form of
assumptions, must have, or take it for granted. For example, I expect
the airline to be able to take off, fly to my destination, and land
safely. I expect to get the correct blood for my blood transfusion.
And I expect the bank to deposit my money to my account
and to keep a correct tally for me.

Level 2. Expectations are a step higher than that of level 1 and
they require some form of satisfaction through meeting the
requirements and/or specifications. For example, I expect to be
treated courteously by all airline personnel. I went to the hospital
expecting to have my hernia repaired, to be in some pain
after it was done, to be out on the same day, and to receive a correct
bill. And I went to the bank expecting the bank teller to be
friendly, informative, and helpful with my transactions.

Level 3. Expectations are much higher than for levels 1 and 2.
Level 3 requires some kind of delightfulness or a service that is so
good that it attracts me to it. For example, an airline gives passengers
traveling coach class the same superior food service that
other airlines provide only for first-class passengers. In fact, I
once took a flight where the flight attendants actually baked
cookies for us right there on the plane. When I went to the hospital,
I expected staff to treat me with respect and they carefully
explained things to me. But I was surprised when they called
me at home the next day to find out how I was doing. And at my
house closing, the bank officer, representing the bank holding
my mortgage, not only treated me with respect and answered all
my questions about my new mortgage, but just before we shook
hands to close the deal, he gave me a housewarming gift.

The strategy issue is also a very important element of customer satisfaction,
primarily because it sets the tone for the appropriate training,
behavior, and delivery of the specific service. There are four items that
the strategy for service quality ought to address:

1. Customer service attributes. The delivery of the service must be timely,
accurate, with concern, and with courtesy. One may ask why are these
elements important? The answer is that all services are intangible and
are a function of perception. As such, they depend on interpretation.
In addition and perhaps more importantly, service by definition is perishable
and if left unattended, it can spoil on the organization.

The acronym COMFORT can be used to signify the importance of
service. COMFORT is caring, observant, mindful, friendly, obliging,
responsible, and tactful. These characteristics are the most basic attributes
of customer service and without them, there cannot be a true service
of any kind. They all depend on interpersonal skills, communication,
empowerment, knowledge, sensitivity, understanding, and some
kind of external behavior.

For example, caring will show that, indeed, you are interested in what
the customer will have to say. You may spend time with a customer to
find out the customer's real needs, wants, and expectations. It is not
unusual to tell a customer that you may not be able to help, even at the
expense of losing the sale. Furthermore, you may go as far as suggesting
the services of someone else or some other company.

You must be observant. In most cases when dealing with service-related
items, observations may contribute more to satisfying the customer
than direct communication. Pay attention to body language and mannerisms
and, if necessary, listen between the lines. Always try to be a step
ahead of the customer. Anticipate the customer's action. Actively listen
for what the customer is communicating, but also-and, perhaps, more
importantly-listen for what the customer is not communicating.

You must be mindful. Remember that you and your organization exist
to satisfy the customer. Without the customer's need, you do not have a
job and the organization does not have a service to provide. The
customer has a choice and, as such, if you or the organization does not
recognize the urgency, sensitivity, uniqueness, expectations, and influence
that the customer has, you will not be successful in satisfying the

You must be friendly. Friendliness does not mean being a pest. Offer
guidance and information, and let the customer know you are there to
help. If necessary, provide feedback to to assist the customer in making
a decision. If you do provide feedback, be truthful. For example, in a
retail clothing store, someone walks into your store, walks around, picks
up some clothing, and tries it on. As a salesperson, you may advise the
customer about fit and answer any questions that the customer may

You must be obliging. Patience is the key word to customer satisfaction.
Sometimes customers do not know what they want. They are making
up their minds as they go along. You are serving as the guinea pig
for their decision. As such, accommodating them may make the difference
between a satisfied and an unsatisfied customer, or the difference
between a sale and a walkout. When obliging the customer, do not hesitate
to educate the customer as well.

You must be responsible. You are the expert. The customer is looking
to you to provide the appropriate information in a clear, concise, and
easy-to-understand manner. Don't try to make the sale at all costs. This
may backfire. What you are trying to accomplish is to develop a relationship
where your expertise can indeed help the customer.

You must be tactful. In any service organization, and in any service
delivery, there are going to be problems between you and the customer.
Do not panic. Tactfulness is the process by which the conflict may be
resolved. Your focus is to satisfy the customer and, as such, you should
try to identify the problem, analyze it, and then resolve it in the most
expedient way.

Being tactful does not mean that you have to give in to the customer
all the time. What it does mean is that you act in a composed, professional
manner and communicate to the customer in a way that is not
threatening or demeaning. Being tactful means you are willing to listen
and exchange information with the intention of resolving the conflict.
It means you have a way of presenting the facts and information in a
nice and nonintimidating way. It means listening patiently, thinking
before speaking, and listening to what the customer says without

Notice that cost is not an attribute that will make or break service
and/or satisfaction. In service especially, cost is equated with value.
That is not to suggest that high cost is prerequisite to good service or
vice versa. We simply suggest that one must continue to generate more
value for the customer but not give away the house. It is indeed a very
delicate balance.

2. Approach for service quality improvement. The basic question one must be
able to answer is why bother with service quality? The answer is in a three-prong
approach. The first is cost, the second is time to implement the
program, and the third is the customer service impact. Together, they
present a nucleus for understanding and implementing the system that
is responsive to both customers and organization for optimum satisfaction.
For example, the Japanese are working on the notion of sensuous
cars. Basically, the car itself gives you a kind of delight and surprise just
opening the door, hearing the sound, pressing the accelerator.
Everything is being thought through now, almost emotionally.

3. Develop feedback systems for customer service quality. The feedback system
one chooses will make or break the organization. Make sure not to mix
the focus of customer satisfaction and marketing. They are not the
same. The focus of customer service and satisfaction is to build loyalty,
and the focus of marketing is to meet the needs of the customer profitably.
Another way of saying it is that marketing's function is to generate
customer value profitably, whereas the purpose of customer service
and satisfaction is to generate repeatability, recognition, and overall satisfaction
of the transaction.

The concern here is to make sure that a goal exists (a reporting system
for measurement is appropriate and useful for the particular service)
and to reach the reward of service quality. The question then
becomes how to develop a system that is responsive to the customer's
needs, wants, and expectations. To answer these concerns, look to the
customer for answers. The value of the information must be focused in
at least the following areas:

To know what customers are thinking about you, your service, and
your competitors

To measure and improve your performance

To turn your strongest areas into market differentiators

To turn weaknesses into developmental opportunities-before someone
else does

To develop internal communications tools to let everyone know how
they are doing

To demonstrate your commitment to quality and your customers

In essence your measurement for the feedback must be of two distinct

1. Customer satisfaction, which is dependent upon the transaction

2. Service quality, which is dependent upon the actual relationship

4. Implementation. Perhaps the most important strategy is that of implementation.
As part of the implementation process, management must
define the scope of the service quality as well as the level of customer
service as part of the organization's policy. Furthermore, they must also
define the plan of implementation. The plan should include the time
schedule, task assignment, and reporting cycle.


Classical tools and methodologies to identify and focus on customer satisfaction

Kano model

Quality function deployment


Systems approach

Focus groups

Survey instruments


Internal auditing

Perhaps one of the most difficult issues in nonmanufacturing organizations
in identifying customer concerns is not so much what the customer
needs, wants, and expects, but rather understanding what the organization's
core processes and enabling functions are and how they work together to
deliver what the customer needs, wants, and expects. To appreciate the six
sigma methodology in any organization and to receive the most out of the
methodology, the main processes and the enabling functions should be
identified and simplified to subprocesses. The cascading of the simplification
should continue until all the processes have been identified and their
own unique contribution to the organization is understood.

Especially in transactional processes, the detailed core processes mapping
is the beginning and the basis for performance measurements and
improvement. Therefore, the mapping step should be accurate and present
all the organization's activities.


Excerpted from Six Sigma for Financial Professionals
by D. H. Stamatis
Copyright © 2003 by D. H. Stamatis.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents




Chapter 1: Customer Service and Satisfaction.

Typical Tools and Methodologies.


Selected Bibliography.

Chapter 2: Overview of Six Sigma.

Q and A.


Selected Bibliography.

Chapter 3: DMAIC Model.






Selected Bibliography.

Chapter 4: Design for Six Sigma.





Special Note.


Selected Bibliography.

Chapter 5: Project Management.

Project Management for Black Belts.

Team Management.

Change Management.


Strategies for Reviewing and/or Presenting Projects.

Selected Bibliography.

Chapter 6: Six Sigma and Statistics.

Deductive and Inductive Statistics.

Stages of a Sample Study.


Statistical Tools Used in the Six Sigma Methodology.


Selected Bibliography.

Chapter 7: Roles and Responsibilities.

Roles and Responsibilities in a Typical Six Sigma.

The DMAIC Model.

Generic Areas for Possible Project Selection.

Areas for Possible Project Selection in the Financial World.

DCOV Model.

Selected Bibliography.

Chapter 8: Six Sigma and Transactional Business: ServiceIndustries.

Why Six Sigma in Transactional Business?

The DCOV Model.

Why DFSS in Transactional Business?

Typical Areas Where Six Sigma May Be Beneficial in the ServiceIndustry.

Project Priority Hierarchy.

Deployment of Six Sigma in Transactional Business: ServiceIndustries.


Selected Bibliography.

Chapter 9: Implementation Strategy, Training, andCertification.

Six Sigma DMAIC Implementation Strategy.

DCOV Implementation Strategy.


Typical Cost.



Selected Bibliography.

Appendix A: Common Abbreviations in Six Sigma.

Appendix B: Core Competencies of Six SigmaMethodology.


Selected Bibliography.


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