Posts Tagged ‘customer satisfaction’

Congratulations! You are now in charge of creating an ISO 9001 system – now what?

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Quite often, the G3 staff is asked to recommend a plan of action for people who find themselves in the position of “being volunteered” to put together an ISO 9001 (or any other ISO 9001-based standard) system for their company. Unfortunately, for employees that have little to no experience with quality standards, this can be an overwhelming task. We recommend the following steps:

Step 1 – Before you can plan what to do, you and the management team need to know what is required. Start with an overview training session on the standard for yourself followed by a session for top management. Strongly emphasize that the standard is process based and highlight the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) model. All parties involved in the implementation must realize that the standard has a couple of key principles that are referenced all throughout the standard – customer satisfaction and continual improvement. The ultimate goal is to make all customers happy, but the method of getting to that goal is by the continual improvement of your processes. This is where top management needs to make a little paradigm shift – customer satisfaction means more than a reduction in phone calls from the customer yelling about something that wasn’t just right. It certainly means more than assuming a customer is happy if they continue to give orders for more products and services. Remember, customers can multi-task by giving your organization a new purchase order while giving a new supplier the thumbs up for the next order. By the time some realize the customer isn’t happy, it can be too late.

This is where continual improvement comes into play. By knowing what your customers think of the level of service and value they receive from your organization, your company can initiate the proper continual improvement objectives that can reduce or eliminate the problems and issues that can make their way to the customer.

This is why you need to get all of top management involved. Everyone must get a clear view of the big picture. Having a quality management system (QMS) based on the appropriate ISO standard should become the implementation of a quality philosophy and roadmap for doing things right. Stress that it is a quality management system by which the company will operate and oh, by the way, it just happens to comply with the ISO standard. After that, don’t mention the letters “ISO” – just QMS. Companies that implement systems based on the need to meet ISO requirements often find that employees put an emphasis on doing things just to meet the standard as opposed to improving the process.

Additional steps will be discussed in future posts. Visit for more info.

When analyzing data, be sure to connect the dots to continual improvement

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

As in many ISO standards that are based on ISO 9001, there is the requirement to analyze data that has been collected as part of the quality system. Such standards as ISO/TS 16949, AS9100, and others state this quite clearly in clause 8.4 Analysis of Data. Not only should information and metrics be looked at for such items as customer satisfaction, product conformity, process trends and suppliers, but there should be some sort of evidence as to how analysis of these items drive continual improvement.

As consultants and auditors, we occasionally run into situations where a company can show us literally walls of hanging data including SPC charts, Pareto diagrams, pie charts, bar graphs and other like items. We have seen entire “war rooms” devoted to this type of information, yet when asked of management to explain how all of this colorful wallpaper drives continual improvement, the answer sometimes becomes a deer-in-the-headlights stare and struggle for an answer. A word of consulting advice – don’t let this happen to you!

Make sure the analysis of data can be tied to continual improvement initiatives, corrective and preventive actions and other methods of becoming a better organization.

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Customer Satisfaction – your reality vs. customer perception

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

One of the most important requirements of ISO 9001 is located in clause 8.2 of the standard. It asks an organization to measure the perception of how your company is viewed by customers. This requirement goes far beyond proving that you deliver perfect product or service 100% of the time, even though you may have hard data that supports the statement. What you may not be measuring about perception could turn out to be the reason why your customer may form a relationship with a competitor and possibly move your company out of the picture completely.

Customer satisfaction involves not only quality and delivery, but also those factors that can have a dramatic impact on how much your customer wants to deal with your company. When analyzing customer perception, information should be collected on items such as question or problem resolution turnaround time, response time to RFQs, ease of contacting the right person, etc… These items should not be viewed as just “warm fuzzies” of customer relations, but rather as areas that can cement relationships with customers and become more valuable than just discount pricing.

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