Posts Tagged ‘service’

Customer satisfaction – the art of making the customer feel like they matter!

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Past the half way point in our top ten countdown of quality system nightmares -

Reason #5 – Customer satisfaction data is not analyzed, or even collected!

Whenever the subject of customer satisfaction comes up in quality system implementation, there is never a neutral or apathetic response from top management. Some are gung-ho on getting data and finding out where they stand, and others will wince in pain knowing that the big blowout last week with that top account will end up as a documented exercise in finger pointing. Everyone will have their personal take on gathering data, including just who should be solicited for feedback and who will analyze it.

”Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong.”
- Donald Porter V.P., British Airways

Often, those management team members that have direct responsibility for on-time delivery and zero defects may think customer satisfaction data is not necessary, especially when there has been a recent positive trend in both of those metrics. If the customer is getting defect free product and on-time delivery, what could possible be wrong? Why would anyone complain?

If you read ISO 9001 clause 8.2.1 – Customer Satisfaction, it states “…the organization shall monitor information relating to customer perception as to whether the organization has met customer requirements.” This can mean a lot more than good product on time. Your customer may have many issues regarding such matters as communication, response time to questions or concerns, or other service related items.

One of the most comical remarks we’ve heard from the ranks of top management is that “We don’t want to ask anyone now – we just sent out a lot of bad orders that are coming back!”

Waiting for customers to be in a really good mood should not be a part of information gathering criteria. How the company ranks in customer satisfaction is not the important thing. What a company is doing in response to customer satisfaction is the primary concern.

In fact, great customer relation-building opportunities await if customer satisfaction data is collected during times of product crises. Demonstrating that customer opinion matters, whether good or bad, and then actually acting on that information through such methods as corrective action, increased contact or even new process implementation will convey the message that no matter how negative a customer experience was, the customer is supreme!

For some creative ideas in measuring customer satisfaction, contact G3 Solutions today!

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 g3iso.com for more info.

Attention all automotive parts suppliers! Don’t miss the new revision to ISO/TS 16949

Friday, July 10th, 2009

ISO/TS 16949:2009, Quality management systems – Particular requirements for the application of ISO 9001:2008 for automotive production and relevant service part organizations, replaces the 2002 edition which has been used by the major automotive manufacturers to provide a baseline quality system for over 35,000 organizations worldwide that produce and supply parts for the automotive industry.

The 2009 edition was initiated to ensure its compatibility with the requirements of ISO 9001:2008, Quality management systems – Requirements. There are no essential changes to the technical requirements. The modifications are mainly clarifications of certain requirements and do not add any additional requirements.

According to the IOS, up to the end of December 2008, at least 39,300 ISO/TS 16949:2002 certificates had been issued in 81 countries and economies. This represents a 12 % increase over 2007.

The IATF has set a transition period of 120 days from date of publication of the new edition – 15 June – for organizations to comply with the standard’s requirements. The details of the plan are given in a communiqué by the IATF Oversight Certification Body.

ISO/TS 16949:2009 was prepared by the International Automotive Task Force (IATF), with the support of ISO technical committee ISO/TC 176, which is responsible for the ISO 9000 family of quality management standards. Copies of the standard can be ordered through iso.org or other groups such as aiag.org – be sure to upgrade your copy today!

For more information on ISO/TS 16949, contact G3 Solutions today!

ISO 9001 – Avoid the applicability misconception!

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

Many companies that are involved in the service industry are often under the assumption that ISO 9001 will not be of benefit since most of the standard applies to manufacturing. In pervious versions of the standard (specifically 1994 and 1987), it was much easier to make that argument. Businesses that are involved in the service and retail industries typically do not have as much exposure to standards that have their roots in manufacturing, such as ISO 9001, ISO/TS 16949 or AS9100. Therefore, it often feels that the implementation of ISO 9001 will be a tremendous headache rather than a valued initiative to help run the business.

Nothing could be further from reality. In fact, actual and tangible dollar-measured value from ISO 9001 implementatation can often be seen sooner in a service type organization than in a manufacturing environment where it may take several operational cycle times to reap a similar benefit.

In the ISO 9001 standard, there are two areas which help to counter the applicability misconception. First, Section 1.2 – Application states “All requirements of this International Standard are generic and are intended to be applicable to all organizations, regardless of type, size and product provided. Where any requirement(s) of this International Standard cannot be applied due to the nature of an organization and its product, this can be considered for exclusion.” Additionally, Section 3 – Terms and definitions adds the clarification “Throughout the text of this International Standard, wherever the term ‘product’ occurs, it can also mean ‘service’.”

ISO 9001 has been successfully implemented by all types of businesses including schools, law firms, real estate agencies, hospitals, farms, investment offices, and many others. It can work for your company. Let us show you how – contact G3 Solutions today! Visit our full website at www.g3iso.com today!