[ISO 9001] HELPS ORGANIZATION TO ENHANCE THE CUSTOMER SATISFACTION

Definitions

Customer Satisfaction : Customer’s perception of the degree to which the customer’s requirements (3.1.2) have been fulfilled. (ISO 9000 – 2005, Clause 3.1.4)

If any organization wants to do better than his competitor, it has to- understand what the customer wants,  provide products/ services of high quality nature to be one step ahead of the customer’s need.

Why ISO 9001?

Without satisfied customers, an organization is in peril!

To keep customers satisfied, the organization needs to meet their requirements.

The ISO 9001:2008 standard provides a tried and tested framework for taking a systematic approach to managing the organization’s processes so that they consistently turn out product that satisfies customers’ expectations.

Quality Management of ISO 9001 means what the organization does to

  • ensure that its products or services satisfy the customer’s quality requirements and
  • comply with any regulations applicable to those products or services.
  • enhance customer satisfaction, and
  • achieve continual improvement of its performance.

What is ISO?

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) was established in 1947 and is (currently) an association of approximately 157 members, which each represent their own country.

What ISO9001?

ISO 9001:2008 is the standard that provides a set of standardized requirements for a quality management system, regardless of what the user organization does, its size, or whether it is in the private, or public sector.

Can the standards improve “customer satisfaction”?

The quality management system details that are described in the standards are based on Quality Management Principles that include the “process approach” and “customer focus”. The adoption of these principles should provide customers with a higher level of confidence that products will meet their needs and increase their satisfaction.

Customer focus?

Organizations depend on their customers and therefore should understand current and future customer needs, should meet customer requirements and strive to exceed customer expectations. (Principle 1: Customer focus as defined in ISO 9000:2005)

Process Approach?

A desired result is achieved more efficiently when activities and related resources are managed as a process.

What are some of the common benefits associated with an ISO quality system?

  • Error reduction resulting from better systematic inspection and testing.
  • Error reduction resulting from Increased employee participation, involvement, awareness and systematic employee training.
  • Better products resulting from better design control.
  • Improved productivity resulting from planning and teamwork.
  • Reduction in cost associated with failures.
  • Resolution of nonconformance and adoption of corrective and preventive action in a systematic way.
  • Improved communications both internally and externally which usually improves quality, efficiency, on time delivery and customer / supplier relations.
  • Recognition of compliance by an unbiased organization! (One assessment by an accredited registrar usually satisfies the quality system requirements of many customers.)

Benefits for all shareholders?

Customers and users will benefit by receiving products that:

  • Conform to the requirements;
  • Are dependable and reliable;
  • Are available when needed;
  • Are maintainable.

People in the organization will benefit by:

  • Better working conditions;
  • Increased job satisfaction;
  • Improved health and safety;
  • Improved morale;
  • Improve stability of employment.

Owners and investors will benefit by:

  • Increased return on investment;
  • Improved operational results;
  • Increased market share;
  • Increased profits.

Suppliers and partners will benefit by:

  • Stability;
  • Growth;
  • Partnership and mutual understanding

Society will benefit by:

  • fulfillment of legal and regulatory requirements;
  • Improved health and safety;
  • Reduced environmental impact;
  • Increased security.

Applying the principle of customer focus typically leads to:

  • Researching and understanding customer needs and expectations.
  • Ensuring that the objectives of the organization are linked to customer needs and expectations.
  • Communicating customer needs and expectations throughout the organization.
  • Measuring customer satisfaction and acting on the results.
  • Systematically managing customer relationships.
  • Ensuring a balanced approach between satisfying customers and other interested parties (such as owners, employees, suppliers, financiers, local communities and society as a whole).

ISO 9001:2008 Customer related elements

  • Customer Focus (ISO 9001: 5.2)
  • Provision of Resources (ISO 9001: 6.1b)
  • Customer-related processes (ISO9001: 7.2)
  • Product requirements (ISO 9001: 7.2.1)
  • Review of product requirements (ISO 9001: 7.2.2)
  • Customer communication (ISO 9001: 7.2.3)
  • Release, delivery and post-delivery activities (ISO 9001: 7.5.1 f)
  • Customer property (ISO 9001: 7.5.4)
  • Customer satisfaction (ISO 9001: 8.2.1)
  • Analysis of data (ISO 9001: 8.4a)
  • Management review and action related to customer requirements (ISO 9001: 5.6.2 and 5.6.3)

Measurement of Customer Satisfaction

Define, measure , analyze and improve the measurement of customer satisfaction is a process that involves several steps:

  • Determination of criteria for customer satisfaction;
  • Selection of method for gathering of customer data;
  • Measurement of customer satisfaction;
  • Customer satisfaction analysis and report;
  • Monitoring of customer satisfaction and improvement;

ISO 9001:2008 defines sources for Measurement of Customer Satisfaction

such as:

  • Customer satisfaction surveys
  • Customer data on delivery product quality
  • User opinion surveys
  • Sales analysis and market analysis
  • Compliments, warranty claims, dealer reports

Customer satisfaction analysis and report

Categorization, summarization and interpretation of data, the analysis and customer satisfaction report can include:

  • % Highly satisfied customers; % Satisfied customers
  • % Dissastified customers
  • Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI)
  • Customer acquisition, retention and defection
  • Cost of customer claims and returns
  • Repeat business volume
  • Trends, comparison and benchmarking

Key Benefits of customer satisfaction and continual improvement

  • Increased effectiveness in the use of the organization’s resources to enhance customer satisfaction.
  • Increased revenue and market share obtained through flexible and fast responses to market opportunities.
  • Improved customer loyalty leading to repeat business.

 

Auditing customer feedback processes?

The customer feedback process is a critical part of the quality management system, and should  therefore receive adequate attention during an internal audit or a third party audit.

Feedback from the customer is one of the primary performance indicators that can be used to judge the overall effectiveness of the QMS. It is important, therefore, for the auditor to verify that

  1. a) the organization’s customer communication channels promote an adequate awareness of the process by which customers can provide feedback
  2. b) inputs to the customer feedback process include relevant, representative and reliable data,
  3. c) this data is analyzed effectively, and
  4. d) the output from this process provides useful information to the management review and other QMS processes, to enhance customer satisfaction and drive continual improvement.

Customer feedback is a process. It needs to be audited as a process, not as a “clause of the standard”. An evaluation also needs to be performed on the way in which the process is managed (see ISO 9001 clause 4.1.c), and its ability to provide meaningful information with which to judge the overall effectiveness of the QMS. The way in which the organizationobtains this feedback (“the method”) is up to the organization to define.

The auditor should therefore be aware of the many factors that can affect the organization’s approach, and should recognize that there is no fixed “recipe”. Due consideration should begiven to factors such as:

  • organization size and complexity
  • degree of sophistication of products and customers
  • risks associated with the product
  • diversity of customer base

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