How can ISO help track customer perceptions?
Your customers’ perception should not be a mystery. Customer perception provides a stream of valuable consumer insights that can lead to increased sales, new product development and most importantly, customer loyalty. ISO 9001:2015 clause 9.1.2, requires that any company that is ISO 9001:2015 certified must monitor customer perceptions of the degree to which their needs and expectations have been fulfilled; determine the methods for obtaining, monitoring, and using this information. And clause 9.3.2.c.1 requires that top management review customer satisfaction as part of the overall QMS review. The management review should include representation from top management, functional managers, facility managers, line managers, process owners, process users and action owners.
It is important to remember the customer feedback process has important links and interfaces between other management systems and processes such as customer communication, design and development validation, design and development changes and process validation.
There are other ways why ISO is important in determining customer satisfaction. If you look closely at ISO 9001:2015, there are several other clauses throughout the standard that address customer satisfaction and perception. For example, clause 5.1.2 requires that the focus on enhancing customer satisfaction is maintained. While clause 8.2.1.c requires an organization to have communication with customers to obtain feedback relating to products and services, including complaints.
How your customers perceive your organization is not only the responsibility of your marketing, sales, and business development teams, but also top management. As mentioned above, clause 9.3.2c.1, clearly states top management has a responsibility to address customer perception and it is also top management’s responsibility to review customer satisfaction because your customer is a part of the overall QMS review. This is important because the management review process requires top management to periodically review the QMS to ensure its continuing suitability, adequacy, and effectiveness while addressing the possible need for changes to quality policy, objectives, targets and other elements of the QMS.
ISO 9001 is no longer the “document what you do and do what you document system.”
ISO 9001:2015 is a holistic quality and risk-based management system that can provide a framework for your company to be successful.
Clearly, the customer is always right, and your customers’ perceptions matter. During an external ISO audit, you may be required to demonstrate this activity and the auditor could generate an ISO major or minor non-conformance if you fail to demonstrate how you track and address customer perceptions.
To learn more about ISO and how it can help your company, contact Michael Shabaka at email@example.com.
About the Author
Michael Shabaka, Ph.D., is the Director of Sales and Innovation Excellence for Manex. He has over 20 years of business development, sales and marketing experience, spanning several industries including biotech, high tech, publishing, environmental lab services, and the non-profit sector. Dr. Shabaka holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior with a concentration in Transformative Learning and Change from the California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco. He also holds a Master of Business Administration degree in Marketing and Finance and a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Affairs from Holy Names College, Oakland. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.