We’ve all heard it, how can we ensure that our customers are delighted? The most assured method is keeping the beat of what customers are wanting. Top management’s focus on the organization’s ability to meet the needs and expectations of customers and other relevant interested parties provides confidence in achieving sustained success. This is a statement right out of the introduction of 9004, “Quality of an organization-guidance to achieve sustained success.
Let’s face it degraded abilities or lack of understanding of the needs and expectations of especially customers and now the ever-expanding relevant interested parties is not as apparent as we wish they were. ISO Certification Audits ensure that systems are established for customer focus. How can we keep to the beat of their hearts and desires of our products and services as their favorites? Top management must stay in relations by providing the means of customers being able to quickly and easily communicate their needs and expectations.
Customer focus is also one of the seven Quality Management Principles. We will address in its entirety the concepts of relevant interested parties in another article at a future date. Let’s agree though that customers should be considered 1 of the top 2 interested parties. The other one being either shareholders/owners or employees depending on the culture of the company.
Your products and services are what makes your company. See ISO in Brief! These are needed and valuable, but what if the quality through time became of lesser quality because of competition, new advanced technology or worst losing sight of your customers’ expectations and needs? This week we correlate the King of Diamonds with Customer Focus.
Promotion of Customer Focus throughout the entire Organization
Let’s start to understand the intent of this requirement of Customer Focus of the ISO 9001. Most striking is that the same top management is to demonstrate leadership and commitment concerning customer focus and includes other bullets with the last one being enhancing customer satisfaction. Most will relate this to paying customers, but it can also mean citizens, patients, students, but you need to think whoever are recipients of your products and services.
Then it is up to for customer focus to be promoted throughout the organization. Also from 9004,” To achieve sustained success, the organization should focus on anticipating and meeting the needs and expectations of its interested parties, with the intent of enhancing their satisfaction and overall experience. https://msi-international.com/iso-topics/iso-9001-quality-standard/These requirements must be understood by all involved so consider if how subcontractors are informed of customer project requirements. There are some factors that contribute to the needs and expectations of your product. The needs and expectations must be considered when evaluating your processes. See our earlier blog about process map.https://msi-international.com/2019/01/13/set-your-company-apart/ With the Standard adding an overall focus on risk-based thinking to aim at taking advantage of opportunities and preventing undesirable results, ensure that a loss of key customers or segments as a risk.
To understand the needs and expectations of customers and even better future customers, you can look to several different tactics. You can work with those responsible for the processes, or you can use methods to collect the data that best serves such as:
- monitoring customer needs, expectations, and satisfaction
- reviewing orders received
- having effective feedback and complaint processes
- participating in relevant associations
- market surveillance
- competitive analysis
- and more
All methods have their merits, but the data will give you a concrete understanding of what each party requires. From customer contacts to industry standards and permits to agreements with customers, the information resulting from these needs must be considered when planning your QMS.
Be aware that not only can relevant requirements be different for different products and services, but can change through unforeseen circumstances or intentional reactions to markets. Your organization must monitor and review these requirements as they change. Rely on the power of outstanding management reviews to pinpoint when pivots are needed.
So, paying close attention to your customers, industry and markets will greatly increase your company’s sustainability and value. These will refine your QMS, drive your organization’s perceived value, and meet everyone’s requirements.
Ask yourself, which customers should you be reaching out today? How can I as part of top management promote customer focus throughout that leads to furthering delightfulness? What is our data telling us today? What are some areas of improvement? Ensure that if you discover an area of improvement use your corrective action system to manage roll-out of customer focus improvements. How can we make sure that we are tracking even slight communications from customers that could give us hints that our quality is becoming degraded?