Organizations depend on their customers and therefore should understand current and future customer needs, should meet customer requirements, and strive to exceed customer expectations.
Without customers, your business would not exist. Your business success is determined by your customers' satisfaction. Your customer
Quality Management System Principles
• Customer focus
• Involvement of people
• Process approach
• System approach to management
• Continual improvement
• Factual approach to decision making
• Mutually beneficial supplier relationships
might be your corporate head office or it might be hundreds of clients. It is vital to identify who your customers are.
By identifying your customers' requirements, now and for the future, striving to meet and exceed their expectations, you work proactively to improve customer loyalty and sustain or increase revenue, benefiting both your organization and your customers.
Top management ensures that customer-related processes are implemented in its management system structure to determine customer requirements for order processing, and any amendments through delivery and postdelivery requirements (warranty, contractual obligations, such as maintenance services, and supplementary services, such as recycling and disposal).
The focus needs to be on building strong customer relationships, understanding their needs, and providing “value” for what they are paying. Customer retention is good business sense as it costs more to bring in new business than it does to maintain the relationships that you have built. Long-term customers are happy to share the good qualities of your organization.
All employees need to understand the importance and focus of customer satisfaction and their role in representing the company to the customer. Appropriate, effective handling of customer feedback, including customer complaints, helps to maintain customer satisfaction, allowing employees to realize that what they say or do reflects on the company. Today in the age of social media, it is so easy for customers to voice their concerns publicly through the web (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube), which could have a negative impact on the company.
Communication is vital to customer satisfaction. Building customer loyalty involves not only dealing with customer complaints but also keeping your customers informed about your product or service.
Focus: Quality – Customer
1 What are you doing to work with your customers? Does your company put customers at the center of making business decisions? How?
2 Is your company rated by outside market-research firms for delivering superior customer service? What is your rating?
3 Who are your target client/s? Who are your top ten clients?
4 What do you need to know about your customers?
5 How has your organization demonstrated excellence in building relationships with your customers?
6 What are you doing to improve customer loyalty?
7 What systems are in place to understand existing and potential customers' needs and their expectations?
8 Speed is of the essence. Is your company able to seize market opportunities as they happen? Why or why not?
9 How do you deal with customer expectations that are not being met?
10 Are objectives of the organization linked to customer need, satisfaction, and expectation?
11 How do you communicate with customers (written, verbal, Internet/social media)?
12 How are customers' needs communicated throughout the organization and with other stakeholders?
13 What systems are in place for tracking customer needs, customer problems, and customer satisfaction?
a. Do your employees (workers) offer solutions to make your customer happy?
b. Do you keep records of actions taken?
c. Do you manage problems through your nonconformance system?
14 When a customer requests a feature for a product or service that your company does not provide, what do employees tell the customer? Do they give alternatives?
15 What do you monitor and measure to track and maintain high levels of customer satisfaction?
a. Timely delivery of products or services
b. Quality of product/service delivered, easy to use
c. Support services: Timeliness
e. Customer loyalty: Repeat business
16 Have there been any changes to existing procedures or work instructions in order to increase customer satisfaction metrics? What were they?
a. How do you get input to make changes in procedures?
b. How do you manage communicating these changes to others and getting their support?
c. How do you track or measure the outcome of this change?