Here are my thoughts….
The customer is the reason we are in business, every business understands this on some level, but sometimes people get so caught up in the day to day duties of their positions that they pretty much forget the customer exists. ISO9001:2015 is asking us not to allow this to happen.
I always tell the following to new hires to acquaint them with the concept of customer satisfaction:
I ask my staff if anyone can tell me why the Chevron station at the corner always has lines in the store and at the pumps no matter what time of day it is, when there are 3 other stations on the other corners and another 2 a block away? They all have stores, they’re all charging the same price for gas and they have no lines? Why are people choosing to wait in line at Chevron? Everyone always sits there with a blank stare.
There are 6 gas stations on the 2 mile stretch off the freeway I pass each morning when I go to work, and every morning I stop for a grape 5 hour energy drink. I have stopped at all of these gas stations for my 5 hour fix, and they are all polite and smile when they ring me up. But one station is different. When I go there, they always pull the grape 5 hour energy drink from the display, smile and hold it up to let me know they remember me and why I came in, often when I’m three customers away from the register. Some days, the cashiers make me wait while they fiddle with their phones. At first I got inwardly annoyed, until they scanned the APP on their phone so they could get me 50 cents off my purchase. Now, the display for the 5 hour energy drinks is right at the register, they aren’t saving me any time or effort, nor are they speeding up the line by setting it on the counter in advance and the truth is, I’d rather be on my way than wait for a 50 cent discount. But I don’t say anything; on the contrary, I smile because I appreciate that they take the time to remember me and what I come in for; I appreciate that they acknowledge me and let me know I am important to them. I tell my staff, there’s a gas station on every corner and people have a choice. Customer satisfaction is why the Chevron is always busy.
All 6 gas stations have good customer service, each is clean and the employees are polite and smile. But only Chevron lets all their customers know they are important to them every day and customers keep coming back as a result, including me.
That is what ISO is asking of us. You really don’t need a template. Write what you do to ensure customer satisfaction and how you keep that at the forefront with your management and staff. If you were a customer of your company, what would the company do to deserve your loyalty?
Don’t get caught up on surveys and metrics, the clause is not about having surveys and metrics to show the auditor. You do need them, to provide some sort of measurement for this process, but that’s not what the clause is about.
ISO9001:2015 certification is all about being better than the other guy, so our customer satisfaction efforts need to go beyond the employees being polite and not using profanity in front of customers, although that is important, to be true. It’s got to be more though. Once you write what sets you apart in your industry in terms of customer satisfaction, add what you do to ensure the surveys are analyzed and communicated to all employees; the positives as well as the negatives, how you make sure survey comments and customer complaints are always analyzed and how corrective action is taken in response, what actions you take to improve your service and/or products for the customer, as well as how you continually reinforce with all employees the importance of customer satisfaction, and you should be fine.