The customer is always....happy?

Customer retention

Is customer satisfaction one of those old fashion icons that have slipped into oblivion? Or is it one of those optional extras that are only offered by a handful of companies? Let’s face it, without contented customers your business won’t exist! So how do you know you are actually satisfying your customers?

Implementing a robust Quality Management System (QMS) is probably the best investment you can make to develop, monitor and improve customer satisfaction. It builds in a business culture and discipline that focuses on achieving an agreed result for all parties (or in plain language, it makes everyone happy).

Looking at the model of a QMS, it’s easy to see that the customer has a significant role in your business, through inputs and outputs. Basically, if you are not offering a product or service that customers want, they’re not going to buy!

Understanding and monitoring your customer satisfaction means evaluating customer’s perception of whether your business has met their needs. The standard ISO 9001:2008 calls this customer focus –

Top management shall ensure that customer requirements are determined and are met with the aim of enhancing customer satisfaction.

This is done by communicating with the customer, working out what they want and delivering that product or service, as agreed. Fairly common sense basic, don’t you think! Yet how many times have you not received what was agreed?

A QMS doesn’t have to be a complicated burden to your business, nor do you need to go down the track of certification. By using the methods of QMS, you will build stability and standards into your business.

Whether your business is small or large, a QMS built in to your business will give you the tools you need to make sure you’re on track with customer satisfaction.

Dean Bell

Principle Consultant at InSync Management Systems

InSync Management Systems specialises in designing, implementing, integrating and maintaining ISO Management Systems for small & medium size businesses, specifically in the Wine & Food industry. What makes InSync stand out from the rest is that every system designed and implemented is customised to your business and is a proven method to minimise risk and improve business performance. InSync's philosophy is for systems to be built in not bolted on to businesses.


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Comments (2)

Phil Joel

Phil Joel, Director at SavvySME

I couldn't agree more Dean. The feedback loop is an important tool which every business needs. Can you suggest some practical advice on what and how to measure customer satisfaction to capture both qualitative and quantitative measures?

Dean Bell

Dean Bell, Principle Consultant at InSync Management Systems

As I mentioned in the article, ISO state that management need to determine the customer requirements. In other words, the business has to know and understand WHAT the customer wants so as to meet those needs. But it doesn't stop there! The business must also be flexible to meet the CHANGING needs of the customer. Now there are several ways to measure customer satisfaction but the top 5 would be - 1. Ask - find out from the customer what they really want from your business, but be warned, some of the feedback may not be flattering 2. Needs - understand what your customers need from your business. This may go beyond simple products and services e.g. if you don't have what they want, refer them to a business that does. Goes against the grain of regular business sense but creates an environment of good business ethics, which is sadly lacking in some industries. 3. Gaps - know where your business doesn't meet customer satisfaction and do something about it. Take a real good look in the mirror and be critical. 4. Analyse - record the products and services that your customers purchase and determine what makes them happy and what makes them sad. Breaking the business down into smaller analytical sizes makes it easier to pinpoint the areas you should be focussing improvement 5. The other guys - check out what the competition is doing to meet customer satisfaction. Do some covert reconisence to see how their customers are feeling and copy the best bits. Obviously this could be expanded, but you get the general idea.