Why ISO 9001 Quality Management drives improved customer service
To me the most important question you need to ask yourself in your business is, “why are my customers so important?” If that is the most important question and you can answer the “why” the next question must be what am I doing to deliver consistent quality service?
Well this blog will try and help you identify how you can achieve excellent service and without having to re-invent the wheel use the guidelines and principals of the International Standard – ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management to achieve this most important part of your business.
I want to start from the point that we accept that the customer is important and move to how to ensure we live and breath this principal. In the ISO Standard the emphasis is placed on understanding who your customer is, what they want and need and then determining how we can deliver this to them. There are 4 key aspects to focus on:
1) Processes to deliver the customer requirements. No matter if you sell a product or provide a service, you need to clearly define the steps to follow from start to finish. The more clearly defined the process or procedure to ensure correct delivery the better chance you have of consistency in product and service delivery. Put another way if the route map is defined you wont take a wrong turn in getting to the final destination. Another benefit of clearly defined processes is that it is easy to trace errors and or faults. In this way you can respond to customer complaints quickly and effectively.
2) Resource allocation. One of the keys to delivering consistent quality products and services is to ensure all resources involved in the process have all the knowledge and skills required to achieve the desired results. Ensure your staff are suitably trained in the processes, tools, systems and methods required to deliver your product and or service. Make sure they all understand the importance of taking ownership of quality at every stage of the realization process.
3) Management Responsibility. It is vital that management have set clear and understandable objectives that are measurable and achievable. While at the same time take full responsibility for appointing the correct resources (suitably skilled and trained) to ensure the customer requirements can be met. Management should also ensure all equipment and materials required to deliver products and services meet the desired requirements of quality and serviceability.
4) Measurement and Analysis. The final cog in the customer delivery model is the need for effective monitoring, measurement and analysis. You should monitor and measure every step of the process. Gather information that will quickly identify errors or problems so that these can be rectified in a timely manner, before the customer gets an inferior product or service. It is useful to gather customer feedback as often a possible. Both positive and negative feedback will be beneficial in being able to implement improvements to your process and continually strive for superior service.
The diagram below depicts the ISO 9001 Quality Management Standard approach to Customer Service. If you need help in implementing an effective customer service framework, email firstname.lastname@example.org or subscribe to www.isostandards.co.za