This can be a real hot potato. If you take a close look at your company you should be able to list things you do to determine whether your customers are satisfied. One small company I worked with ensured that once a month every customer was visited by a company employee. Just to say hello, ask how things are going and (the owner said it was a big part of his decision) to see if the folks are using the product correctly. This was most interesting in that the owner stated he had not had a customer complaint in over 10 years. Sound far fetched?
The owner did not consider complaints on visits to be complaints. Every ‘complaint’ was addressed by the company representative on the spot. He called them ‘minor problems’ and since they sometimes led to a formula reformulation he didn’t consider them to be complaints. His example was a company which claimed the product was not foaming (a cleaning product) ‘enough’ and was thus not cleaning thoroughly. My client added more of the foaming agent to the compound (reformulation), He pointed out to me that the foaming agent is a visual aspect of the product totally unrelated to its function. This was a customer perception issue.
ISO 9001 QMS ‘Process Model’
One of the interesting parts of this system is Continuous Improvement of the Quality Management System is specified as the result. Not improvement of the product. One can argue if you improve you quality system the product should improve as well. However, this is just not always the case.