8.2.1 Customer Satisfaction - Designing & Building a Solid waste disposal facility

F

Francesco

#1
I have a client who design, product and install solid waste disposal facilities. How can I meet in this case the customer satisfaction requirement, being the impact of these kind of plants obviously hard?

In my opinion I can only try to reduce customer dissatisfaction by eliminating any kind of emission or leakage, but not definitely obtain people happy (delighted or over delighted???) with this.

What’s your opinion about this?
 
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Kevin Mader

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#2
What does the customer expect? Perhaps a facility, delivered on time, at cost, and with all expected bells and whistles? A facility without leaking ceilings and waste tanks perhaps. Difficult to say.

I would suggest that you ask the customers, new and old, what they consider to be key driving factors of Customer Satisfaction. Determine these, create measures, and measure.

Regards,

Kevin
 

Marc

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#3
I agree you should ask your customers.

I have seen companies do many things from customer surveys -to- considering / evaluating customer complaints -to- evaluation of bids to repeat customers / contracts won from these bids.
...eliminating any kind of emission or leakage...
I would think this is more of a function of customer requirements (design input). Not meeting customer requirements in this case would lead to a failure of design validation (operation in the customer's plant - I'm sure you can't validate prior to installation) which would lead to a customer complaint. This might indicate an ineffective design verification. Customer complaints are (or should be) a component of every customer satisfaction evaluation.

[This message has been edited by Marc Smith (edited 15 April 2000).]
 
J

James Gutherson

#4
OK, I'll weigh in here. I have a similar problem. I work for a State Government Safety Authority. We are responsible for ensuring the safety of Commercial Boats, and we have 3 main customer groups. There are the boat operators, to whom we are an annoyance that costs them more money. We would most satisfy them by simply disappearing. There is the minister who, well he is a politician and wouldn’t know his…I’ll stop there as this is a public forum and I need my job. But by far the biggest group of customers (and I’m still trying to convince upper management of this) are the general public, the users of the boats and waterways. For the most part these people just want to be safe and until something goes wrong, do not know we even exist, or need to in my mind. I think that publicity campaigns, mail-outs, questionnaires etc would be a waste of public money.
Therein lies my problem, one group of customers want’s us to just go away while the other group don’t know we exist. (I won’t count the politician). I know we need to look at customer feedback but I know I won’t get any support from upper management if we are only going to be going to the boat operators. They see it as an exercise in dropping our pants and bending over for a free kick.
Any suggestions from the group?

James Gutherson
 
E

eskay

#5
James,

I don't think this is a problem. I had similar experience some 5 years back. We had a association which was working for (and still working for) benefit of a particular section of the business society. The funny part was the business society for which the association was started did not like us and they told us there is no need for such an association. Remember, the subscription fee to be paid by them was peanuts (around 2 US $ per year!!).

But today, the association is in its 16th year of service and almost every member of that particular business community is the member today and this association has become the second largest association in my home town (Chennai in South India).

It took a lot out of us to promote this association as we were fighting against the goverment for some benefits and the local police against their harresment.

So, don't give up just harress(!) them by asking what you could do better for their well being, and one-day they may realise the need for such an association....

Good luck!

Kannan

[This message has been edited by eskay (edited 17 April 2000).]
 
F

Francesco

#6
James got the problem (even if from an “upside down” view), in fact in my case there is only one customer, the government authority, and as a consequence, the real final customers are people living near the facilities, breathing the air and drinking water in that zone. Like in James’ example, the simple presence of that kind of plant is for them a reason of dissatisfaction. I also agree with James that sending surveys to that people would be only a loss of money with no useful information from it, in fact, people would do everything to see that facility removed, including filling customers surveys with groundless complaints.
Kevin and Marc suggested a correct way, but there is a particular kind of business in which the only requirements that can be met deal with tolerance and not with satisfaction.
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#7
Originally posted by Francesco:

...but there is a particular kind of business in which the only requirements that can be met deal with tolerance and not with satisfaction.
I disagree. The issue ultimately is not whether you can keep your customers happy, but rather can you keep them happier than they would have been (are they less dissatisfied this year than they were last year). One way is to link customer satisfaction (in part) to what you perceive customer expectations to be (including ductomer inputs).
 
J

James Gutherson

#8
Thanks Marc, Kannan, Franceso. My problem is similar to Franceso's in that there is a customer group (boat operators) that will never be happy.

We are the "law enforcers" here (and a monopoly, they have to come through us) and to this customer group all we do is make them spend more money (on maintenace, equipment, crew etc) to meet our requirements which affects their profits. Unfortunately they are the customer that know we exist.

The larger customer group is the general public, who while they are "on our side", they do not know we exist, and really don't need to. It would be a waste of tax payers money to educate the public so that they can tell us we are doing a good job. If we do a good job there are no accidents and they have no reason to know about us.

We are attempting to make the experience for the boat operators less painful by improving our procedures, but we are doing this really from our point of view. There is a small amount of feedback from a few of the larger clients (the State Goverment owned Ferry's and the good Tourist Fleets), but mostly we are guessing what they want.

I will never get support for sending out customer satisfaction surveys with every permit we produce, as 99.99% would be "get out of the way and let us run our business". This would be very demoralising for the department as well as being political dynamite.

Does anyone have experience with a hostile customer group.
 
F

Francesco

#9
Let’s take a simple example of customer survey: it will include rating degrees going from INADEQUATE to MINIMUM ACCETTABLE to EXCELLENT it means that I have a negative level, a zero level and a positive level.

I simply say two things:

1) organizations like mine and James’ could reach at their best the zero level
2) customer surveys sent to final customers fail (in these cases) because they give information not based on facts, but on (bad) opinion

For the rest, I agree with you, Marc.
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#10
Originally posted by Francesco:

Let’s take a simple example of customer survey: it will include rating degrees going from INADEQUATE to MINIMUM ACCETTABLE to EXCELLENT it means that I have a negative level, a zero level and a positive level.
I simply say two things:
1) organizations like mine and James’ could reach at their best the zero level
I think you're being pessimistic.
2) customer surveys sent to final customers fail (in these cases) because they give information not based on facts, but on (bad) opinion
Many customer survery returned are not completed by assessing facts, I'll bet. When I complete one I don't go to a database for precise info. I answer with what I know. I'll admit facts can play a part.

I will say I am not unfamiliar with what you are saying. I have had very few clients who were happy with ISO9000. They think it's a government thing (ultimately), even though we know its not. Many are extremely hostile. That doesn't stop me from asking for their opinion of my services. I don't like the IRS but if I'm sent a survey I'll fill it out.

Have either of you sent out a questionaire? What was the content (what questions)? What were the results?
 
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