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Complaint or Feedback - Customer asks for 'minor' product 'enhancement'


Aaron Lupo

Complaint or Feedback

I would like others opinions on this.

A customer calls and and says the product is great but they would like to see you change it a little not a major change just a minor change, like make it a little longer, but that they love it and are still goning to keep buying it.

I say that it is customer feedback, or maybe even design input and should be reviewed or handled that way.

Now the QA manager of this facility says that it is a complaint and should be handeled in that matter.

I suppose you could make a valid argument either way, but I lean towards feedback, and using it a design input and when they have the design review consider it and say yes or no about changing the product. I would look at how many other customers feel the same way. Thats where Marketing would come in and call customers and see what they say. If enough would like it changed then change it. Or you could design a new product for this particular customer and Market a new product. But is it really a complaint since it does what it is intended to do and they are going to keep buying it even if you dont change it? Yes the change would make them happy, but what about all the other customers.

Anyways what do others out there think?
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Al Dyer


I'm with you. It sounds as though you are making a product to agreed specifications and the customer wants to improve upon their approved design.

Not a corrective action, you have not made out of spec. product.

Sounds like your customer should request a change and thereby go through the contract review process and its outcome, a new PPAP.

I won't even go into why the QM thinks it is a CA!

(Specs Howard School Of Quality Management!)



David Mullins

From the given information I'd say there is no doubt that it is customer feedback. Mind you - a complaint is also customer feedback!

If you treated this as a complaint, and took corrective action on the length of the component, you may well get complaints from other customers who are happy with your length (I think there's a joke here, but I'll stay away from it).

If your product conforms to drawings and specifications then it is definitely just an informal customer request.

You can always follow the path that the QM suggests, then see what comes of it. Then you can prove to the QM that his/her interpretation was clearly wrong.

What you don't tell us is WHY the QM thinks it is a complaint ..... that I'd like to know!


Aaron Lupo

Why the QM thinks it is a complaint, I have no idea! There have been many items we have not agreed on. Try this one on for example.

We received product from our customer to use in making thier product that was bad. We have a system for handling bad product from customers using a NCMR, which notifys them of what the problem was and what we had to do, and what would they like us to do with it. The QM thinks it appropriate to send them a Corrective Action. I just slap my head and say why? I am given no reason. I am thinking to myself what are your trying to tick the customer off. Use our system of reporting bad materials from the client and let them no if it continues we are going to have to charge for the additional inspection that we are doing, but this is a problem they have to fix on their end with their supplier.

Another example, during our last Surveillance audit the audtiors were looking at training records which were incomplete, the QM tells the auditor "People don't have time to record the training information, people scramble around two weeks before you guys come in and try to put things in place", what i said was, there are always going to be little gaps that need to be filled in, but the system needs to be implemented properly throughout the year. Those are some of the reasons I am looking for employment elsewhere, I dont want to work for a company where they pay lip service to Quality! Would you like more examples, just e-mail me I have lots of them that would make you wonder about this persons abilities LOL.


This is what Khanhom defines as the difference between them, or something like it. I'm not a total plagarist.
— Customer Feedback: Comment(s) regarding features, characteristics and performance of our products and services; marketing and sales; and business practices. Any communication, positive or negative or that requires a response or resolution of a problem, will be classified as customer feedback.

— Customer Complaint: Customer statement that our products or services do not meet requirements and/or expectations.


Your QM appears to be immature, insecure and in over his/her head. Anybody who tells an auditor that we scramble around for two weeks because we know they are coming in should have their lips stitched shut. He/she has no confidence in the people around them and is trying to look good in front of the auditors. Top Management should be made aware of this type of behavior. Golden Boy/Girl or not, actions that demean the reputation of the company are taken seriously. Everybody scrambles before an audit, you just don’t talk about it outside the company. Sometimes, in our quest to advance our positions, we do get in over our heads. The solution is to enlist help from those around you that have something to help make you look good. I mean this in a respectable way. You have to communicate your needs and give credit where it’s due. I tell them “ you can make me look like a hero if you help me out on this”. You would be surprised how many people enjoy teaching the “teacher” something. And, I always say to management something like “ I got the idea from a conversation I had with SoSo”. Of course, the QM has to be honest and open to gain respect. Some of these Quality geeks (I love that term-I’m one) see them selves in the mirror as “the fairest of the all”.
In your own situation, you have to demand (nicely) reasons for being directed to respond a certain way. Insist on an answer. “Because I said so” or no reason at all is unacceptable. You could try this- “ You know, you constantly amaze me. You make important decisions like this everyday. Could you possibly teach me some of the methods you use to arrive at such ridiculous conclusions?” Or something like that.

Aaron Lupo

Energy thanks for the suggestions. You are very right in your post about the QM being immature, also I think this person feels threatend by my knowledge. I know the reason our QM comes to the cunclusions they do. I don't want to sound mean but this person has no clue what they are doing and yes they are Golden, the only thing I have to look forward to is that they will be splitting soon and having their own Certification, which I know they have no chance in doing. It will be hard but I will have to sit back and let things unfold. Management has been made aware of the comments that were made during the audit but see this person as something amazing, well some of them do. What will be even mor enjoyable is watching them comply with 9K2K, I have already put many changes in place and I am just waiting until Management decides they want to switch to 9K2K. I hate to blow my own horn, but sometimes you have too, I know what needs to get done and have the ideas but not the support from the Executives. I have a feeling after our last audit that things will change (fingers crossed), if not I will part ways quietly and leave behind the information I have to help them along. In the mean time I have my bottle of asprin close by.

Alf Gulford

Our Customer Service folks record this as 'information.'

Where would the afore mentioned QM stop with something like that? If the customer thought the device would be prettier if it were a lighter shade of blue, would that be a complaint?


Dan Larsen


Any QM who would advocate sending a customer a CA should be shot (or at least would have been in the companies I've worked in!). There's only ONE person in the organization who can tell a customer to take a hike...and that would be the President.

As an auditor, I think I'd question commitment to "customer focus" if I found a CA issued to a customer.

By the response to the first post...
This is definitely feedback (not a complaint)that should be addressed as a suggested design improvement.

[This message has been edited by Dan Larsen (edited 01 May 2001).]
Who is responsible for determining what to label the process? Is it the quality manager? Is it you? Based on your posts I would recommend that you set up a team to develop a procedure that will resolve the problem.

Dan says;
"Any QM who would advocate sending a customer a CA should be shot (or at least would have been in the companies I've worked in!). There's only ONE person in the organization who can tell a customer to take a hike...and that would be the President."

Dan, I agree for the most part, however, referring to element 4.7 and the requirement for the customer to provide acceptable product, I may see a time to request CA.
I.E., CA from the stand point of what would be done to fix schedule slips in the event that customer supplied product is defective and/or arrives late.
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