Enhancing Customer Satisfaction - 5.2 Customer Focus

M

Michael T

#1
Ahhh... I'm feeling particularly grumpy this afternoon (thanks to a beligerent floor supervisor this morning), so I thought I'd see if I could stir things up a bit... :biglaugh: Here is a purely hypothetical situation inspired by the latest issue of Quality Progress.

Element 5.2 Custom Focus reads:

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

Okay........ I'm all for the enhancing customer satisfaction thing. Good for business. However... what if enhancing customer satisfaction means selling your product below your current asking price?

Example: Customer XYZ buys your product. They also buy competitor ABC's product, which is slightly inferior, but also less expensive. When asked what would "enhance customer satisfaction", customer XYZ says, "Well, you could sell your widgets for what ABC sells them for."

Now... most of your other customers are happy the quality of your product and understand that, while your widgets cost more, they last longer. What do you do? How do you show you are meeting the requirements of 5.2?

Smile... it's almost Friday!

Cheers!
 
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Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource
#2
how 'bout this?

Okay, I’ll take a stab. I’d say, the std. says you “…shall ensure that customer requirements are determined and met with the aim of enhancing customer satisfaction”. I read that as I must (shall) determine and meet requirements, but I only need to have the "aim" (goal) of enhancing satisfaction. If I determine I am unable to do that (enhance satisfaction) and still make a fair and reasonable profit and stay in business, then that’s okay. There is no “shall enhance customer satisfaction”, for good reason as you point out. That’s my take. What say you?

Mike S.
 
M

Michael T

#3
Re: Re: ...enhancing customer satisfaction

Jim Wade said:


Michael - doesn't at least part of the answer lie in the fact that most of your customers are happy the quality of your product?

9001 doesn't expect perfection - it even expects a system to be able to handle complaints!

rgds Jim
Hi Jim...
Okay - I'll buy that most of your customers are happy. So, what do you do during an audit of 5.2 and in your search for objective evidence that your company is meeting this requirement, you discover the customer file of company XYZ - nice and fat with Customer Contact reports all saying that they are not satisfied with your price. Is this a non-conformance?

And Mike,
Good response - but how do you confirm that the "aim" is customer satisfaction when you have a customer that is not satisfied?

Allow me to add to this little scenario - just to make it more interesting... Let's say that 8% of your customer base (for easy math, 100 customers = 8 are unhappy) have this complaint. Now it's not just one customer that is complaining but 8 of your customers. Does this change anything?

Thanks for the responses!

Cheers!
 
A

Aaron Lupo

#4
Re: Re: Re: ...enhancing customer satisfaction

Michael T said:



Hi Jim...
Okay - I'll buy that most of your customers are happy. So, what do you do during an audit of 5.2 and in your search for objective evidence that your company is meeting this requirement, you discover the customer file of company XYZ - nice and fat with Customer Contact reports all saying that they are not satisfied with your price. Is this a non-conformance?

And Mike,
Good response - but how do you confirm that the "aim" is customer satisfaction when you have a customer that is not satisfied?

Allow me to add to this little scenario - just to make it more interesting... Let's say that 8% of your customer base (for easy math, 100 customers = 8 are unhappy) have this complaint. Now it's not just one customer that is complaining but 8 of your customers. Does this change anything?

Thanks for the responses!

Cheers!
Michael if the customer is not happy with your price would I consider that a complaint. Not really, we all know customers like to get it cheaper if they can. I would consider it feedback and use it for developing any trends.

If you only have one customer that is not satisfied I would say that is pretty good.

However, as you mentioned if you have 8% of your customers complaining about the same issue I would say that upper management would need to look at the issue and and address the problem. Maybe set a goal to reduce the 8% to 6% in the coming year which would also be part of CI. JMHO I am sure there are some holes in it someplace.
 
M

Michael T

#6
Re: Re: Re: Re: ...enhancing customer satisfaction

ISO GUY said:



Michael if the customer is not happy with your price would I consider that a complaint. Not really, we all know customers like to get it cheaper if they can. I would consider it feedback and use it for developing any trends.

If you only have one customer that is not satisfied I would say that is pretty good.

However, as you mentioned if you have 8% of your customers complaining about the same issue I would say that upper management would need to look at the issue and and address the problem. Maybe set a goal to reduce the 8% to 6% in the coming year which would also be part of CI. JMHO I am sure there are some holes in it someplace.
ISO Guy... or is it Johnny Bravo.... or Sugar Bear. :vfunny:

Thanks for the feedback... I agree - one complaint - I'd be a happy camper.

How does upper management reduce the 8% to 6%? I can think of two ways - reduce price or change the minds of 2% of the complainers.

Can we reduce price? Sure - but then we have to do it all across the board because you'll never keep that a secret. Now you've got shareholders who are not happy because their profit margins just took a header. Oh, and by the way - the mission statement is now violated, which is to increase shareholder value... *nastygrinz*

Change the mind-set... ohhhhh the sales & marketing guys/gals will love that one... :ko:

Ken,
I can see some merit in inviting them to shop elsewhere... "Sorry, we don't serve your kind here... " :smokin: Is that a solution that an auditor will accept though? The ultimate corrective action.... they are no longer our customer. Works for me... :D
 
M

Michael T

#7
Re: Re: Re: Re: ...enhancing customer satisfaction

Jim Wade said:



Hi Michael

That's not as interesting a question as "do you and your management colleagues care about the situation enough to do something positive about it?"



For purposes of 9001/4 thru 8 conformance - no. For business purposes - I would hope so (see ISO GUUY's reply)

rgds Jim
That IS an interesting question, Jim. Does management care enough about complaints about price to do something positive about it? Hmmmmmmmm.....

Depends. What is the goal of the business? To be the low cost leader or the high quality leader? That would be the compass by which the company would steer it's decision, no?

Very interesting choice of words... "do something positive about it" rather than just "do something about it". Now I've got to go mull that one over for a bit... :bigwave:

Cheers!
 

Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource
#8
Re: Re: Re: ...enhancing customer satisfaction

Michael T said:

And Mike,
Good response - but how do you confirm that the "aim" is customer satisfaction when you have a customer that is not satisfied?

Allow me to add to this little scenario - just to make it more interesting... Let's say that 8% of your customer base (for easy math, 100 customers = 8 are unhappy) have this complaint. Now it's not just one customer that is complaining but 8 of your customers. Does this change anything?
____________________
MT,

Well, in reality I'd say more than 8% of our customers ask for a price reduction on almost every new order. That's status normal for our business. But, they keep coming back even when we don't reduce price. But they feel they have to ask.

Now, in your hypothetical scenerio....I say to the questioner that our aim is customer satisfaction, always has been and always will be. I can point to other issues where customers have asked for things to "increase their satisfaction" where we have complied with their wishes, thus showing we DO take actions when we can, thus showing proof of trying to reach our aim (goal) in this area. However, we do not and can not meet every wish of every customer -- no business can.

If it were an outside registration auditor posing the question, I'd turn it around and say that if I were to formally ask them for a 30% reduction in their fee to "increase my satisfaction" as their customer, would they comply? (Probably no). Okay, but if I asked them for two mailed copies of their audit findings instead of just one to "increase my satisfaction", would you do that? (Probably they would. ) So, I'd hope they would then see it my way.

Holes in my thought process???:confused:

Mike S.
 
#9
Change up

Okay, let's consider something non-manufacturing. Say you go into a store (I heard that energy!), you find the product you want and the price is clearly marked. You procede to the checkout to pay for the product. As the teller is ringing up the merchandise, he/she begins to tell you everything that is wrong in his/her life. By the time you leave the store, you feel absolutely miserable. You might even be a bit mad. The store met your requirements for the product and the price, but you came away feeling bad about the process. They did not meet the requirement for “enhancing customer satisfaction”.

How many times have you bought a big-ticket item only to have “buyer’s remorse”?

Price, although a factor is not and should not be the only consideration. I have found (especially in retail service) customers may cry “price” but price is rarely the real complaint. The actual complaint may be they hate your automated phone system (I do). Perhaps it is the way you talk to them. Perhaps it is how you “hide” behind your RMA policy. I could go on and on.

The key is to listen to what your customers are REALLY saying. They may say “price” but mean “service”. You enhance customer satisfaction by understanding them. It could mean reducing price. If XYZ’s slightly inferior products meet their needs, perhaps you need to match their inferior products.
 
M

Michael T

#10
Ahhhh yessssss....

MS & db...

You guys are right. MS - good idea with the outside auditor. I think that would probably work very well... especially if you can show evidence where other things have been done to enhance customer satisfaction.

db - yepper... Been there with the big ticket item... Know the feeling. I'm also right in the middle of a big stink with DeWalt over lying about when an accessory is going to ship - so sometimes it goes beyond buyers remorse.

There are a lot of things are hidden behind a complaint of price.

My feeling is this. The customer has submitted an RFQ. He/she has received the quote and found it acceptable enough to place the order. Now, all of a sudden, they are asking for price concessions on future orders. What has changed? Perhaps a great deal - new entrants into the market - new technology... many things. Should we be expected to sacrafice the fruits of our labors and the rewards of manufacturing a product cost effectively to satisfy the customer? Only if we absolutely have must.

Yet, why is it that the customer feels that they have to ask for more for less? Do they think we are ripping them off? Does anyone feel ripped off when they go to the grocery store? How about when buying a stereo or computer? (I won't go into the automobile industry... been there - sold that - know what the price really is... the window sticker ain't it... neither is the "invoice" :biglaugh: )

Jim still asks an interesting question... what do we do positive about those kinds of complaints? Is education about the virtues of our product over our competitors enough? I think only if it wins the customer back to our side. I agree with Jim, BTW... it isn't a non-conformance.

Good discussion!!!!

Cheers!!!
 
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