How do you comply with 7.2.3 Customer Comunication

Michael_M

Trusted Information Resource
#1
I have a question regarding 7.2.3 Customer Communication.

Do you have a formal system to track this?

What method do you use to track this?

What do you actually track?



Background information: We are a production machine shop that manufactures parts to customer supplied requirements. We do no design or development. About 90% of all customer communications is through e-mail but sometimes customers call with inquiries about delivery times, changing delivery times, asking for quotes to be completed, etc.

Our procedure indicates that we will track all customer communications and this needs to be changed but I am not sure how and am looking for ideas.

Right now the main person responsible is not doing much other than keeping track of the e-mails. As this technically violates our procedure (we say 'all') we need to address this. The person responsible would prefer not to have to track communications but is willing to if required, we just are not aware enough to know what we should actually track. I want something that will help the company and will conform to AS9100 requirements.

If you can tell me how you track customer communications, how you use it, and when, I would be grateful.
 
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John Broomfield

Staff member
Super Moderator
#2
Re: Question regarding 7.2.3 Customer Comunication

Michael,

Comms that relate directly to a customer are kept by the person responsible for that customer in the folder with the customer's name.

Actions taken to close inquiries, requests, changes, compliments and complaints are recorded either on the document itself or on a log. Appended notes are dated and record the action taken and by whom.

Emails are converted to .pdf before filing so they can then be searched, found and marked up with actions taken, by whom and when.

Folders are on the network accessible by all authorized users. Their location and other controls are specified in the documented filing and archiving procedure so any authorized person can immediately see the status and reliably inform the customer by looking at the electronic file. Indeed, this is the objective.

John
 
P

PaulJSmith

#3
Re: Question regarding 7.2.3 Customer Comunication

We use a customer relationship management (CRM) software called GoldMine, which helps us track all of our contact with our customers.
 
R

Reg Morrison

#4
Our procedure indicates that we will track all customer communications and this needs to be changed but I am not sure how .
Did a consultant help you? Customer communication does not require a documented procedure. And, why would you self enforce a requirement of TRACKING communications?

Pay close attention to what the standard requires and don't create a bureaucratic nightmare of TRACKING anything. Folders in email management software allow for that. Not all verbal communication will have to be recorded. When more and more "non conventional" modes of communication are used, such as text messages, whatsapp, etc. you could be in a world of hurt if you self require to track communication with customers when the standard doesn't.
 

Big Jim

Super Moderator
#5
Did a consultant help you? Customer communication does not require a documented procedure. And, why would you self enforce a requirement of TRACKING communications?

Pay close attention to what the standard requires and don't create a bureaucratic nightmare of TRACKING anything. Folders in email management software allow for that. Not all verbal communication will have to be recorded. When more and more "non conventional" modes of communication are used, such as text messages, whatsapp, etc. you could be in a world of hurt if you self require to track communication with customers when the standard doesn't.
I agree with this.

Basically the standard says that you will have channels of communication available so that customers can communicate with you.

An auditor can easily confirm that by noticing that you have a working phone system and that you frequently receive orders and so on by email.

When documents and records are not required and the organization has not chosen to include the need for any topic such as the one at hand, auditors need to determine what your practice is by interviewing and observing.

This one is easy to confirm by interview and observation.
 
M

Moonlight17

#7
Hi Michael,
As with many of the posters before, we track communications with customers during daily activities:
Account managers use a CRM software to record quotes, tenders, contracts, changes.....
Customer Services use a tracking software to record requests, complaints, querys, thanks........
We don't have a documented procedure for this, it is part of the initial training when a member of staff joins these departments and can be observed by auditors (internal & external) to prove we communicate with the customer.
 
R

Reg Morrison

#8
Yes a consultant is helping us. Is this a common issue with consultants?
Unfortunately, SOME consultants develop processes and procedures that are much more complex and bureaucratic than needed, in order to "justify" the time they are charging. As I said, in my previous post, there is no requirement in the standard for you to TRACK communications. Of course you do want to have an effective system that allows you to manage the communication exchanges you have with the customers, but any decent email management application can facilitate that.

For some organizations, having a sophisticated tracking capability might be worthy, but for the average machine shop, it seems to be a bureaucracy that would not provide a return on the investment.
 

Big Jim

Super Moderator
#9
Unfortunately, SOME consultants develop processes and procedures that are much more complex and bureaucratic than needed, in order to "justify" the time they are charging. As I said, in my previous post, there is no requirement in the standard for you to TRACK communications. Of course you do want to have an effective system that allows you to manage the communication exchanges you have with the customers, but any decent email management application can facilitate that.

For some organizations, having a sophisticated tracking capability might be worthy, but for the average machine shop, it seems to be a bureaucracy that would not provide a return on the investment.
Related to that is that many consultants really only have one package that they try to make "one size fits all". A good consultant will taylor things to better fit each company.

This can be so bad that I sometimes see an ISO 9001 manual that includes provisions for MANY AS9100 requirements, including sometimes forgetting to change AS9100 to ISO 9001.
 
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