Is there a mandatory requirement to notify customers of the complaint resolution in ISO 9001:2015

Matt.mv

Starting to get Involved
Hi All,

I've been scouring through the internet and these forums for some time now, unfortunately I'm unable to determine if this is a mandatory requirement of ISO 9001:2015?

  • We have a complaint process in my current role that requires the following:
  • Logging of complaints
  • Risk Assessing complaints
  • Investigating Complaints, with the intention of finding a likely root cause, to then apply appropriate Corrective Actions

However, following this there is a disagreement in how to close off complaints, I've always been taught to send a professional style communication to the customer, that informs them of the actions taken to resolve the issue, noting they should let us know if they believe this to be insufficient.

Management believe that this will actually annoy customers over all, and these messages are more hassle for staff (given they have alot more experience with these customers, I am inclined to agree on this). For the most part we deal with alot of public complaints for things such as late orders, parts missing from the order and units not working after a certain period of time.

I am hoping the wisdom of the cove will help me in determining, is there a mandatory requirement to notify customers of the complaint resolution in ISO 9001:2015?
 

chris1price

Trusted Information Resource
There is nothing in the standard to help you. There are arguments both ways.

If customers are continually seeing high levels of complaints, then a stream of letters saying "we will do better" way well cause hassle with customers as it reveals you are not making any improvements, and it sounds like senior management are not interested in improvement either. This tends to be a quick way to loose customers. However if complaint numbers are low and you are genuinely getting to root cause and resolving the issues then a polite response letter may be beneficial.
 

Matt.mv

Starting to get Involved
Appreciate the prompt response chris1price.

I agree on the point that a high number of letters stating "we will do better" serve no purpose if they are being made for the sake of it.

Senior Management are open to improvement, however getting to the root of this can be difficult depending on the issues.

Currently complaints are higher than I would like (~6 a week), but make up less than 1% of sales. I will suggest that we scrap the idea of communicating the resolved complaints to customers for now, unless required by customers, and instead focus more on the actions to resolve root causes, to then reduce overall complaints.

Thanks again!
 

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Leader
Admin
For the most part we deal with alot of public complaints for things such as late orders, parts missing from the order and units not working after a certain period of time.
Are we dealing with a business to consumer context here? If I buy something online, parts are missing when the order is received, I provide feedback (customer complaint) and the organization does not even acknowledge receiving the complaint, even less communicate with me about the remedial actions, I would be FUMING. Ditto for product that stops working, especially when the product is still under warranty. That would show an organization that does not have customer focus.

As an aside comment, the ISO 10002 guidance standard provide excellent counsel on complaints handling. That standard does offer that communication with the customer during a dispute/complaint resolution cycle is paramount.
 
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Pancho

wikineer
Super Moderator
Customer complaints should be treasured. They are your roadmap to improvement. But if you're having a lot of complaints for the same "late orders, parts missing from the order and units not working" issues, then that's telling you, additionally, that your continuous improvement process is not working.

On the closure letter, consumers are usually not interested in corrective actions. They want their individual case resolved. That's usually only a correction. Your "closure letter" may indeed include a nice, empathetic explanation of what you did to make them whole, made shortly after the correction has been done. But this is likely well before effective corrective action is taken. Corrective action modifies the process in such a way that the root cause disappears and with it the possibility of more complaints for that root cause. It takes longer to implement, likely way longer than the correction and your "customer closure letter". So if you have repetitive complaints, log in a request for corrective action and don't close it with any one customer's "closure letter". Close it only after effective corrective action. You should then see the frequency of complaints drop.

Business customers are much more interested in your corrective actions, particularly if you are a regular in their supply chain. The letter explaining both correction and corrective action is likely indispensable for them.
 

Matt.mv

Starting to get Involved
Thanks Sydney and Pancho for your feedback on this, mostly we are dealing with Business to Consumer, with the occassional Business to Business.
 

Big Jim

Admin
Although not firm, the flavor of needing to tell the customer shows up in 8.7.1c where dealing with nonconforming product is dealt with. Keep in mind that there is a correlation between 8.7 and 10.2, or at least some common ground.

8.7.1a-d lists how to deal with nonconforming outputs, stating that one or more of them need to be applied.

8.7.1c states informing the customer.

The least that could be said is that informing the customer is encouraged.
 

Cari Spears

Super Moderator
Leader
Super Moderator
... If I buy something online, parts are missing when the order is received, I provide feedback (customer complaint) and the organization does not even acknowledge receiving the complaint, even less communicate with me about the remedial actions, I would be FUMING. Ditto for product that stops working, especially when the product is still under warranty. That would show an organization that does not have customer focus. ...

I can't imagine anyone who takes the time to submit a complaint would be "annoyed" by a response.
 

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Leader
Admin
I can't imagine anyone who takes the time to submit a complaint would be "annoyed" by a response.
Exactly.

ohhh, wait a minute. Customers love being ignored when they have a complaint. :bonk::sarcasm: Actually, failing to properly deal with a complaint leads to even more dissatisfaction in most cases. Another pearl from ISO 10002.

Back to seriousness, I would love to read OP’s organization quality policy. I would dare to suspect there is something there concerning keeping customers happy.
 
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