Services: Who is the Customer?


Don Reid

Who is the customer?

If you installed ISO9000 in a funeral business that specialises in granting the last wishes of the deceased (you know the sort, where it has been stated prior to death that he/she wishes to be buried whilst dressed as Elvis, etc.), how do you check customer satisfaction?

Or, more to the point, who is the customer? Is it the relatives? It’s not their funeral. They may hand over the cash but they may well be doing it for and on behalf of the poor soul going into the ground, especially when one considers the person being buried may have made financial provision for it.

But what about other service businesses. Take a house of ill-repute (I’m being polite here. I do not want to offend anyone). Do you think that the customers would complete a customer satisfaction questionnaire?

I daresay one of you esteemed QA consultants has installed such a system in such businesses.

I would consider myself enlightened if I received a reply. I await your comments, folks……


Super Moderator
I've heard stories of the "Mustang Ranch" outside of Las Vegas having customer survey cards for awhile and I believe some of the period was during it's "receivership" period when it was actually run by the US Government. I saw a television program a few years back (I think on A&E Network) interviewing some of the "employees" and "management" and there was an emphasis on customer satisfaction and product improvement.

They also had to comply with OSHA regulations as the story is told.

Because of crazy probate and inheritance laws the relatives of the deceased would probably in the long run be the customers. Of course people would be dying to use the business anyway.

Laura M

Originally posted by Randy:
and there was an emphasis on customer satisfaction and product improvement.

Product or process improvement? :D


It's easy, we can use our customer survey during a spiritistic sèance.

Don Reid

Do you think at places like the Mustang Ranch they would utilise improvement techniques such as quick tool changeovers and minimising down time?

Jim Biz

Would not the "Estate" fo the deceased be the customer? Therefore the designated person handling the estate funds be the customer rep?

Mustang Ranch - service business? can they register 9003? smile.gif smile.gif

But seriously I do know there once was a "Gentlemans Club (ie strip joint) in Texas that actually hired a Quality/Marketing PR rep.


To what extent do you go?

Randy said:
I've heard stories of the "Mustang Ranch" outside of Las Vegas having customer survey cards for awhile and I believe some of the period was during it's "receivership" period when it was actually run by the US Government.

We recently received a Customer Complaint regarding the clean up of some small marks on her 30 yr old Aluminum siding. This usually happens on a light colored house that has mutiple layers of shingles that have to be torn off (A rip), and there is no significant overhang (eave) In spite of careful covering with tarpaulins, some of those little pieces of ashalt pin wheel themselves in between the cracks and will put a slight mark on light colored siding. We routinely clean these up upon completion of the job. Siding in good condition shows no evidence of a "spot" cleaning.

The check has been cashed a month ago. We received an "Outstanding" QA Survey and permission to list her as a reference. She will not be a repeat customer if we did the job right because we routinely install 30 yr shingles on most roofs.

The clean up spots brought back a luster to her siding that hasn't been visible for decades. She wants it taken care of. Period. We could tell her pack sand. We won't. We will send a couple of workers there on Saturday to wash/clean the entire exterior. Why? We believe in complete Customer Satisfaction. Not just saying it. So, it cost a few hundred to make her happy. Word of mouth is big in this business and it will pay off in the long run! Just another slant on real Customer satisfaction.

Disclaimer: This post is not intended to be advertising in any way, shape or form! :vfunny: :smokin:
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Quite Involved in Discussions
5.2 you'd better make **** sure he gets buried in his Elvis costume. in fact, your QMS should be all about doing just that. no second chance here. the quality policy should reflect the importance of not making mistakes.

7.2.1 big elvis or little elvis?

8.2.1 heh. odd one. there are no exclusions out of clause 7, so..

in my opinion the customer is the deceased.

1.1 states that the standard applies to this type of organization.

I guess I would concentrate on finding a way to get an unbiased opinion from the people attending the customer's funeral. 8.2.1 .. "the organization shall monitor information relating to customer perception as to whether the organization has met customer requirements." that information is often overheard at funerals. however, a means would have to be found that did not interrupt the funeral and could not cast a shadow on the product, which is a dignified and somber event.

at any rate, this home would certainly not advertise its ISO 9001 certification. I'd keep it off the register entirely.

the brothel is a much simpler matter than the funeral home, in my opinion. the funeral home is not impossible though, because there is always information to be had about the quality of the service. The customer's perception is a matter of spirituality or lack of, but the information relating to customer perception is there.

how to document it without tainting the service is the tricky part, and the home directors would have the best hand at it.

Craig H.

What if the funeral was caused by overexertion at the cat house? Would the brothel list that as positive or negative feedback?

Would the cat house have to be on the mortuary's approved supplier list?


Super Moderator
Trusted Information Resource
OK, I don't want to get too morbid here, but isn't the dead body customer owned property? You are performing work to the product to prepare it, right? Therefore, the customer would be the estate of the dead body with the administrator being sort of the CEO of the estate, along with all the other friends and family. Part of the customer requirements, or specifications, would be the deceased's last wishes. After all, you wouldn't know that he wanted to be buried as Elvis if the "customer" didn't bring in a copy of the "wishes".
Yes, No?

edited portion:
As for a cat house.....
is that the little carpet lined tube that my kitty cat likes to snuggle up in when he is through blessing his human cat servants with his presence?:biglaugh:
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