In this new age, companies seeking success need to be not just customer-centric, but “customer-obsessed”. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, a self-declared customer obsessive, used to bring an empty chair into meetings, telling executives present that it was occupied by the customer, “the most important person in the room”. Understanding customer needs, meeting them (and letting customers know you’re meeting them): this is the way to achieve customer satisfaction and grow sales. Sounds simple? It isn’t. One major error companies make is to focus on a narrow definition of customer experience, the one carefully cultivated by the marketing department through advertising, and at point of sale. But the customer’s real, long-lasting experience of your brand starts when he takes the product out of the box at home (or at the office or factory in the case of B2B companies). This means that to be truly customer-obsessed, companies must also be obsessed with quality: quality of the product’s components, its manufacturing process, its speed of delivery, its after-sales service. And this level of obsession right across the business doesn’t come naturally: it needs to be constructed and managed.
HOW TO BUILD A “CUSTOMER OBSESSED” MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
Enter ISO 9001:2015, a new version of the standard that goes beyond a narrow definition of quality as products or services that are fit for purpose. Instead it focuses on how customers experience the business. ISO 9001:2015 involves devising then following a management system uniquely suited to the business’ – and customers’ – needs, and certified by an external accredited body such as Bureau Veritas. The ultimate aim: continuous improvement, and satisfied customers. The new standard demands that companies must understand their customers’ needs and put in place the processes and objectives to meet them. It also sets out how “customer focus” itself should be managed within the organization, with clearly defined responsibilities and strong leadership.
CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT (OR HOW TO MAKE SURE YOUR CUSTOMER STAYS SATISFIED)
One of ISO 9001:2015’s main focuses are determining and selecting opportunities for improvement that target customer needs and satisfaction. There are several ways to identify improvement projects: an important one is through non-conformities. Non-conformities can be product defects, environmental problems, service delays… essentially any problem within the organization that could negatively impact customer experience. You can find non-conformities that have a minor impact or are just a fact of life. But where you do find a non-conformity that poses a real big problem, you must take enough time to understand it, determine its causes… then take action to address it!
TRANSITION THE EASY WAY TO THE NEW ISO 9001:2015
To start the transition from ISO 9001:2008 to the new ISO 9001:2015, Bureau Veritas, one of the world’s leading certification bodies, has developed cost-effective transition packs. With several levels available according to your organization, we guide you through the process with training, a self-assessment tool and other services. In no time at all, you’ll be on the route to improved customer satisfaction and better business performance!