Measuring Customer Satisfaction in an ISO9001:2000 System

Some people in the ISO community are not too fond of customer satisfaction surveys. And obviously surveys are not for everyone in every situation. But I do believe that customer satisfaction surveys can be very helpful for some organizations. I wouldn’t say customer satisfaction surveys never get returned. It all depends on your product, your market, and your type of customers, of course. There is no one correct solution for every situation. In my experience you’re lucky to get back 10 percent of surveys sent out. But for a company with thousands of customers, 10 percent gives you a pretty fair picture.

Of course, you can always try to increase your survey response rate by offering some kind of incentive. Free stickers, the chance to win something, whatever.

If you feel a survey won’t work for your situation, there are other things that can be considered measurements of customer satisfaction. Again, it all depends on your situation. Maybe you could measure the quantity or percentage of repeat customers. You could measure the quantity of phone calls your customer service people get after the sale, and you could keep track of the various reasons for those customer service calls. Percentage of items returned versus sold can be a measurement of customer satisfaction. Number of complaints received, or percentage of complaints to sales, is another possible customer satisfaction measurement.

You should choose quality objective measurements that are right for your organization, that are meaningful indicators of how you’re doing, and that will pass the scrutiny of your ISO third party auditor. If you’re in doubt that your choice of measurements, you might want to hire an ISO auditor, even for just a few hours, to give you some pointers. Talk to your registrar too, they might be able to help you out at no extra charge.
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