Volume 8 · Issue 7 · May 2003
ISO 9000 Definition of "Customer Satisfaction" Expands
TC 176 to Work on Dispute Resolution and Codes of Conduct
ISO Technical Committee (TC) 176 has agreed to assume responsibility
for the development of two new guidelines documents that will join the
ISO 9000 series once completed.
The two new work item proposals (NWIPs) to be developed are:
- ISO 10001, External customer dispute resolution systems
- ISO 10002, Market based codes of conduct.
Both lie outside of the traditional concepts of quality management and
quality assurance that mark the other ISO 9000 standards and both have
been assigned to Subcommittee (SC) 3, Supporting Technologies. They nevertheless
relate to how an organization manages its processes in dealing with customers
and other interested parties in line with ISO 9004:2000s recommendations
for performance improvement of a quality management system (QMS).
Although Working Groups (WGs) will be formed for each of the two NWIPs,
TC 176/SC 3 is developing a project structure that will also include ISO
10018, Complaints handlingGuidelines for organizations, which
is presently at the Draft International Standard (DIS) stage of development.
Dr. Kemaghan Webb of the Canadian Office of Consumer Affairs has been
asked to serve as project leader.
The linkage of the two NWIPs with ISO/DIS 10018 within the project structure
is being done "to ensure maximum compatibility between these three
related subjects," stated Annemarie de Jong, Secretary of SC 3 of
TC 176, in a May 8, 2003, letter to the participating member bodies (P-members)
of SC 3. The letter announced both the delegation of the two NWIPs to
SC 3 and requested the nomination of experts for the two WGs. According
to de Jong, the two new WGs will meet for the first time in Bucharest,
Romania, during the plenary meeting of ISO/TC 176 October 20-24, 2003.
These NWIPs were proposed by the ISO Committee on Consumer Policy (COPOLCO)
to address issues of interest and/or concern to consumers. Like ISO/DIS
10018, which will provide guidelines for the handling of complaints by
organizations, the NWIPs for ISO 10001 and ISO 10002 grew out of consumer
In the case of ISO/NWIP 10001, the concern is with the processes organizations
have in place to resolve disputes with external customers, particularly
customers that are consumers rather than businesses after internal processes
have failed. Thus, the intent is to provide guidance on setting a process
that will resolve disputes, whether the customer is a consumer or a business.
The NWIPs statement of scope indicates that such dispute resolution
systems "would be available for either a business or its customer
to give an avenue of appeal when a supplier cannot remedy a complaint
The concern behind ISO/NWIP 10002 is with the need for organizations
to establish codes of conduct for their business practices, with the codes
to be market-based. "Dr. Webb has defined codes of conduct as a
set of voluntary commitments agreed to by one or more parties designed
to influence or control behaviour to be applied in a consistent manner,"
reported Robin R. Gildersleeve, who is Communications Director for the
US QEDS (Quality, Environmental, Dependability and Statistics) Standards
Group and a member of the US Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to TC 176.
"He was paraphrasing the definition contained in Voluntary Codes:
A Guide to Their Development and Use, published by the Office of Consumer
Affairs in Canada."
Gildersleeve also indicated that the NWIP scope for ISO 10002 states
that "it is to give guidelines for code development and implementation
to ensure that claims about codes can be substantiated and are verifiable.
The standard should not prescribe what should be the content of the codes."
In other words, it will be up to each individual organization to develop
codes specific to its market(s) and needs.
Each P-member of TC 176/SC 3 has been asked to submit the names of experts
to serve on the two WGs that will develop the new work items. In the request
for experts, de Jong noted that there is a need to have the active participation
of the following types of experts in order to effectively draft these
- Representatives of consumer interest groups
- "Product providers" in various sectors of the global economy
- Individuals with experience in the standardization work of ISO/TC
The names of the individuals each P-member is nominating to serve on
one or both WGs and who will attend the first meeting in Bucharest need
to be submitted to SC 3 by August 10, 2003. While existing P-member delegates
to TC 176 clearly satisfy the third type of expert and there are adequate
experts with the second type of background, the first type of expert will
be the most difficult but important to recruit.
Gildersleeve Appointed to Serve as US TG Leader
The US TAG is fortunate to have a solid group having the second and third
types of backgrounds sought for experts to the new WGs, but the challenge
is in recruiting effective experts that represent consumer interest groups.
Partially for this reason, Jack West, Chair of the US TAG, in concurrence
with Dan Harper, who leads the US delegation to SC 3, has appointed Gildersleeve,
who is President of INFORM and Director of Communications for THE OUTLOOK
as well as QEDS Communications Director, to lead the US task group (TG)
that will develop the US positions on and provide the US Experts to the
two WGs drafting ISO 10001 and ISO 10002.
Gildersleeve has accepted the position and is focused on identifying
and recruiting experts that represent the full range of consumer interest
groups in the United States. "I have accepted this position because
I think these work items will become an important component of the ISO
9000 series regarding customer satisfaction issues, and I think that my
communication skills will serve our TAG well as we develop these new standards"
remarked Gildersleeve. "I see my role mainly as a facilitatorbringing
qualified experts on these subjects together and helping them reach a
consensus in developing these two new standards. I will represent the
US positions on ISO 10001 and ISO 10002 internationally, and Jack West
will be looking for me to work effectively with the delegations of other
countries and to persuade them to our way of thinking."
Gildersleeve emphasized that the US TAG is looking to recruit participants
who have experience in customer-related issues. "In the case of ISO
10001, we need experts who can develop US positions on and help draft
guidelines for establishing a set of consensus-based, essential criteria
for developing and implementing external customer dispute resolution systems
that will be available for either a business or its customer," stressed
Gildersleeve. "In essence, these systems will provide an avenue of
appeal when a supplier cannot remedy a complaint directly with its customer(s).
"For ISO 10002, there is a need for experts who can develop US positions
on and help draft a standard that will enhance fair trade in the marketplace
by harmonizing the use of claims about codes of conduct. The intent of
these guidelines will be to enable an organization to make accurate, verifiable
claims that are thus not misleading and will result in a reduction in
marketplace confusion, facilitate international trade, increase opportunities
for more informed purchasing decisions and improve the quality of codes
presently being used in the marketplace."
According to Gildersleeve, these two WGs will not be writing specific
codes or setting forth specifics regarding how dispute resolution is to
be conducted. "We will be developing the process for organizations
to follow in formulating these systems or codes for themselves."
The goal for ISO 10002, as defined in the NWIP, is to provide optimal
levels of consumer protection that can be applied on a global level within
individual jurisdictions and across jurisdictions, with the end result
being the improvement of an organizations processes and the creation
of a more positive image.
"When the US TAG meets August 27 and 28, this task group will need
to focus on preparing US positions on what these two standards need to
be and need to provide to the user community," explained Gildersleeve.
"This is an opportunity to develop standards that will support the
use of quality management systems in all types of organizations by addressing
customer-oriented needs that are not contained in customer specifications
and ensure public confidence in the processes and practices of those organizations.
Stockholders, consumer groups and customers want to know the organization
is prepared to operate in todays marketplace and to do so in an
effective and efficient manner, whether we are talking about production
processes or management processes."
Gildersleeve is still interested in hearing from individuals from companies
and consumer interest groups that would be interested in participating
on the US and/or international levels. Although SC 3 has requested a list
of experts for the WGs by August 10, that does not mean the US TAG is
not interested in having new members attend the Washington meeting of
the TG. For more information, please contact Gildersleeve by e-mail (Robin@TheInformedOutlook.com).
THE OUTLOOK will provide coverage of developments involving these
NWIPs and other standards being drafted in the ISO 9000 series.