QS-9000 Customer Satisfaction Monitoring Isn't Working

Article

Loomis, William Robert   (1999, ASQ)   Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, Ann Arbor, MI

Quality Progress    Vol. 32    No. 7
QICID: 13412    July 1999    pp. 54-59
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Article Abstract

Small and midsize companies should go beyond the marketing survey to listen to their customers. Customer monitoring in the automotive industry has not been served well by QS-9000. This is evident in sub-element 4.1.6, Customer Satisfaction, which some readers interpret as focusing on surveys for data collection. The element also deals with benchmarking and the differentiation among internal, external, and final customers, concepts that are problematical for smaller suppliers. The monitoring of customer satisfaction by small and midsize suppliers has not worked because: these companies and their end customers are distanced by intermediaries like distributors and original equipment manufacturers; customers sometimes do not answer surveys completely or truthfully; smaller companies have not taken the time to design appropriate questions and define their survey populations; and customer satisfaction too often focuses on performance while sidestepping expectation and importance. The Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center suggests better data collection techniques for retaining customers. Companies should append historic sales pattern data to the single numbers that a closed survey might produce. Other sources that add value to customer analyses are complaint reports and accounting information. Companies should improve how they listen to customers, through devices like focus groups, in-depth conversations, and purchased marketing studies.

Keywords

Customer satisfaction (CS),Customer surveys,Measurement and control,QS 9000,Small business,Suppliers,Surveys


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