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ISO 9001 and the Customer Focus Requirement

If you are familiar with the ISO9001:2008 standard you will know that it had a customer focus requirement so the need for it in ISO9001:2015 shouldn't be a surprise and it's similar. So what are the changes and why do you care?

Again it is about stressing that top management needs to care about and be focused on the customer, they are responsible for ensuring the right level of customer focus to support the business.

The big changes are that it now also includes services to clear up any confusion on if your service is a product, it also addresses the need any statutory and regulatory requirements, it's broken down into 3 parts, as follows: 

Customer, Statutory & Regulatory Requirements

Top management needs to ensure:
Customer & Applicable Statutory & Regulatory requirements are determined, understood and consistently met

ISO9001:2015 Clause 5.1.2 a

Understanding what your customer requires seems to be a pretty obvious thing to do yet do companies really take the time to do this? Do we understand the customer's real desires and their red lines? Where are they going with their products and their business, how will impact your own organisation?

To understand these things you actually need to ask and ask again, then check again that you are still meeting them, things change over time after all, if you don't ask how will you ensure you meet the requirements? You should start with a scope document or at least an agreement, you certainly need to follow up with regular customer feedback or satisfaction surveys to see where you need to improve. Once you have been told what is required you may need to run a SWOT analysis to understand the risks around your ability to deliver these things.

It is similar when you review what the required statutory and regulatory requirements are, review those with respect to your organisation and your output, does it meet it, does it create risk in your organisation? if so what is your plan to mitigate such risks.

Risk & Opportunities impacting Conformity

Top management needs to ensure:
The risks & opportunities that can affect conformity of products & services & the ability to enhance customer satisfaction are determined & addressed

ISO9001:2015 Clause 5.1.2 b.

Depending on how you tackle ISO9001:2015 Clause 5.1.2a you may very well close this out as well. A good SWOT or even strangely a FMEA approach (Failure Mode Effect Analysis) can work well. The aim is to really look at what the big risks linked to the product or service are and what you can do to reduce them while not undermining the customers need and the requirements the product or service need to meet to be of acceptable quality. 

Don't miss the keyword however in the requirements - ADDRESSED. it's not enough to document what the risks are or could be or indeed what the options are to mitigate & solve it, you actually need to do something about it (and prove that you have done this!)

Customer Satisfaction

Top management needs to ensure:
The focus on enhancing customer satisfaction is maintained.

ISO9001:2015 Clause 5.1.2 c.

Again in this clause the underlying thread of the entire ISO9001:2015 standard is in play. Top management needs to ensure that not only are you creating customer satisfaction, so you need to measure what it is for a start but they must go further, they must enhance it. That's the pesky continuous improvement requirement showing up again.

So you have a happy customer, you know this as your customer satisfaction score of 92% from them (again this month) was above your 90% target... so have you sat as a leadership team and asked how you will move from 92% to say 94 or 95%? what are the steps as an organisation you need to take to enhance and improve the experience of dealing with you as a partner?


 Customer satisfaction is a key element in any business, without satisfied customers you eventually start to loose returning customers. We all know a returning customer is far cheaper than a new customer but how do you do that? You need to talk with your customers to understand their needs, what requirements do they have for their products, what are their statutory & regulatory requirements as well as your own. You need to measure their satisfaction on a regular basis, the frequency is yours to decide on what is practicable and what will add value to yours and their processes and experience.

Top Management need to be part of the Monthly Quality Management Review and a key section of this review should be Customer satisfaction, in fact it should be more than that, it should be Customer Experience. Think about how you can move from just being focused on satisfaction - the products or services you provide work as required, they are delivered on time is that really enough? 


ISO9000 and The Customer Experience

A lot of the time when you ask companies about their ISO9000 compliance they are ever so eager to show you their quality statistics, the Xbar charts and a multitude of other charts, talk about their outgoing and incoming quality checks and of course customer returns levels. All of which is great, but that's only a part of ISO9000 and some would argue not the major part of it...

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