Customer Satisfaction: Measuring and Monitoring with ISO 10004

Below is a full transcript of our recent Customer Satisfaction webinar that offers an overview of ISO 10004:2018 and current customer satisfaction best practices. We also offer a live online training course to help you develop a customer satisfaction planning, implementation, and continual improvement strategy for your organization.

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Webinar Topics

  • Why should we care about customer satisfaction?
  • What are the concepts and guiding principles of measuring and monitoring customer satisfaction?
  • How do we plan, design and develop a framework for this?
  • Who should be doing this?
  • How do we ‘Operate’ a program like this?
  • What’s involved with measuring this process’s effectiveness and improving it?
  • How can we benefit from using ISO 10004?

Full Webinar Transcript

Jim:

So, what we’ll be talking about will be a conceptual model of framework, and then we’re going to finish up with an actual flow chart of what an operational model of measuring customer satisfaction would look like. So what’s in ISO 10004? Now this is going to be a really busy couple of slides here, but I just wanted to give you a quick look at the Table of Contents. You can see it’s not designed like the high-level structure. You can see over here, it starts with… These first three are the same as always in the ISO standard, scope and our reference term. Then we get to concepts and guiding principles. We’re going to be looking at that today. And then we get into up here, the framework, we’re going to look at a framework today. And then the last thing we’re going to be doing is putting together this, the operation of doing it. And then of course, maintenance and improvement. Just like any other process that you have, you want to do the exact the same thing.

Jim:

See if your customer satisfaction gathering is working, are you doing it? So the Conceptual Model. Everything has a concept. Everything on Earth began as an idea. So in this particular concept, we want to take a look at where we need to go to build a process for monitoring customer satisfaction. We’d like to find out first a little bit. We’ve got another poll here on your current understanding, your ideas of customers. We saw a lot of you type in that customers is why you’re there. And we’d like to just get a sense of maybe some of the activities that you’re currently involved in at your organization. All right.

Rick:

Looking at the poll results. Most people say, we think we understand, but we might not.

Jim:

Okay. This is a good place for us to start. And then by using ISO 10004 as a framework or model or a guideline, it can help you definitely find out whether you really truly do know or not. So most of the times… Yeah, and this is the conceptual model of measuring and monitoring customer satisfaction. Most of us start here by looking at our product or service. Then we go to delivering it to them. And you can see on the right hand side here, there’s this thing called the degree of conformance. This is our view of quality as an organization. You’re heavily met the tolerances. If it’s not a product delivery was a service well accepted? So we’re trying to decide on whether or not we’ve done it right based on our ideas of what we’re supposed to do. However, over here, we have this thing called the customer, and the customer has this perception of the product or service, and based on their perception, compared to their expectation, they’re either going to say yes, over here, you can see the degree of satisfaction.

Jim:

It is that gap between what they thought they were going to get and what they actually perceived that they got. And back to the comment, Marilyn’s comment, the contract says one thing, and over here on this side, we can tell by our measurements and looking at the calendar, did we deliver on time? Is it the right color? And so on, we can tell if we’ve met the contract requirements and that’s where most companies focus. Had we met what we said, we were going to deliver? Is it on time? Is it the right dimensions? Is it the right color? Was the service delivered for the right amount of time? If we did eye surgery, can they see better after the surgery than before?

Jim:

But it’s the customer that really decides if we’ve delivered quality or not. And it’s that piece right there that we have to get ahold of and really work on and create a program to look at as a objectively as possible. And that’s what ISO 10004 is. And customers’ expectations change. Just think of yourselves. Each one of you individually, who’s joined us today. Your expectations have changed well since March 16th, when everything closed down here in Canada and it wasn’t too much later in the States, we’ve all changed a lot of our expectations. We don’t expect to just walk into a store and get anything anymore. There’s certain services that can’t be delivered. Some places, the spas had just opened, nail spas and so on. So it’s important that we get up here, back to this box and look at customers’ expectations through their eyes.

Jim:

[00:05:23] This is always a good thing to do for your organization as well. Look at your own workflow as if you were a customer. I often talk about this in every workshop I do. I remind people to call their own company, phone your company and see what the telephone may sound like. And what’s so often the case is as companies get bigger and more sophisticated in quotes, they get these fancier and fancier and fancier mail routing systems, or phone call routing systems. And I don’t know about you, but nine times out of 10, when they give you the choice, it’s if it’s this push one, if it’s this push two, if it’s this push three, the thing that I’m trying to do with them, isn’t on that list. So my expectation, often is that I’m going to be allowed to talk to a live person. And if companies don’t have it, I tend not to use them so much. So that’s one little example of an expectation.

Jim:

Now, as with Pavlov’s conditioning, if I call a company and don’t get anybody, don’t get anybody, don’t get anybody, I eventually stop calling and look for a competitor. So we’ll see how that works out in your organization, but keep looking at yourself as if you were a customer. So up here, we have another poll for you. Rick can get that one going.

Rick:

But Jim, looking at the results we got about half the people who do actually have a well-managed process for managing and measuring rather for customer satisfaction. Sounds good.

Jim:

Thanks. And thanks for your input too. So we can see that for those of you who just do it for ISO or the end, those of you who don’t do anything consistently, maybe there’ll be something in the workshop or the webinar today that’ll give you some inspiration to try a few things. Thanks.

Jim:

So we’re into part two, the Framework for Monitoring Customer Satisfaction. And remember everything you’re seeing here is in ISO 10004. And I mentioned earlier, requirements equals needs plus expectations. And this is from ISO 9000. The definition document fundamentals of vocabulary, plus 3.6.5. As we all know the needs are right there in the contract. There’s the needs. Need 26 or any 83 or 2,970, they need to be these dimensions, this color. Or physiotherapy, I wrenched my knee putting deck boards on top of the deck, so I need this therapy. And we rely on the therapist to decide what it is that we need from them. And then the expectation is that we’re going to get what we ordered from you, of course, the right number, the right color, the right dimensions, or the right service in the case of a physiotherapy, that kind of thing. With music lessons, you expect the need is to develop better music skills. And at the end, the expectation is you’ll be able to play tunes you want to play.

Jim:

So this model starts over here on the left with identifying customer expectations. And that’s why some planned approach to customers is helpful. And the other thing that identifying customer expectations can help you do is it can help you, perhaps, get rid of some things that you’re doing the customers don’t especially want or appreciate. In fact, it’s not unusual you’ve experienced this yourselves. An organization has something maybe on their website or their art or page or whatever that they think is really terrific, it’s exciting. They think it makes it easier for the customer, but it isn’t always the case. But sometimes these things are annoying. So it’s important that you really understand what the customer expects. And that’s a hard question to ask them is that sometimes they don’t know what… I wouldn’t say they don’t know what they want. They don’t always know how to express what their expectations are.

Jim:

[00:09:51] We’ll talk a little bit about some examples. They expect responsiveness, empathy, assurance. They expect truthfulness. They expect that you can deliver what you want, and they remember that they wouldn’t have given you the business if they didn’t think the product or service was going to be perfect. So it’s the other things that are going to make or break your organization in terms of customer satisfaction, in terms of customer responsiveness. So once we know what these expectations are, now we want to gather the data. Once again, you can see that it’s a process approach, input on the left, process in the middle, outputs on the right. And the output is going to be your knowledge of the degree of customer satisfaction. So the inputs are what things are related to customer satisfaction. How well are we delivering? And then we’ll know what we need to do next.

Jim:

So those of you who don’t do a lot of this, it can help you streamline your processes, as well. As I mentioned earlier, you might be doing some things that people either don’t care about or wish you didn’t do. Or there could be something very easy and inexpensive to do that would really enhance customer satisfaction like switching from plastic bags to paper bags like Sobeys did. They probably did some customer ideas. Did some customer interviews, tried to figure out what was the best way to go. And there’s a case where Sobeys was probably looking at the industry movements, industry changes. It’s what we call indirect information. We’re going to talk about that little bit of detail later.

Jim:

And some example of indirect data would be Sobeys looking at the industry. There could be another source of indirect data. It would be the regulatory bodies, maybe anything you can think of in your own organizations where it’s not specific to the customer, industry trends, 5G is being talked about a lot these days. So you’re going to have to make a decision in your company, whether to go that direction or not. And you might, in some cases, use social media for indirect data, thinking about the people who aren’t in favor of 5G, things like that. Paper bags, plastic bags, recyclable things, compostable things changing from Styrofoam to paper that can be recycled. So there’s that indirect data.

Jim:

There’s direct data that you’re gathering. And those are specific things about your customers, where they are, geographic locations, what categories of customers they are, what type of customers they are, how much and what kinds of products you sell them, how much and what kinds of service you sell, then how much time they spend interacting with you. Those are all direct data. So we’ve got indirect and direct data. We’ve got quantitative data, which is actual numbers, and qualitative data, which is expressions of feelings about how good it was. Yes, it was great. No, it wasn’t so great. So those are four really large categories of data. And then of course there are many subcategories, insights. So part of the framework is to decide on what data you’re going to use too. You’ll see that at the end of today, when we look at the flow chart on how to put one of these programs together.

Rick:

Jim.

Jim:

Yeah.

Rick:

Sue shared a comment, I think it’s a good one. So they looked at their suppliers to support resolution. And I think that’s important too, to think about the supplier base and their role in customer satisfaction.

Jim:

Absolutely. Because what you can promise to your customers in some cases will depend entirely on how good your suppliers are. The suppliers can be also an indirect source of information by telling you industry trends that you may not be available to. So we’ve talked about some indirect indicators. I hope there are enough examples there. Let’s find out which ones you use.

Rick:

Yeah. Jim, looks like the polling mostly is… Got a couple more. I’m just looking at the trend here and many do monitor customer complaints and so forth. They monitor hard complaints like the goods return to reject type of thing, which is a mainstay too. And I think the idea of comparing yourself to the industry and maybe some competitors is showing up here as well.

Jim:

Yeah. Yeah. There’s lots of awareness going on here. And here’s some good news. Nobody said they didn’t do anything specific. So that’s terrific. Thanks. So direct indicators, we talked about those, we’ve got another list of them here. Rick’s got another poll to do.

Rick:

Just looking at the spread of the results here. And it’s looking like people are doing some pretty good segmentation. They actually are measuring interactions, looking where the different aspects that are a demographic profile of the customers and then categorizing them. So I think that’s good. I also got a comment, a couple of comments here, Marlin shares that their group meets regularly with their customers and they actually discuss customer experiences, which it sounds like a more of a qualitative type of measurement, but a pretty important one. [15:34] I want to share a comment, Lucia, he says, the customer experience manager leads the voice, the customer meeting on a regular basis. I’ll unpack that a little bit. First of all, having a customer experience manager sounds absolutely phenomenal. And then obviously thinking about it, maybe this whole webinar is thinking about the voice of the customer and representing that back into the company. This sounds wonderfully advanced to me.

Jim:

[00:15:59] So we started with what the inputs are, there’s related customers satisfaction, identified expectations, gathered the data. Now we want to analyze the data and that will give us some idea of how well we’re doing. And just again, know with good data, you’ll get good conclusions, with weak data, you’ll get weak conclusions. And again, we know that the customer is why we’re here. Everybody exists to look after customers. And sometimes we should even think about maybe firing some customers that we just can’t seem to please. And we don’t have the capacity to change our business, or don’t want to change our business to the degree that it would have to be changed in order to keep them happy. So analyzing the data, sometimes you might need the help of an expert to design how you’re going to do that.

Jim:

And some of you may have thousands of data points, and you can use statistical analysis. Others will have five data points, and we have to, as Rick pointed out, just take everything they say in a context, do the best we can with it. So analyzing the data will bring us to the next part. The communicating the customer satisfaction information. Somebody mentioned in one of the polls that they have the data, but they don’t do anything with it. It’s like having an exercise bike and hang clothes on it and using it as a clothes hanger. So we want to make sure that once we have this, and I’ve often said in management classes, communication is a synonym for life. It was from a movie I showed at Lambton College in Sarnia back in the 80’. And that phrase has stuck with me for almost well 35 years. Yeah. Communication is a synonym for life.

Jim:

So keep thinking about getting the information and think about how to communicate it too. Visually is always good–charts, graphs. Visual Learning Alliance put a scientific study that concluded that humans process visual information 60,000 times faster than text. So let’s see what your thoughts are on communicating customer satisfaction.

Rick:

It looks like Jim and everybody really, I shouldn’t say everybody, the majority or a good portion of people do communicate that data internally. Again, whether it’s accurate is another issue, but at least that information is being dispersed. That’s good.

Jim:

Great. Thanks. Thanks Rick, for communicating. Communication, customer satisfaction information. Communicating, we can explain the degree of satisfaction and trends. If we can see trends, and we’ve seen this through the COVID crisis, trending can be very helpful. It can save lives, actually, maybe not in all your organizations, but definitely it’s important that trends be well described, explained to people, make sure that they know where the trends could leave. This information can show you aspects of your products and services that can have a significant impact. Even a small impact is important sometimes. It can give you relevant information on competitors or comparable organizations’ products, services and processes. Not that you always have to meet them, but at least if you’re aware of them, it might help you stem off some issues with missing opportunities and with helping clients strengths and primary areas for improvement.

Jim:

If you’re not getting better, to your employees, it’s going to feel like you’re getting worse. So continually find areas for improvement. All of the standards require improvement. And even in every area [00:20:12] you can think of, environmental, improve environmental performance, energy, improve energy performance. So improvement is definitely a key component for every organization. That’s why you want to have a management system, is so that you can continually get better at what you do. So the last part is this operational model we talked about. So it’s going to look a bit like a flow chart. And this is what we build in the workshop that’s specific to your own organization. Start with a plan. Many of you here who have heard this [00:20:56] related to the quality world, have heard plan, do, check, act. So start with a plan, some schedule and a process. And this is going to be the process.

Jim:

[00:21:07] Look at customers who are aligned with your strategy. If you spend a lot of time on customers who are outside your core area, you may not get information that’s going to help you get better at what you do. You want to do customer satisfaction, gather customer satisfaction information. So do you know what you’re doing right? You want to know what you’re doing right, you want to know what you’re doing wrong and continue to do more of what they like and less of what they don’t like. So you can get the best information by talking to people who are your focal point. Imagine if you were trying to burn your initials into a piece of wood with a magnifying glass. On a sunny day like today, it’s sunny here in Ontario, at least. In order to burn your initials into that wood you’d have to focus the magnifying glass down to pinpoint.

Jim:

Even if you were waving the glass all over the woods, nothing would ever happen. If you’re just picking customers randomly try that one, try that one, try that one, you might not have the success you’re looking for. But if you hold the glass still, even with too big of a circle, you’re not still going to burn your initials in. So when you get pinpointed down to the people who are aligned with your strategy, the customers who you’re there for, the customers you had in mind, when you built your business, then you’ll get much better information. So then you capture their expectations. And as Ray pointed out, the getting the information face to face is important, that voice of the customer, I think that Lucia mentioned that. Voice of the customer is where you do this, that’s where you capture their expert expectations accurately.

Jim:

And try to have people involved with that exercise who are neutral, open-minded, can really listen. If you go into a customer interaction or a custom, say a focus group or whatever, with preconceived notions, you won’t come away with very helpful information. So review the indirect indicators we talked about earlier, review the directed measures we talked about earlier, whatever method you use to do your analysis, make sure that the analysis, it’s valid. And again you might not have as many data points to use statistical analysis as you need, but do the best you can. You could maybe compare what you’re getting to some industry activities that might be helpful. Ensure that the measures you end up with are the measures you’re taking. Make sure that what you’re measuring matches what your organizational priorities are. So, this can give you a clue as to whether or not you’ve chosen the right customers or you’re working or trying to please the right customers.

Jim:

If your measures aren’t matching your priorities, maybe you need to change the whole package. Validate the satisfaction data and ensure that the review of the data is effective. And only time will tell you that, only continual practice will tell you that. Assess the effectiveness of the communication that you’re sending out, and you can do this by doing the same survey internally that you’re doing externally with customers. Remember you don’t have just have external customers. You have internal customers as well. You can think of the customer expectations the same way internally as you do externally. Promote improvement, make sure that people understand that it’s their system, any improvements you make, make it make their life better. And then finally check with your ISO 9001 requirements in 6.1, assessing risks and identifying risks and opportunities. So this will definitely give you a chance to match this up and see where you need to go from there. So let’s see if you got some improving customer satisfaction activities on the hoof where you are.

Rick:

Also a comment from, from Marlin again, says “Our workflow isn’t necessarily weak, but it is evolving and got some good ideas today.” I think that’s another thing to think about too, is that no process is a be all, end all, continuous improvement is important. I think what you’re talking about here in this webinar is establishing a baseline and then seeing what happens on a continuous improvement basis. So it looks like, to me anyway, actually the workflow seems on the weak side, people think that could be better. A framework could be better and that even understanding the concepts and proliferating those into the organization is a need that most people see. That’s a good point.

Jim:

[00:26:22] Excellent. Thank you so much. Thanks everybody. So we’ve got a couple of things to show you to finish it with. One thing that’s important to keep in mind is that there’s a better way to approach monitoring. Get knowledge of the demand, not just the product or service, but what those expectations are. And then you can lean your system out a little bit by finding out what people do value and focus on doing that value work, things that really matter to customers. And once again, I can’t caution you enough, avoid the temptation to think that you know what customers want. This by the way comes from John Seddon, and you can see his name down here, Vanguard Consulting. Think about what your purpose is and measure your achievement of purpose in customer terms. And we need to be able to get into the mind of a customer and look at yourselves as if you were your own customer.

Jim:

And manage to ask [00:27:32] what do you think your purpose is? Why are you there to serve them? An improvement, continuous improvement, can never be overemphasized. And this process, measuring customer satisfaction, monitoring customer satisfaction, it’s a process, input process, [00:27:53]. Apply continual improvement to it the same way you would any other process. And you’ll be amazed at the benefits that will come to you from thinking about it like a process and applying the improvement actions the same way. So we’ve got a poll number nine, Topics for Future Webinars. We want to offer things to you. You’re taking the time to come out to us today. We want to make sure that we make it work well for you in the future.

Rick:

Yeah, you’re observing it. People are looking at more of the traditional type of skillsets, the traditional quality management type of skill sets, but there is also some interest in sort of the advanced segments that we talked about earlier. And I think that’s probably a reasonable view of where people are right now, I think before they understand or hear about some of those benefits. And we’ll ask a couple questions to wrap up just to see where people might want to go with it. But yeah, that’s not surprising.

Jim:

You’ll get an email this Friday, it’ll include the recording and a link to this training course. I’m just going to mention to you now there’s, we’ll have a link to the explanation of it. It’s runs three… I’ll just tell you about it right now. That’s ready to go runs June 22 to 24. 22, 23, 24. It’s three, three-hour sessions, noon till 3:00 each day of the 22, 23, 24. It limits to 12 participants so that we can work in groups, four groups of three, and everybody gets a lot more time that way. It’s $595, but with the code here, CUSTOMER at checkout, and we’ll put this in an email to you as well. So back to you, Rick.

Rick:

I just wanted to just wrap up some things, not so much a tell, but an ask. We intimated a little bit about this management system, professional idea. We talked about that at the beginning of the webinar where essentially things are changing in the world. Companies are going to have to become more accountable. They’re going to have to understand what stakeholder satisfaction is and so forth. All these things that ISO essentially is making explicit, not just in the core standards like ISO 9001, but in these sorts of support standards that we’re going over. So we would like… We think you guys are the core of this whole process. There’s really no one else in a typical company, if you think about, who’s the stakeholder management person, there’s no such thing.

Rick:

[00:30:22] So if you think about it, there’s an option for people to step up from an operational role into a strategic role, in a sense, fill that gap between the operational side of the business and the top managers and what they’re thinking strategically. So we’re going to beat this drum a little bit more and more and more. Essentially would like to create a community effect of people like yourselves and get input as to what you need. So right off the bat here, we’ve got questions for you instead of answers for you. So things like, what skills do you need as a quality or energy or safety management professional to advance your value within, or even in another organization? What are the skill sets? What are the roadblocks that you’re facing? If you’re trying to influence your organization to embrace these advanced ISO skills and directives. What’s the pushback that you’re going to get?

Rick:

And then following that, what tools do you need to implement these approaches and to make the process more directly relatable to your company’s profit goals? And we can’t hide from profitability. We have to make that case, obviously do every day, that there’s a cost to quality. There’s a cost of not complying with the social demands that a corporation fits into in the future. It’s going to be the same kind of thing. And then the big question for us is would you be interested in joining some private or ongoing or online group of management system professionals that would work with each other to help solve some of these related issues? And if you did want to do that, what would be the best structure be for the group? What should we do for them?

Rick:

Should we do active meetings? Should we do work groups, that sort of thing. So Jim and I are going to be reaching out to you guys in different forms. And just asking if we can talk to you one-on-one to discuss this concept and see how it might be of mutual benefit. And I’m going to hold him up a little bit. You guys will get something out of it too. He’s been working as an auditor closely with registrars. So even if you just have questions about “Gee, how might this apply to the ISO certification process?” Because most people still want to maintain their ISO certifications. Well, Jim’s a good guy to act on. So I don’t think you’ll come away from the half hour, 45 minutes or whatever we spend without some pretty good, meaningful information.

Rick:

So that’s the pitch, but just be aware that we’d like to reach out to you and we’ll be doing that. So I want to thank you for coming. If you want to stick around, Jim can address any additional questions. If you want to use the chat area, that sort of thing. For everybody. And yes. Take care of everybody.

Jim:

Thanks very much. Stay safe, everybody and hope to see you at the end of June. Thanks for all your help, Rick. I guess we can turn it off. You okay with that, Rick?

Rick:

Yes, I am. We’ll shut it down right now.

Jim:

Okay. Thanks very much everybody.