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Addressing Customer Future Needs with ISO 9001

Introduction

Changes in customer behavior, needs, and expectations are indeed inevitable. Unfortunately, many organisations worldwide are not prepared and do not effectively plan to take action to address future needs. Future is relative, today was yesterday’s future, so understanding future needs and setting up processes to meet such needs is of paramount importance.

Needs and expectations could be tangible or intangible, specific or generic, clearly stated or implied, measurable or ambiguous. Organizations thrive when they explore opportunities that are associated with their customers‘ needs and expectations. Organizations that have certified their management systems can easily decipher and re-invent themselves to accomplish customers’ expectations.

Customer-focused objectives

When a customer has expressed relatively high satisfaction from a service offered, certainly, the service provider will be considered again for business in the future. Hence, organizations need to take a proper posture in determining and addressing future needs.

Certain brands dominate the market because they consistently monitor customer perception vis-à-vis changing business environment. It is important to also note that customers always have their way of determining the extent to which organisations can consistently meet their needs and expectations.

The number one quality principle is customer focus. Determining customer requirements is one of the first steps to achieving quality service delivery. To consistently increase and achieve quality service delivery, customer future needs must be explored. Customer is king.

No business survives and thrives without meaningful interaction with customers and to this end, ISO 9001 standard was developed to ensure undivided attention is given to customer needs and efforts in satisfying the customer. The standard has specified requirements for customer satisfaction enhancement through the effective application of the system. It is of utmost importance to mention here that leadership commitment is the key to ensuring customer satisfaction as well as addressing future needs as top management is to take accountability of the management system. On the other hand, leadership is to ensure that customer focus is maintained throughout the organisation and also, to ensure that customer requirements are determined, understood and consistently met.

ISO 9001 impact and its importance

My experience in auditing with over 50 companies across various sectors, including oil and gas, telecoms, manufacturing, health care, financial services, Fintech, IT, construction, and security, has proven that organizations that are ISO 9001 certified have achieved increased revenue and have expanded their clientele. This is attributed to the fact that they have established, implemented, maintained, and continually improved their quality management system based on the requirements of ISO 9001 standard. Increased revenue and expanding clientele are functions of planning and implementing actions to address customer future needs.

As a result of ISO 9001 implementation and certification, companies have developed robust customer feedback and handling mechanisms; technology-enabled rating and complaints resolution system; follow-up culture; and competent personnel.

When organizations do what they say and say what they do, the results are quite impressive!

As stated by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), ISO 9001 standard is the world’s most popular standard, counting more than 800.000 issued certificates worldwide since its first publication, in 1987, to its fifth and current edition release in 2015.

ISO 9001 standard is a customer-centric standard that is geared towards helping organisations not just to meet customer requirements or to exceed customer expectations but also to address their future needs.

For a system to be effective and achieve the intended outcomes, processes or components need to be in conformity with the determined criteria and tuned to deliver value, both internally and externally.

Benefits of ISO 9001 certification to companies and clients

There are countless benefits associated with ISO 9001 certification. The requirements of the standard are applicable to any company regardless of location or size. Several organisations classified as small, medium, micro, private, public, not-for-profit have embraced this standard and have consistently provided products and services that meet client requirements and exceed their expectations.

The journey towards understanding client future needs starts by implementing and maintaining a quality management system based on ISO 9001 standard.

Clients certified to ISO 9001 standard by PECB MS have attested to the fact that their management system has tremendously improved and continues to provide value to customers and other interested parties. These benefits include: more competent staff, increased revenue, increased clientele, waste reduction, effective sequence and interaction of processes, enhanced recognition, business sustainability, improved service turnaround times and increased customer retention.

PECB MS has certified more than 1000 organizations worldwide, including here big companies like Microsoft, Alter Domus, etc. Clients say that PECB MS is the certification body of choice.

About the Author

Innocent Atasie is a distinguished PECB MS auditor for ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 22301, and ISO/IEC 27001. He has provided audit and assessment services to over 50 companies in Africa across different sectors including oil and gas, manufacturing, health care, financial services, hospitality, security and telecoms.

He is a fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants, Nigeria, Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management and Leadership in USA, and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Strategic Managers and Leaders. Furthermore, Innocent holds a Bachelors and Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering.

About PECB MS

PECB MS is accredited by IAS to offer audit and certification services  for a wide range of ISO Standards. If you are interested to certify your management systems start by getting a Free Quote