How a QMS can improve customer satisfaction

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Customer satisfaction is essential to business growth and longevity. A Quality Management System (QMS) allows organisations to better service their clients’ needs while reducing costs associated with mistakes, rework, and poor communication.

By first understanding what a QMS is and what is involved in implementing a Quality Management System, you can then begin to see how it is used to track growth, continual improvement, customer satisfaction and feedback.

What is a Quality Management System?

A quality management system (QMS) allows for the management of all business goals, processes, procedures and communications, compiling these into a central system with the aim of meeting customer requirements and enhancing their satisfaction.

Quality – in relation to products or services – can essentially be defined as the degree of excellence within that product or service and how it meets a customer’s expectations.

A Quality Management System is the customer-focused structure, processes, procedures, and resources needed by an organisation to implement, maintain, and continually improve the management of quality throughout the entire organisation. QMS is a global standard and can be implemented across any industry, location or business.

Implementing a QMS

Every customer will have their own definition or perception of quality and many companies are working at cross purposes with their clients, providing what they believe to be of value and importance in the eyes of their target market only to be frustrated when they lose business or receive complaints because the requirements of the customer were different than what they had in mind.

Implementing a QMS benefits every aspect of a company’s performance. As a manager you can meet your organisation’s requirements, ensuring compliance with legal requirements, regulations and provision of products and services in the most cost and resource-efficient manner, creating provision for expansion, growth, and profit.

These 12 steps are invaluable to implementing a Quality Management System, and are applicable to any kind of business, whether small or large, or producing a product or service.

  1. Clarify your organisation’s vision, mission and values and ensure all employees are educated in and understand them.
  2. Identify your organisation’s critical success factors (CSFs). CSFs help organisations meet objectives and achieve the company mission. CSF examples may be product quality, customer satisfaction, financial performance, or process improvement.
  3. Develop the metrics to measure and track the progress of your organisations CSFs. This requires goals and a way of measuring and reporting.
  4. Determine who your key customer groups are, that is the groups associated or within your organisation who understand what the customer requirements are, for example suppliers, employees and customers themselves.
  5. Ask for customer feedback as this will let you know what is important to your customer and whether you are meeting your customer’s requirements. Feedback may come from surveys, customer focus groups or social media feedback.
  6. Develop the survey tool appropriate for your product or service, and based on finding out what is important to your customers.
  7. Survey your customer groups. The feedback provides your baseline for customer perception as well as a starting point for your improvement plans as well as your progress once these improvement plans are implemented.
  8. Develop improvement plans based on the customer feedback. To achieve and measure your improvement plans, create them as SMART goals and assign them to specific employees for accountability.
  9. Resurvey your customer groups after a period of time, say 12 months, to see if and how the scores have improved. It is important to also consider changes in customer needs over that period of time.
  10. Monitor your critical success factors regularly to not only monitor progress toward goals but also correct any changes to organisation priorities and objectives.
  11. Market your satisfaction data and results, letting your potential customers know what your organisation does well, especially when it transpires into an exceptional product or service.
  12. Make sure that the technology used by your customers is user friendly, for example your website is easy to find and both easy and intuitive to use.

How to achieve and maintain satisfied customers

Customer satisfaction is essential to business growth and longevity. Organisations that recognise this can implement a simple and effective system to track growth, continual improvement, customer satisfaction and feedback. For a product or service, quality is the customer’s perception or definition of excellence. Organisations, whether large or small, will benefit greatly by implementing a system that will consistently produce a ‘quality’ product or service and will implement feedback from their customers to continue improving.

To stand out from competitors it is vital to listen to and engage with customers. A QMS allows organisations to better service their clients’ needs – both perceived and actual – and will reduce the costs associated with mistakes, rework, and poor communication.

The ways a QMS can achieve this include:

  • reducing quality issues
  • addressing issues more quickly
  • reducing human errors through training
  • identifying new cost savings
  • identifying process automation opportunities

A quality management system makes documenting data and providing accurate records straightforward, which is essential to improving the quality of products and services.

Why is QMS Documentation essential?

A certified QMS requires certain types of documents.  The documentation requirements of ISO 9001 certified Quality Management System are outlined on the ISO website.

These documents are invaluable to management by:

  • providing a clear overview of the company operations
  • providing a better understanding of the QMS
  • promoting consistency in processes
  • addressing supplier management, training management, change management, risk management and compliance management
  • showing the evidence of achieving goals and objectives

QMS documents are essentially structured in the following way:

Quality Policy: the WHY declaration statement from the organisation, showing its commitment to quality and continual improvement

Quality Manual: is a WHO, WHEN and WHERE of your QMS scope, with the structure and content fitting your organisation depending on size and complexity of your operations and the expertise of your employees

Quality Procedures: also the WHO, WHEN and WHERE in any format or structure, whether narrative or illustrative

Quality Instructions: the HOW which can be part of a quality procedure or referenced in the procedure and generally in the same structure as the procedure

Quality Records: the EVIDENCE that the processes are completed as per the Procedures and Instructions documents

Properly structured documents will make business operations much easier for both management and employees.

Documentation Requirements for ISO 9001 Quality Management System

In business, we all know that time is money. Any time you invest in implementing quality control processes and policies up front, will save time in the long run. Employees will learn and know what do, how to do it and when to do it. With a Quality Management System in place and the effective use of risk management and change management, the system will ensure that mistakes are few and far between. This will save you time and money, improve customer satisfaction and make your workplace a happier environment for your employees.

If you are considering integrating quality and structure into your business with a QMS implementation and certification we recommend you find a provider who sees QMS certification as more than just a tick in a box. Look for a provider who will add the human touch and take the time to not only understand your business but to partner with and support you through the certification process and beyond for your organisation’s ongoing success in continuous quality improvement.

At Southpac Certifications, we believe in doing things differently.

We know businesses are tired of the same old tick and flick approach, which is why we have built our reputation around Certification Differently – taking a fresh approach to certification.

We want the organisations we work with – both big and small – to see the benefits and success that ISO Certification can facilitate. We truly believe that effective management systems are a key enabler of that success and working with the right certification body can drive material improvements in system performance, resilience and reliability.

Where are you in your Quality Management Systems journey?

Contact us to start the conversation about Quality Management Systems certification.

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