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4 Concepts and guiding principles

4.1 General

The concept of customer satisfaction outlined in 4.2, and the guiding principles set out in 4.3, provide the basis for effective and efficient processes for monitoring and measuring customer satisfaction.

4.2 Concept of customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is determined by the gap between the customer’s expectations and the customer’s perception of the product or service as delivered by the organization, and of aspects related to the organization itself.

To achieve customer satisfaction, the organization should first understand the customer’s expectations. These expectations might be explicit or implicit, or not fully articulated.

Customer expectations, as understood by the organization, form the primary basis of products and services that are subsequently planned and delivered.

The extent to which the delivered product or service and other organizational aspects are perceived by the customer to meet or exceed expectations determines the degree of customer satisfaction.

It is important to make a distinction between the organization’s view of the quality of the delivered product or service and the customer’s perception of the delivered product or service and of other organizational aspects, because it is the latter that governs the customer’s satisfaction. The relationship between the organization’s and the customer’s views on quality is further described by the conceptual model of customer satisfaction, as presented in Annex B.

Since customer satisfaction is subject to change, organizations should establish processes to monitor and measure customer satisfaction on a regular basis.

4.3 Guiding principles

4.3.1 Commitment

The organization should be actively committed to defining and implementing processes to monitor and measure customer satisfaction.

4.3.2 Capacity

Sufficient resources should be made available for and committed to monitoring and measuring customer satisfaction, and should be managed effectively and efficiently.

4.3.3 Transparency

The organization should ensure that adequate customer satisfaction information is communicated to customers, personnel and other relevant interested parties, as appropriate.

4.3.4 Accessibility

Customer satisfaction information should be easy to find and use.

4.3.5 Responsiveness

The organization should address the needs and expectations of customers in its use of customer satisfaction information


 

4.3.6 Information integrity

The organization should ensure that customer satisfaction information is accurate and not misleading, and that data collected are relevant, correct, complete, meaningful and useful.

4.3.7 Accountability

The organization should establish and maintain accountability for, and reporting on, the decisions and actions taken with respect to monitoring and measuring customer satisfaction.

4.3.8 Improvement

Increased effectiveness and efficiency of the processes to monitor and measure customer satisfaction should be a permanent objective.

4.3.9 Confidentiality

Personally identifiable information should be kept confidential and protected, unless disclosure is required by law or consent for disclosure is obtained from the person concerned.

NOTE Personally identifiable information is information that when associated with an individual can be used to identify him or her, and is retrievable by the individual’s name, address, email address, telephone number or similarly specific identifier. The precise meaning of the term differs around the world.

4.3.10 Customer-focused approach

The organization should adopt a customer-focused approach to monitor and measure customer satisfaction and should be open to feedback.

4.3.11 Competence

Organization personnel should have the personal attributes, skills, training, education and experience necessary to monitor and measure customer satisfaction.

4.3.12 Timeliness

Gathering and dissemination of customer satisfaction information should be done at the appropriate time, consistent with the organization’s objectives.

4.3.13 Comprehension

The organization should clearly and fully understand the customer’s expectations, and the customer’s perception of how well those expectations are met.

4.3.14 Continuity

The organization should ensure that monitoring of customer satisfaction is systematic and continuous.

5 Framework for monitoring and measuring customer satisfaction

5.1 Context of the organization

In planning, designing, developing, operating, maintaining and improving of processes for monitoring and measuring customer satisfaction, the organization should consider its context by:

identifying and addressing external and internal issues that are relevant to the organization’s purpose and that affect its ability to achieve the objectives of monitoring and measuring customer satisfaction;

identifying the interested parties that are relevant to monitoring and measuring of customer satisfaction, and addressing the relevant needs and expectations of these interested parties;

identifying the scope of the processes for monitoring and measuring customer satisfaction, including their boundaries and applicability, and taking into account the external and internal issues and the needs of interested parties noted above.

5.2 Establishment

The organization should establish a systematic approach to monitoring and measuring customer satisfaction. This approach should be supported by top management, leadership and commitment throughout the organization, and an organizational framework to enable the planning, design, development, operation, maintenance and improvement of processes for monitoring and measuring customer satisfaction.

Planning, design and development includes determination of the methods of implementation, and the allocation of necessary resources (see Clause 6).

Operation includes identifying customer expectations, gathering and analysing customer satisfaction data, providing feedback for improvement and monitoring of customer satisfaction (see Clause 7).

Maintenance and improvement includes the review, evaluation and continual improvement of processes for monitoring and measuring customer satisfaction (see Clause 8).

When measuring and monitoring customer satisfaction, the organization should consider and address risks and opportunities that can arise. This involves:

monitoring and evaluating processes and internal and external factors concerning risks and opportunities;

identifying and assessing specific risks and opportunities;

planning, designing, developing, implementing and reviewing corrective actions and improvements pertaining to identified and assessed risks and opportunities.

As defined in ISO 9000:2015, 3.7.9, risk is the effect of uncertainty, which can be negative or positive. In the context of customer satisfaction monitoring and measurement, an example of a negative effect is insufficient survey response rate resulting from intrusive questioning, and an example of a positive effect is that the organization reconsiders the resources associated with the monitoring of customer satisfaction as a result of a review of the related process. These risks can be addressed by reviewing the allocation and deployment of resources leading to the improvement of customer satisfaction measurement and monitoring methods.

An opportunity is related to identification of a new possible way of realizing positive outcomes, which does not necessarily arise from the organization’s existing risks. For example, the organization can identify a new product, service or process as a result of a customer suggestion provided in the course of customer satisfaction measurement.

6 Planning, design and development

6.1 Defining the purpose and objectives

As a first step, the organization should clearly define the purpose and objectives of monitoring and measuring customer satisfaction, which might, for example, include:

to evaluate customer response to existing, new or re-designed products and services;

to obtain information on specific aspects, such as supporting processes, personnel or organization behaviour;

7 Operation

7.1 General

To monitor and measure customer satisfaction, the organization should:

identify customer expectations;

gather customer satisfaction data;

analyse customer satisfaction data;

communicate customer satisfaction information;

monitor customer satisfaction ongoing.

These activities and their relationship are depicted in Figure 1, and described in 7.2 to 7.6.

Figure 1 — Monitoring and measuring customer satisfaction

7.2 Identifying customer expectations

7.2.1 Identifying customers

The organization should identify the customers, both current and potential, whose expectations it intends to determine.

Once the “customer” group has been defined, the organization should identify the individual customers whose expectations are to be determined. For example, in the consumer goods sector, such individuals might be regular customers, or they might be occasional customers. When the customer is an enterprise, one or more persons in that enterprise (e.g. from purchasing, project management or production) should be selected.

Further information and guidance is provided in Annex C. Other examples of various types of customers and considerations are provided in C.2.

7.2.2 Determining customer expectations

When determining customer expectations (see Figure B.1), the organization should consider:

stated customer requirements;

implied customer requirements;

other customer desires (“wish list”).

NOTE1 Codes of conduct for customer satisfaction (see ISO10001) can also be considered in determining customer expectations.

It is important to recognize that a customer might not always explicitly specify all aspects of the product or service. Items that are presupposed might not be specified. Some aspects might be overlooked, or may not be known to the customer.

As outlined in the conceptual model (see Annex B), it is crucial that the customer’s expectations are clearly and completely understood. How well these expectations are met will influence the customer’s satisfaction. Examples of various aspects to consider in order to better understand customer expectations are provided in C.3.

The relationship between customer expectations and customer satisfaction is further discussed in C.4.

NOTE2 Information regarding customer expectations can also be used in preparing codes of conduct for customer satisfaction (see ISO10001:—, Clause6).

7.3 Gathering customer satisfaction data

7.3.1 Identifying and selecting characteristics related to customer satisfaction

The organization should identify the characteristics of the product or service, of its delivery and of the organization, which have a significant effect on customer satisfaction. For convenience, the characteristics can be grouped into categories such as:

a) product and service characteristics;

EXAMPLE Performance (quality, dependability), features, aesthetics, safety, support (maintenance, disposal, training), price, perceived value, warranty, environmental impact.

b) delivery characteristics;

EXAMPLE On-time delivery, completeness of order, response time, operating information.

c) organizational characteristics.

EXAMPLE Personnel characteristics (courtesy, competence, communication), billing process, complaints handling, security, organizational behaviour (business ethics, social responsibility), image in society, transparency.

The organization should rank the selected characteristics to reflect their relative importance, as perceived by the customer. If necessary, a survey should be carried out with a sub-set of customers to determine or verify their perception of relative importance of characteristics.

7.3.2 Indirect indicators of customer satisfaction

The organization should examine existing sources of information for data that reflect characteristics related to customer satisfaction, for example:

frequency or trend in customer complaints and disputes (see ISO10002:—, Clause8, and ISO10003), calls for assistance, or customer compliments;

frequency or trend in product returns, product repair or other indicators of product performance or customer acceptance, e.g. installation or field inspection reports;

frequency or trend in service non conformities or other indicators of service performance, e.g. on time or delayer service delivery

other customer desires (“wish list”).

NOTE1 Codes of conduct for customer satisfaction (see ISO10001) can also be considered in determining customer expectations.

It is important to recognize that a customer might not always explicitly specify all aspects of the product or service. Items that are presupposed might not be specified. Some aspects might be overlooked, or may not be known to the customer.

As outlined in the conceptual model (see Annex B), it is crucial that the customer’s expectations are clearly and completely understood. How well these expectations are met will influence the customer’s satisfaction. Examples of various aspects to consider in order to better understand customer expectations are provided in C.3.

The relationship between customer expectations and customer satisfaction is further discussed in C.4.

NOTE2 Information regarding customer expectations can also be used in preparing codes of conduct for customer satisfaction (see ISO10001:—, Clause6).

7.3 Gathering customer satisfaction data

7.3.1 Identifying and selecting characteristics related to customer satisfaction

The organization should identify the characteristics of the product or service, of its delivery and of the organization, which have a significant effect on customer satisfaction. For convenience, the characteristics can be grouped into categories such as:

a) product and service characteristics;

EXAMPLE Performance (quality, dependability), features, aesthetics, safety, support (maintenance, disposal, training), price, perceived value, warranty, environmental impact.

b) delivery characteristics;

EXAMPLE On-time delivery, completeness of order, response time, operating information.

c) organizational characteristics.

EXAMPLE Personnel characteristics (courtesy, competence, communication), billing process, complaints handling, security, organizational behaviour (business ethics, social responsibility), image in society, transparency.

The organization should rank the selected characteristics to reflect their relative importance, as perceived by the customer. If necessary, a survey should be carried out with a sub-set of customers to determine or verify their perception of relative importance of characteristics.

7.3.2 Indirect indicators of customer satisfaction

The organization should examine existing sources of information for data that reflect characteristics related to customer satisfaction, for example:

The organization should examine existing sources of information for data that reflect characteristics related to customer satisfaction, for example:

frequency or trend in customer complaints and disputes (see ISO10002:—, Clause8, and ISO10003), calls for assistance, or customer compliments;

frequency or trend in product returns, product repair or other indicators of product performance or customer acceptance, e.g. installation or field inspection reports;

frequency or trend in service nonconformities or other indicators of service performance, e.g. on-

reports from supplier surveys conducted by customer organizations, which can reveal how the organization is perceived in relation to other organizations;

reports from consumer groups that might reveal how the organization and its products and services are perceived by consumers and users;

media reports which might reveal how the organization or its products and services are perceived, and which might themselves also influence customer perceptions;

sector/industry studies, e.g. involving a comparative assessment of characteristics of the organization’s products and services;

regulatory agency reports or publications;

comments and discussion in social media.

Such data can provide insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the product, service and related organization processes (e.g. product support, customer service, complaints handling and customer communication). The analysis of such data can help to shape indicators of customer satisfaction. It can also help to confirm or supplement customer satisfaction data gained directly from the customer.

 

7.3.3 Direct measures of customer satisfaction

 

7.3.3.1 General

While there might be indirect indicators of satisfaction (see 7.3.2), it is usually necessary to gather customer satisfaction data directly from customers. The method(s) used to gather customer satisfaction data depend on various factors, for example:

the type, number and geographical distribution of customers;

the length and frequency of customer interaction;

the nature of products and services provided by the organization;

the purpose and cost of the assessment method.

The organization should consider the practical aspects described in 7.3.3.2 to 7.3.3.4 when planning the approach and methods for gathering customer satisfaction data.Further information and guidance is provided in Annex D.

 

7.3.3.2 Selecting the method for gathering customer satisfaction data

The organization should select a method for gathering data that is appropriate to the need and the type of data that is to be collected.

The method most commonly used for gathering such data is a survey, which can be either qualitative, or quantitative, or both.

Qualitative surveys are typically designed to reveal characteristics of the product or service, delivery or the organization that are relevant to customer satisfaction. They are typically undertaken to understand or explore individual perceptions and reactions, and to uncover ideas and issues. They are relatively flexible in application, but can be subjective.

Quantitative surveys are designed to measure  the degree of customer satisfaction. They are typically conducted to collect aggregate data, using fixed questions or criteria. They are used for determining status, benchmarking, or tracking changes over time

Brief descriptions of these types of survey methods and a comparison of their relative advantages and limitations are provided in D.2.4.


7.3.3.3 Selecting sample size and method of sampling


The organization should determine the number of customers to be surveyed (i.e. the sample size) and the appropriate method of sampling, in order to gain relevant data on customer satisfaction. The goal is to obtain reliable data at minimum cost. The accuracy of the data gathered is governed by the size of the sample and the way the sample is selected, i.e. the method of sampling.
The sample size can be determined statistically to ensure the precision and confidence levels required in the findings. In addition, the method of sampling used should ensure that the resulting sample represents the population well. Both aspects are further discussed in D.3.


7.3.3.4 Developing the customer satisfaction questions


The product or service and the characteristics of the product or service, of its delivery and of the organization to be surveyed should be clearly defined. Additional characteristics can also be surveyed. When developing the questions to be posed, the organization should first determine the broad areas of interest, and then the sub-set of questions within those areas, with sufficient details to provide information about customer perception.
The scale of measurement, which depends upon how questions are worded, should also be clearly defined. Further guidance on defining the questions and consolidating them into a questionnaire is provided in D.4.


7.3.4 Collecting customer satisfaction data
The collection of data should be systematic, detailed and documented. The organization should specify how the data are to be collected. When selecting the method(s) and tool(s) for collecting data, certain aspects should be considered, for example:
a) customer type and accessibility;
b) timelines for data collection;
c) available technology;
d) available resources (skills and budget);
e) privacy and confidentiality.


When determining the frequency, period or trigger for collecting customer satisfaction data, the organization should consider aspects such as:
— the development or launch of new products and services;
— the completion of significant project milestones;
— when some relevant change is made in products and services, processes or business environment;
— when there is decrease in customer satisfaction, or variability in sales (by region, or season);
— the monitoring and sustaining of ongoing customer relationships;
— customer tolerance to frequency and complexity of surveys.
The data collection might be done by the organization itself. This can be economical and, given the organization’s knowledge of the product or service or the customer, it might yield better information. This can also result in a stronger relationship with the customer and a better understanding of customer issues. However, there is a risk that the data might be biased by the relationships of individuals involved in the survey. This risk can be avoided if the data collection is conducted by an independent third party.


7.4 Analysing customer satisfaction data


7.4.1 General

Once the data related to customer satisfaction has been collected, it should be analysed to provide information, which typically includes:
— the degree of customer satisfaction and its trend;
— aspects of the organization’s products and services or processes that might have significant impact on satisfaction;
— relevant information on competitors’ or comparable organizations’ products, services and processes;
— strengths and primary areas for improvement.
When analysing customer satisfaction data, the organization should consider the activities described in 7.4.2 to 7.4.6. Further guidance on each of these activities is provided in Annex E.


7.4.2 Preparing the data for analysis
The data should be checked for errors, completeness and accuracy, and it should be grouped into defined categories, if necessary.


7.4.3 Determining the method of analysis
The method(s) of analysis should be selected depending on the type of data collected and the objective of the analysis. The various methods for analysing data can be classified as either
a) direct analysis, involving analysis of the customer’s responses to specific questions, or
b) indirect analysis, involving the use of various analytical methods to identify potentially influential factors from a body of data.
Typically, both categories of analysis can be used to extract useful information from customer satisfaction data.


7.4.4 Conducting the analysis
The data should be analysed to gain information such as:
— customer satisfaction (overall or by customer category) and trends;
— differences in the degree of satisfaction by customer categories;
— possible causes and their relative effect on customer satisfaction;
— customer loyalty, which is an indicator that the customer is likely to continue to demand the same or other products and services from the organization.


7.4.5 Validating the analysis
The analysis and its conclusions should be validated, which can be done by various means, for example:
— segmenting the data to determine possible sources of variability;
— determining the relevance of product and service characteristics: the characteristics identified as potentially relevant to the customer and their relative importance to the customer (including greatly influence the results of the analysis performed;
— assessing the consistency of the results, by comparison with other indicators or trends in areas that also reflect customer satisfaction, e.g. sales and customer complaints.


7.4.6 Reporting results and recommendations
The results of the analysis conducted should be documented and reported, together with possible recommendations to assist the organization in identifying areas for improvement, in order to ultimately enhance customer satisfaction and serve the larger interests or mandate of the organization.
The report should provide a clear and comprehensive overview of customer satisfaction. In addition to the data collected directly from customers, there might be other characteristics or measures that reflect customer satisfaction, e.g. those cited in 7.3.2.
Key measures of relevant characteristics can be combined into a consolidated value termed the “customer satisfaction index” (CSI). The CSI might, for example, be a weighted average of customer satisfaction survey results and the number of complaints received. The CSI can be a convenient and useful way of measuring and monitoring customer satisfaction over time or space.
The report should also identify the relevant characteristics and components of customer satisfaction, as well as the potential causes of and contributors to customer dissatisfaction.


7.5 Communicating customer satisfaction information
The information gained from the measurement and analysis of customer satisfaction data should be directed to the appropriate functions in the organization, so that steps might be taken to improve the products and services, processes or strategies, in order to serve the objectives of the organization.
In order to help achieve this, the organization should:
— identify or establish the forums and processes to review customer satisfaction information;
— determine what information should be communicated to whom (including customers);
— formulate action plans for improvement;
— review implementation of action plans and outcomes in appropriate forums, e.g. management reviews.
The ongoing implementation of such actions can enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the organization’s quality management system.
Customer satisfaction information (both positive and negative) can help guide the organization to address issues related to meeting stated customer requirements. It can also help the organization to understand and address the customer’s expectations, or issues related to the customer’s perception of the delivered product or service or of the organization, and thereby enhance customer satisfaction.
Generic guidance on some of the ways in which the information might be used is provided in Annex F.


7.6 Monitoring customer satisfaction


7.6.1 General
The organization should establish a process for monitoring customer satisfaction, to ensure the information gathered is relevant and that it is used effectively to support the organization’s objectives. Guidance on monitoring activities is provided in 7.6.2 to 7.6.5.

7.6.2 Examining the customers selected and the data gathered

The organization should verify that the selection of customer(s) or customer group is aligned to the purpose of data gathering, and that the selection is complete and correct. The organization should examine the sources of customer satisfaction data, both direct and indirect, for validity and relevance.


7.6.3 Examining customer satisfaction information
Customer satisfaction information should be monitored by the organization at defined intervals, and by the appropriate level of management. The nature and scope of information monitored is unique to the organization’s needs and goals, and might include, for example:
— trends in customer satisfaction data (overall and, for example, by product, service, region, type of customer);
— comparative or competitor information;
— strengths and weaknesses of the organization’s products and services, processes, practices or personnel;
— challenges or potential opportunities.


7.6.4 Monitoring actions taken in response to customer satisfaction information
The organization should monitor the process by which relevant customer satisfaction information is provided to appropriate functions, in order to take actions intended to increase customer satisfaction.
The organization should also monitor the implementation of actions undertaken, as well as the effect of such actions on customer response related to specific characteristics, or on the overall measure of satisfaction, or support other organization objectives.
For example, if customer feedback is related to “poor delivery”, the organization should verify that actions are taken to improve delivery, and that this is reflected in improvement of customer satisfaction in subsequent customer feedback.


7.6.5 Assessing the effectiveness of actions taken
In order to assess the effectiveness of actions taken, the organization should verify that the customer satisfaction information gained is consistent with, or is validated by, other relevant business performance indicators.
For example, if the organization’s customer satisfaction measurements show a positive trend, it should typically also be reflected in related business indicators such as increased demand, increased market share, increased repeat customers and increased new customers. If the customer satisfaction measurement trend is not reflected in other business performance indicators, it might point to a limitation or flaw in the customer satisfaction measurement and communication processes.
Alternatively, it might indicate that the measurement of customer satisfaction failed to consider other factors that influence the customer’s decision.


8 Maintenance and improvement
The organization should periodically review its processes for monitoring and measuring customer satisfaction, in order to ensure that they are effective and efficient and that they yield information that is current, relevant and useful. Typical actions to consider include:
— ensuring that there is a plan, schedule and defined process for monitoring and measuring customer satisfaction;
— reviewing the process of selecting customers and characteristics to ensure they are aligned with business goals and priorities;
— ensuring that the process for capturing customer expectations (implicit and explicit) is current and comprehensive in scope and that it includes verification, where possible with the customer;
— reviewing the indirect indicators of customer satisfaction, including lost customer analysis, to ensure the sources are current, comprehensive and relevant;
— ensuring that methods and processes for direct measurement of satisfaction reflect changing customer conditions and business goals;
— reviewing the methods of analysis of customer satisfaction data to ensure they are valid and adequate;
— verifying that the various components and their relative weights reflect current business priorities, if the customer satisfaction data are consolidated into an indicator such as CSI;
— periodically reviewing the process for validating customer satisfaction information against internal data or other business indicators;
— verifying that the forum and process for ongoing review of customer satisfaction information is appropriate and adequate;
— verifying that the process for communication of customer satisfaction information to relevant functions is operational and effective, e.g. determining if the recipients find the information useful or if the information is utilized;
— identifying impediments and aids to communicating customer satisfaction information in order to promote improvement;
— reviewing risks and opportunities related to customer satisfaction measuring and monitoring;
— evaluating the effectiveness of the actions taken in relation to risks and opportunities.


NOTE Information from the use of code of conduct for customer satisfaction (see ISO 10001), complaints handling processes (see ISO 10002) and dispute resolution processes (see ISO 10003) can assist in the maintenance and improvement of processes for monitoring and measuring customer satisfaction.

Annex A
(informative)


Interrelationship of ISO 10001, ISO 10002, ISO 10003 and this document
Figure A.1 illustrates the organization’s processes related to code of conduct, complaint handling, external dispute resolution, and customer satisfaction monitoring and measuring.
Guidance in this document can be used to support the processes addressed in ISO 10001, ISO 10002 and ISO 10003. Outputs from the processes based on ISO 10001, ISO 10002 and ISO 10003 can be used as input for customer satisfaction monitoring and measurement.
NOTE A complaint can be initiated by a customer or another complainant.

 

Annex B
(informative)
Conceptual model of customer satisfaction


B.1 General
This annex provides further information on the conceptual model of customer satisfaction (introduced in Clause 4). It serves as the basis for the guidance provided in this document.


B.2 Conceptual model of customer satisfaction
The relationship between the organization’s perspectives and the customer’s perspectives regarding product and service quality is illustrated by the conceptual model in Figure B.1.

Figure B.1 — Customer satisfaction conceptual model


In this model, the customer’s expectation of product or service characterizes the product or service the customer would like to receive. The customer’s expectations are mainly shaped by the customer’s experience, the information available and the customer’s needs. These expectations might be reflected in defined requirements, or they might be assumed and undefined.
The planned product or service characterizes the product or service that the organization intends to deliver. It is generally a compromise between the organization’s understanding of the customer’s expectations, the organization’s capabilities, its internal interests and the technical, statutory and regulatory constraints applicable to the organization and the product or service.
The delivered product or service characterizes the product or service that is realized by the organization.
The degree of conformity, which constitutes the organization’s view of quality, is the extent to which the delivered product or service conforms to the planned product or service.
The customer’s perception of product or service characterizes the product or service as the customer perceives it. This perception is shaped by the customer’s needs, the business environment and alternatives available in the market.


NOTE Customer’s perception of product or service also includes other organizational aspects

Satisfaction is a judgement, an opinion expressed by the customer. The degree of satisfaction reflects the gap between the customer’s vision of the expected product or service, and the customer’s perception of the delivered product or service including other organizational aspects.


Therefore, attention should be paid to both dimensions:
a) the internal measures of quality in the realization processes;
b) the external measures of the customer’s view of how well the organization has met the customer’s expectations.

As illustrated in the conceptual model, in order to improve customer satisfaction, the organization needs to close the gap between quality expected by the customer and the customer’s perception of delivered quality. In order to do so, the organization should address each of the stages in the conceptual model cycle, i.e.:


— thoroughly understand the customer’s expectations when defining the planned product or service and ensure that the customer is fully informed about the features and limitations of the product or service (this is the area of requirements capture, communication and product and service design);
— deliver product or service in conformity with the planned product or service (this is the area of operational management and process control);
— understand the customer’s perception of the delivered product or service and enhance customer satisfaction through improvements to, and improved information about, the product or service and its constraints (this is the area of communication, marketing and customer relations).


The organization should consider that customer satisfaction is related not only to product, service and delivery characteristics, but also to other organizational aspects.

Annex C
(informative)
Identification of customer expectations

C.1 General
This annex provides further information and guidance on identifying customer expectations, as outlined in 7.2.


C.2 Identifying the customers
Different types of customers to be surveyed (for determination of customer expectations or customer satisfaction) are listed below, illustrated by examples of customers in different sectors.
a) Current customers are those who have bought or received the organization’s products and services recently. These might be:

1) regular customers who buy or receive the organization’s products and services;
EXAMPLE Regular customers of a bakery; regular users of public transportation.

2) occasional customers who periodically buy or receive the organization’s products and services.
EXAMPLE Customers of computer shops or a pharmacy.

b) Direct customers are those who buy or receive products and services directly from the organization. Such customers usually specify their expectations directly to the organization.
EXAMPLE Customers of welding equipment or tailoring service.

c) Indirect customers are those who buy or receive the organization’s products and services through a dealer, distributor, or another organization. In such cases, it is important for the organization to understand the expectations of the indirect customer, as well as the expectations of the target customer.
EXAMPLE Customers of mobile phones.

d) Potential customers are those who might be interested in the organization’s products and services, but have not yet bought or received the product or service. The expectations of such customers might be influenced by the image of the organization, because they have no experience in dealing with the organization.

e) Lost customers are those who have previously bought or received the organization’s products and services, but have ceased to have further interactions with the organization. In such cases, the organization should seek to understand the reasons for the change in the customer’s preference.


C.3 Aids to understanding customer expectations
It is the organization’s responsibility to understand the customer’s expectations and to translate them into requirements. The organization can gain a deeper understanding of customer expectations by considering such aspects as:
— the role played by the customer in designing and delivering the product or service (where applicable);

— ensuring that customer feedback is designed to reveal information on the customer’s expectations and perceived value of the delivered product or service;
— the role of other parties (e.g. a third-party deliverer, or a partner, or both) which might affect the satisfaction of customers;
— how the customer intends to use or deploy the product or service;
— customers with different abilities and needs.


C.4 Customer expectations and customer satisfaction
Customer satisfaction contains the following two separate segments:
a) satisfaction with specific elements or aspects of the delivered product or service;
b) overall satisfaction of the customer, which is not the sum (or average) of the individual elements and should therefore be evaluated separately.
The customer often specifies certain elements of the product or service that directly impact satisfaction. However, satisfaction is affected by other characteristics, whose relationship is illustrated in Figure C.1.


NOTE Figure C.1 is based on the Kano model[8].

The model in Figure C.1 links the degree of satisfaction with the fulfilment of expectation, from which different categories of influential characteristics emerge, as described below.
— “Basics” are characteristics of the product or service which the customer expects. Their fulfilment only prevents dissatisfaction. These are usually not expressed explicitly, but they are important.
EXAMPLE The fact that a pizza is served hot; an anti-lock braking system (ABS) in new cars.
— “Performance” are characteristics of the product or service which directly affect the satisfaction or dissatisfaction of the customer, i.e. the better these are fulfilled, the higher the customer’s satisfaction. The customer explicitly looks for these characteristics and attaches a high value to them.
EXAMPLE The load volume of a passenger car; gasoline consumption; the size of a pizza.
— “Latent opportunities” are characteristics of the product or service which are potentially very important or attractive to customers, but which are not currently articulated or anticipated. These offer future development opportunities and competitive advantage. If such opportunities are not fulfilled, they do not cause dissatisfaction since they were not expected or anticipated, but their fulfilment can have very positive effect on satisfaction. However, it is important to note that such characteristics are subject to change and might rapidly become “expected” factors.

EXAMPLE Unexpected free fresh flowers in hotel room; free service updates for software; additional product training support.

Figure C.1 — Relationship between various characteristics and customer satisfaction


The characteristics considered above should be regularly monitored because customer expectations continually change. For example, air conditioning in automobiles was a latent opportunity when it was first introduced, but is now considered a standard (i.e. basic) feature.
The organization should consider these characteristics when defining the product or service. By going beyond the customer’s stated expectations, the organization can enhance customer satisfaction.
The categories described above can further help the organization to prioritize potential actions for improvement that might result from the analysis of customer data, as described in E.4.3.

Annex D
(informative)
Direct measurement of customer satisfaction


D.1 General
This annex provides further information and guidance on the steps and activities associated with direct measurement of customer satisfaction, as outlined in 7.3.3.

D.2 Customer satisfaction survey methods
D.2.1 General
Survey methods measuring customer satisfaction can be broadly categorized as qualitative or quantitative. The organization should select survey methods that are appropriate to the objectives and to the type of data to be collected.


D.2.2 Qualitative surveys
D.2.2.1 General
The primary methods used for conducting qualitative surveys are in-depth personal interviews and discussion groups.

D.2.2.2 In-depth personal interviews
In-depth personal interviews can provide a wealth of information about factors that influence satisfaction and their relative importance, as well as an insight into customer expectations and perceptions. They can be conducted face-to-face or via telephone.
Face-to-face interviews allow a deeper understanding of customer expectations. Their duration can range from 45 min to 60 min, or longer. The interview might be partially structured, i.e. based on an outline which helps to address certain basic themes. It is important to allow the respondent to answer freely, and to record responses literally.
Telephone interviews are less costly and can provide results faster.

D.2.2.3 Discussion groups
Discussion groups are typically composed of five to ten participants. They provide less information at the individual level, but the confrontation and exchange of opinions in the group can reveal common opinions and perceptions regarding the principal strengths and weaknesses of the organization’s products and services, as well as the relative importance of the factors of satisfaction. Discussion groups are often a fertile source of information and ideas for improvement.
The two approaches cited above might be combined. For example, in-depth interviews might be followed up with discussion groups. The number of interviews or groups depends on the specific purpose of the survey and on the degree of similarity in the types of customers.