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Client satisfaction: How ISO certification can help

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What business can thrive without happy customers? A good way to keep clients content and coming back for more is to obtain certification with ISO or other international standards.

Depending on the specific standard, the certification will require you to meet exacting standards for quality control, complaint management and monitoring client satisfaction.

“Standards help you make sure customers are getting the products they’re expecting on time—and that’s key to keeping them happy,” says BDC Consultant Isabelle Ledoux, who advises entrepreneurs on ISO and other standards. Here’s why Ledoux thinks all entrepreneurs who value client satisfaction should consider getting their business certified.

1) Boosts quality control and product consistency—ISO and other standards often require you to have a solid quality control system for products and customer service. This can include developing quality management processes, monitoring product quality and conducting internal audits.

“Most smaller businesses don’t have a good quality control system,” Ledoux says. “Such a system can help you make sure customers get their orders on time and that everything will be in the box. You save money because you’re not redoing jobs and you can find the root cause of problems.”

Quality control also helps you ensure product consistency. “If products made on the night shift are different from the day shift, you’ve got a problem.”

2) Improves complaint management—Managing customer complaints well is important for staying on your customers’ good side. It also gives you information you can use to improve your business.

ISO and other standards require a system of recording client complaints and regularly evaluating them so you can improve operations.
A 2012 review of 82 studies on ISO found that one of the top benefits of getting certified was reduced customer complaints.

“Smaller businesses often don’t have a way of analyzing,” Ledoux says. “If you don’t have that, you’re at risk for repeating problems.”

3) Enhances monitoring of client needs—Some standards require you to have a system to monitor customer needs and satisfaction levels. This may include doing regular client surveys, tracking warranty claims and monitoring social media.

“Client satisfaction needs to be constantly monitored,” Ledoux says. “Looking at this data can help you adjust products to customer needs, check new technology and improve how you work with clients.”

4) Helps build a client-focused team—Standards can help you foster a customer-focused business. The certification process rallies everyone from managers on down to ensure consistent efforts aimed at making customers happy.

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