ISO Certification and Customer Satisfaction

Article / Ethics and Responsibility

ISO Certification and Customer Satisfaction
obafemi akintunde , Management Consultant, Nigeria

There is a craze for merit without sacrifice.

The worst betrayal an organisation can do to its customer(s) is to say what they can offer, but be unable to fulfil it eventually. Like in the instance when a company purportedly obtains the ISO certificate and yet not merits from it because of the shabby services that it's characterised with.
It's tantamount to when a company makes an elaborate advert of its product, but in reality, there is a sharp contrast between the message in the advert against what is obtainable, either because the product was not available in the market to the would-be consumer or its performance, on usage, was below expectation...
In short: it's bad advert for a company to pursue ISO certification and not improve its process and products.
I always advise organisations, at the advent of the certification project, that they recognise the fact that they have to pay the sacrifice of excellence in full and probably continue paying it, before they can truly merit that excellence.
In other words, I say you don't pursue certification in order to became viable in the market, rather you pursue the certification with an assumption that the certificate is just an evidence of the service dexterity you already possess.
Metaphorically speaking, it's like being indulged in an adverse health habit, like cigarette smoking and yet expect a clean bill of health from your doctor, instead of actually quitting smoking, eating fruits and other antioxidants, doing frequent exercise, and seeing how it goes in the medical examination.
It hurts me to say this latent truth that "ISO certification is not a business salvation, rather it's just an emblem that symbolises you're saved". You render a quality focused system, and you're a member of those elite organisations who have adopted an international best practice of renown, endorsed as so, after undergoing series of audits and examinations.
This latent truth is the reason why it become torturous when consultants advise prospective client in pursuit of ISO certification, to put certain measures and practices in place in order to achieve the internal discipline and structure deserving of ISO certification. They, the prospects, at this point, start questioning the economic viability of the certificate to their business... Even when it's apparent that the consultant is simply proffering the most cost effective/efficient and user friendly approach available.
In conclusion, let's recognise the phrase "Plan-Do-Check-Act... The ISO model for systematic approach" as the universal means of achieving and maintaining ISO certification.

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