The primary focus of quality management is to meet customer requirements and to strive to exceed customer expectations. Meeting or exceeded customer expectations will be impossible without understanding their needs. Therefore customer values must be understood.

ISO 9000 defines the 7 Quality Management Principles. These are fundamental to a successful quality management system (QMS). Quality Mangement Principle 1 is Customer Focus, lets take a look at what that means.


Sustained success is achieved when an organization attracts and retains the confidence of customers. Customer interactions can be used as opportunities to create more value. Successful organisations fully understand the current and future needs of their customers.

Key benefits

Some potential key benefits are:

  • increased customer value;
  • increased customer satisfaction;
  • improved customer loyalty;
  • enhanced repeat business;
  • enhanced reputation of the organization;
  • expanded customer base;
  • increased revenue and market share.

What does this really mean?

The purpose of any organisation should be to meet or exceed customer expectations. How can we do this?

If we take the first bullet point above it mentions “increased customer value”. Do you know what your customer values?

Customer value has three dimensions:

  1. the physical attribute of the product or service. (price, quality, speed of delivery);
  2. the relationship that a customer experiences by interacting with the company; and
  3. the emotional appeal of the company or its products and services to the customer.

The package of benefits that an organization delivers to its customers through its products and services equals customer value.

It is the fundamental business philosophy for an organization, the reason they exist.

Customer Value Proposition

Informs an organization’s purpose to exist, i.e. its mission. Its clarity is the single most important dimension in strategy. 

Planning to achieve Customer Satisfaction

A successful QMS will have a systematic process that translates quality policy into measurable objectives and requirements. Laying down a sequence of steps for realizing them within a specified timeframe. Let’s look at ISO 9001:2015 and review where quality planning is required to achieve these requirements.


Establishing the quality policy

Top Management should establish, implement and maintain a quality policy. It should be appropriate to the purpose and context of the organization and supports its strategic direction;

  1. provides a framework for setting quality objectives;
  2. includes a commitment to satisfy applicable requirements;
  3. includes a commitment to continual improvement of the quality management system.

You must know what the strategic direction is, so that the policy can be aligned to this.

Does your quality policy include a commitment to satisfy applicable requirements that align to Quality Management Principle 1  – Customer Focus

Quality objectives and planning to achieve them

Organizations need to establish quality objectives at relevant functions, levels and processes needed for the quality management system. The quality objectives have to be:

  1. consistent with the quality policy;
  2. measurable;
  3. mindful of applicable requirements;
  4. relevant to conformity of products and services and to enhancement of customer satisfaction;
  5. monitored;
  6. communicated;
  7. updated as appropriate, as part of continual improvement.

If your Quality Objectives are consistent with your Quality Policy then they should be customer focused.

Example of Quality objectives

Quality objectives can be deployed as per the examples below.

Objective 1:  Improve quality Right First Time (RFT) for all customers to 99.8%: Segment by customer

Objective 2:   Implement system of KPI measures for ‘Customer On Time in Full’ (OTIF): Segment by customer

Objective 3:   Reduce the value of customer returns on each site by 50%

Objective 4:   Improve and maintain customer returns turn-around time to achieve 90% turn around in 20 working days

Each one of the above objectives focuses on the customer.

When considering Quality objectives, we need to determine:

What resources will be required?

This could be the appropriate manager, production supervisors and operators, a human resources representative and someone from sales.

Who will be responsible?

XXXX Manager.

When it will be completed?

Over the next twelve months (Jan-Dec 20xx).

How the results will be evaluated?

Detailed actions to achieve each objective can be generated using an action log.

If you would like to increase customer satisfaction through improved quality management, explore our courses here: