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Customer complaint process

Discussion in 'ISO 9001:2008 - Quality Management Systems' started by drgnrider, Mar 4, 2016.

  1. drgnrider

    drgnrider Member

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    ‘Customer A’ is a sales entity of our Corporation but does not report within our division; they also have their own QMS. We have access to a common customer complaint database separated by ‘site issuing’ locations. When they get a complaint from the end-user, they typically open a complaint, assign us as the ‘at fault’, and then close it. They then call or email us with the issue. Management does not want them to list us as the resolver of the initial complaint, instead to issue us a corrective action that we answer to. Our QMS would not recognize the end-users’ complaint, only the corrective action.


    The discussion is, since ‘Customer A’ is technically our customer, and we are not working the original complaint (already closed), when we receive their communication we should initiate a new customer complaint, thus making a second one for this issue. Management does not agree that we need to make a new complaint since the end-user complaint has already been registered.

    Your input…
     
  2. Candi1024

    Candi1024 Well-Known Member

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    I guess it depends on how the corporation uses the database and how the database works. Would it be a problem if the corporation saw each complaint twice?

    I would prefer that they didn't close the complaint, but that somehow it was reviewed and either sent to you or not, for a given reason. I am also confused that they issue a corrective action. I would hope that's a corrective action request? And that after reviewing the issue you can give a reason for not initiating a corrective action if that is the decision?
     
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  3. Qualmx

    Qualmx Well-Known Member

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    Drgnrider
    The sales department is your client.
    It is supposed that if you are responsible of the complaint, you have to solve the problem, that most of the times ia solved by applying a CA.
    You have to find the root cause and propose a solution.
    But why to raise a second complaint?
    It also it depends on the source, you could consider it as a complaint or like a CA.
    Here, there is another point of discussion what (they or you )consider as a complaint or just a CA?
    What it shouldnt be done,it is the closure, they cant close complaint until they have been verified that CA was effective, not when they sent it to you.
    Additionally, what is the
    method defined for this ( your complaints procedure)?
    hope this help
     
  4. MarkMeer

    MarkMeer Well-Known Member

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    I think that it helps to distinguish between the following:
    - a complaint (some grievance expressed by a customer) versus an event (the situation giving rise to the complaint and any implications it might have regarding device use, safety etc.)
    - a correction/remedial action (to address a particular customer's dissatisfaction) versus corrective-action (a process by which root-cause is assessed and actions are taken to prevent future occurrences)

    Given these distinctions:
    - logging a complaint and resolving to the satisfaction of the complainant is within the purview of sales ("Customer A" in your case)
    - Assessing and tracking the events and making corrective-action decisions is not something sales is generally concerned with.

    Here's an example to illustrate:
    1. A customer phones in the following complaint: "I dropped the device and it no longer works"
    2. Sales resolves the complaint by, say, issuing a replacement, giving a discount/reimbursment, etc. Customer is satisfied. Complaint closed.
    3. BUT, the event (someone dropping the device) still needs to be assessed. Could this hurt someone? Why/how was it dropped in the first place? Was it supposed to stop working under the circumstances... etc., etc. - and what, if any, corrective actions should be initiated?

    Sales generally does not have the knowledge or expertise to carry out (3) and in such cases, while the complaint is closed (customer is satisfied), the assessment of the event still needs to be documented.
    In practice, this may amount to the entire complaint record being forwarded. But this could also be refined just to forward relevant event details (because the person assessing the event shouldn't care about how the customer was placated).

    The bottom-line here is that once the event has been documented, (3) is divorced from the original complaint, and should be handled according to a different process (non-conformity assessment, corrective action....). (3) is not the "reopening" of the original complaint, or issuing a new complaint.
     
  5. drgnrider

    drgnrider Member

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    Sounds like the general consensus is:
    1) Since "our customer" (external sales) opened and closed the complaint from the end-user, they issue us a Corrective Action
    2) We act upon the Corrective Action we receive from our customer (sales)
    3) Since our QMS does not track customer complaints that sales' gets, our QMS will only register a corrective action and not a customer complaint.
     
  6. MarkMeer

    MarkMeer Well-Known Member

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    Not quite what I was getting at.
    Unless sales has some qualification/authority to issue Corrective Action (CA) requests, I'm suggesting they stick with documenting the facts of the event surrounding the complaint.
    The analysis on these events, and the decision to conduct root-cause investigation and issue CA, should be the responsibility, IMHO, of another entity.

    Otherwise, you'll end up with a tonne of CAs, most of which will never be acted on because either (a) no formal root-cause investigation was done, therefore the CA doesn't actually address root-cause; or (b) sales, in a desire to appease individual customers promises systematic corrective action, when it may not be necessary.

    In other words, corrective actions generally stem from some analysis or evaluation of data. Sales can collect the data...but generally the analysis and action decisions are handled by different authorities.
     
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  7. drgnrider

    drgnrider Member

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    I absolutely agree. CA's should be issued by us, on us... but management desires otherwise and is the option they are pursuing.

    My query was mainly about management not wanting to issue a 'Customer Complaint' from OUR customer (sales) to us. So, in lieu of a customer complaint, management wants a CA from our customer.
     

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