From the day we’re old enough to understand that a knife and fork aren’t for decoration on the dinner table, we’re taught the difference that setting and achieving high standards makes in all aspects of life.
Standards set the benchmark for continuous improvement
Effective, high quality performance standards define what customers can expect; how employees are expected to behave and what needs to be done when service failures prevent those standards from being reached.
A customer centric organisation needs to do more than just resolve the immediate issue, by learning from the problem and preventing it happening again. It’s vital that customers can effectively communicate their dissatisfaction and for decisive, corrective action to follow swiftly.
If you’re in the business of serving customers and managing their complaints when things go wrong, then it’s the ISO 10002 international standard that sets out the benchmarks you should measure your organisation’s performance against.
ISO 10002 changed in 2014 – how does the new version help me?
It’s important to set some context first by looking at how global complaints practice has developed and the implications of this on the most recent 2014 revisions to ISO 10002.
Academic research into topics such as unreasonable and persistent complainant behaviour  has been combined with the front-line experience of organisations like the New South Wales Ombudsman to develop guidance for complaint professionals.
Action points for implementing the 10002 standard in your organisation
Of course, finishing your cup of coffee is just the start point. Now you need to put together a plan of action to take your organisation from its current performance to the world-class requirements you’ll have just read about in AS/NZ10002:2014.
The key lessons of successfully implementing service improvement apply, as they would to any other change programme or project. You must understand the attitude all those involved with customer service in your organisation have towards complaints.
They create your customers’ service experience through their day-to-day activities so if these people aren’t with you, then any change programme runs a higher risk of failing to deliver its benefits. Improving service requires people to change their behaviour.
2: Understand your baseline position
It’s critical to establish your current strengths and weaknesses in complaints, so you can be confident you’re improving in the right areas. Undertaking a Complaints Management Assessment will help you to understand where you need to make performance improvement changes most urgently, and which aspects of the 10002 standard are most relevant for you to look at.
3: Prioritise your improvement objectives
There’s a lot of scope to make improvements with so much ground covered by AS/NZ 10002:2014. It’s important you don’t try to solve every problem at once, but focus your attention on the most significant issues first. Use the results you achieve to build momentum and support amongst your people for further changes, as part of a managed delivery plan.
If you’ve made it to the end of AS/NZ 10002:2014, you’ll see section 9 is all about continuous improvement. This means the changes you make shouldn’t be ‘one hit wonders’, but the first step on your journey to put complaints at the heart of customer service and continuous improvement.