TS16949 and Customer Feedback


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Unlike lesser standards, TS16949 is far more demanding when it comes to customer satisfaction surveys; you have to link the customer feedback to your continuous improvement programme. The following guide will not only help you meet this requirement but will also provide you with a cost-effective tool which, with a guaranteed 10:1 ROI, will be welcomed by your colleagues in sales and marketing.

Tier 1 and Tier 2 Suppliers don’t have many customers but do have plenty of contacts (purchasing, logistics, design-engineering, track-side operations, planning etc.) within each customer. Not all of these contacts will be decision-makers in their own right, but they are Key Influencers. One of our clients regularly surveys 35 contacts in one customer – and yes, that customer is a very large organisation, with operating plants around the world.

So, if the logistics manager is satisfied then the supply of call-offs is good for the next three months.

If the purchasing manager is satisfied then the supply of purchase orders is good for the next six months.

But if the design engineering manager is dissatisfied then you might not be included in the Invitation to Tender for next year’s new development.

All these contacts have a role to play in your future success. (To find out more, please call 01484 868 395)

The Problem

Traditional surveys all have their problems – poor acceptance rates, poor response rates, too few questions, un-actionable data, unattributed feedback; the list goes on.

The Solution

The InfoQuest survey box can pose 60 questions and statements, in any language, each box designated for a particular type of customer (logistics, purchasing, design-engineering etc.). All responses are attributed and we have an average worldwide response rate from hard to reach decision makers of just over 70%.
After the Survey

InfoQuest will run a full-day’s post-survey workshop with your organisation’s senior team to go through the feedback. All functions will be represented at the workshop. The survey will not be described as being for TS16949 – instead the raison d’etre will be “To Increase Profitable Sales”, through a combination of reduced churn, increased volumes and increased margins.

After an introduction to the report from InfoQuest, your directors and senior managers will be split up into small teams (ideally 3 people per team). The teams will be asked to go through the report, in depth and in detail, and to return to the main session a few hours later with a minimum of 20 ideas, based on the feedback, which will help achieve the raison d’etre. They will be expected to take a balanced approach – looking at both the top-level strategic issues and the granular individual view-points (see the sample response sheet below); and their ideas should be a mix of corrective actions, and actions to take advantage of those customers that love you, including looking for references, referrals, case-studies, more-work, pricing and margins.

In the second part of the workshop each group presents their ideas to the senior team. The ideas will have been written out on flip-charts (three action-ideas per sheet, each action with a verb, a timescale and a proposed owner) for the presentations. The current record for the number of ideas in one day is 165 (and, please, expect some duplication).

The final part of the workshop is where you and the executives score the ideas, based on the Brainstorm Scorer (see below).


If an idea costs nothing it scores 10; if there’s likely to be a big benefit it scores 10; if it can be done in less than a week it scores 10……. and so on. Your ideas will have been entered onto a spreadsheet whilst the teams were presenting them to the main group. The scores are added to the spreadsheet and the table is sorted so that the highest scoring ideas come to the top of the To Do List.

At the end of the workshop the most senior person present is asked to a) only allow the top six ideas to be worked on at any one time; b) review the actions very succinctly in your weekly operations review meeting; and c) when a To Do becomes a To Done, introduce the next highest-scoring idea.

John Coldwell runs many of the post-survey workshops. He can be reached on +44 (0)1484 868 395 or by e-mail jc[at]infoquestcrm.com

John Coldwell
From an operations background, John's attitude towards B2B customer satisfaction surveys is that they must be useful. Interesting doesn't interest him. You should be able to grab the feedback by the scruff of the neck and do something with it. For the past 15 years John has been running InfoQuest's full-day senior-team post-survey workshops around the world.


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