“Tesco have admitted they took the decision to “avoid further criticism” says the The Scotsman.
Simply; complaints from some customers about the inclusion or otherwise of national flags as an indicator of producer location. We won’t go further, just read the articles and draw your own conclusions.
Tesco removes Saltire from fruit after English complaints
Outcry after Tesco drops saltires from Scottish berries
But in the world of business and specifically when implementing a Quality Management System, the importance of customer satisfaction is paramount and a cornerstone of Quality thinking.
The ISO9001:2015 Standard is clear on its requirements,
“The ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.”
And “Facilitating opportunities to enhance customer satisfaction”
But of course to sometimes meet and enhance customer satisfaction means dealing with customer complaints when your product or service falls below the expectations of your customers.
In this case from two sets of customers who have opposing views on the packaging of own brand strawberries. Not the quality of the strawberries, their ripeness, flavour, bruising or even their quantity, provenance or value for money, but the content of the packaging they came in.
Customer satisfaction in this case was so important to Tesco, that they decided that they had to react. The unintended consequence of such was upsetting a different set of customers.
A really difficult line to tread for Tesco as whatever they do, it seems likely that they are going to disappoint some customers. Time will tell how they manage this and we await further reaction with interest.
But actually, is all the noise on this issue now specifically about individual or collective customer satisfaction? Those who have actually bought these strawberries from Tesco. Well No.
There is another group of those who have, or think they have an interest in the organisations affairs. Known in ISO circles as Interested Parties.
They are people, groups, or organisations that have an interest or a stake in an organisations decisions or activities. They are affected by, or believe that they are affected by said decision or activity.
If you are an ISO certificate holder or are implementing a ISO9001 QMS, you are obliged to monitor and review information on such Interested Parties. If the issue and interested party involved are relevant to your QMS, then you cannot ignore it.
In Tesco’s case, who are they? They are, or potentially are;
- Customers - north and south of the border
- Communities - north and south of the border
- Suppliers – future production and logistics to different regions
- Regulators – government sensitivity on nationalism, packaging rules
- Competitors – thinking about how are they packaging and describing their goods
- Corporate – PR, policies and position statements
- Employees – customer complaints and dissatisfaction
- Public – press reporting and editorial, commentry on nationalism
The humble strawberry, potentially the centre of a huge organisational and PR headache for Tesco. Perhaps time to ask how you would react to your own Interested Parties?