Taking care of relationships with ISO 20000

On occasion, you probably have thought about the complexity of personal relationships (with friends, with your family, with your spouse), but have you thought about the complexity that exists in business relationships? The elements involved in both are the same – people, and although the objectives of each one are different, the means to achieve them must be the same: understanding, dialogue and good atmosphere!

Fortunately, ISO 20000 has processes to manage these relationships; specifically, there are two:  Business Relationship Management and Supplier Management. Both, as discussed below, offer the possibility to manage something as complex as the relationship with our customers and with our suppliers, which may involve, if not properly managed, loss of customers, prestige and money.

Let´s look at these processes:

Business Relationship Management

As you know, the customer relationship is always important, and obviously should always be good. To manage this relationship, we should establish periodic reviews to consider issues such as the status of agreements (for example SLAs), and the customer can then convey their concerns about the service.

It is very important to have a claims process, and our customer must understand it. If our customer has a complaint, and it cannot be transmitted to us, without this information we can do nothing to process and resolve it, so our customer is likely to be angry. Therefore, we must offer several forms of contact: phone, email, mail (and our customer has to know this information).  For example: What do we do when Internet fails? We call our provider to ask what happened. After paying for the service for months, we need an explanation when it fails. What would happen if we had no way to contact the provider? Most likely, we will get angry and search for another supplier. Therefore, in this example we see how important it is to have a good relationship with our customers.

On the other hand, in order to meet overall customer satisfaction, we should also establish satisfaction surveys to be conducted periodically. Such surveys are a useful tool to determine the degree of satisfaction of our customers, and will provide information about what we need to do in order to improve our service. The ISO 20000 does not provide a survey model, but it is very easy to develop. As an example, or as a base, you can use those calls you have received from your mobile telephone operator to know your level of satisfaction with the service.

Supplier Management

Here we need to review the agreements and relationships with suppliers. In this case, we will also establish regular meetings with the aim of checking the contractual situation for each supplier. The supplier must always offer everything that is contractually committed, and it should be reviewed. If we detect any non-compliance with the agreement, we must ask for explanation, and the supplier in question must provide details of what happened. Otherwise, we must study the situation and make a decision, which could be to change to another supplier (or penalize the current one).

It is also important to establish a mechanism for approval of suppliers, to thereby select the best candidate (we need to establish a set of minimum requirements). Therefore, we will only work with suppliers who have gone through a selection process and have accomplished certain quality requirements.

It also is important to define a mechanism for the resolution of contractual disputes and for normal or early termination of the service, because relations with suppliers in many cases are not ideal. For example, it may be possible that, for business needs, we are interested in ending a contractual relationship that we have with a supplier (for example, because the supplier does not offer the desired quality level). We can manage this break with a procedure, which establishes the global conditions that must be met (although particular conditions must be established in the agreement with each supplier), and the steps to be followed to end the relationship.

The Customer is Always Right

If we can manage these two processes properly, the relationship we have with our customers will be closer, and we will have constant feedback about what they want, or what they need. Also, we will work with the suppliers that best meet our needs, which also will help us to provide the best service to our customers.

As they say: “The customer is always right,” so we have to listen to him and select the best tools (and suppliers) to please and satisfy him!

You can also check out free samples of  Relation processes templates to gain more knowledge.

Advisera Antonio Jose Segovia
Antonio Jose Segovia
Antonio Jose Segovia is an IT Engineer, and he has many professional certifications in the IT sector. He is also ISO 27001 IRCA and Lead Auditor qualified by BUREAU VERITAS in ISO 27001, ISO 20000, ISO 22301, ISO 27018, GDPR, and TISAX, as well as being an expert in information security, an ethical hacker, and a university professor in an online Master of Information Security program. With more than 10 years of experience in the IT sector, he has visited companies of all kinds in Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, United Kingdom, USA, Chile, Peru, and Costa Rica.