How to handle customer related processes
Does your organization have processes in place to determine customer requirements? What about a process to review those requirements and make sure that you can meet those requirements?
Determination of Requirements
Your goal here is to set up a process to make sure that however an order is accepted, all the requirements for that order are determined. Every organization will have different types of requirements, so you must do some planning up front to identify what information you need to get from the customer.
The use of order forms that prompt personnel to ask the right questions is a good tool to use here. You may also use a similar technique to make sure that the customer fills in all the relevant information. Good up front planning while you set up your process will identify all of the types of information you may need to collect.
Review of requirements
Your process must include a step for reviewing the requirements, and making sure that you can meet those requirements. You must understand your process and know at what point you are accepting the order, saying yes you can meet requirements. You will need a record of this review and acceptance.
You will also need to consider how you handle changes to orders, you must review the changes to ensure that you can meet the new requirements.
Evaluate the ways you use to communicate with customers. Do you have customer service that takes orders? A catalog that communicates what you have to offer? Are your methods achieving planned results- that is are they effective? If so, would you benefit from formalizing them as a procedure, or is training sufficient to make sure that communication is effective and consistent?