Customer Focus using TL 9000 Requirements

ISO 9001:2000 clause 5.2, Customer Focus, simply states: top management must ensure customer requirements are determined and met with the aim of enhancing customer satisfaction.

Have you wondered about the appropriate response by top management for this requirement? The guidance in ISO 9004:2000 discusses the needs and expectations of customers. However, another source of ideas may be TL 9000.

TL 9000, the telecommunications sector scheme, expands on the ISO 9001:2000 requirements in a number of areas, including Customer Focus. These TL 9000 requirements are summarized below:

Customer Relationship Development

Top management must demonstrate active involvement in establishing and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships between the organization and its customers.

Customer Communication Procedures

Establish and maintain a documented procedure for communicating with selected customers. The documented procedure must include a:

  • Strategy and criteria for customer satisfaction
  • Method to share joint expectations and improve product quality
  • Joint review with customers at defined intervals on the status of shared expectations
  • Method to track the resolution of issues.


It is not possible to provide the same level of communication with all customers. The level provided depends on the amount of business, the history of problems, customer expectations, and other factors.

For further insight on Customer Focus, remember that clause 5.2 refers readers to 7.2.1 and 8.2.1. Clause 7.2.1 is an appropriate link for customer focus because it covers determining product requirements. Likewise, 8.2.1 is a good reference because it covers customer satisfaction.

From a TL 9000 perspective, you can see that clause 7.2.3 on Customer Communication is another useful reference. In fact, the Customer Focus section of TL 9000 refers its readers to Appendix F for “Guidance on Communication with Customers”.