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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Determining customer needs in a school

There is an interesting discussion in one of the linkedin groups, that ask two questions in this discussion - (i) How do you establish customer needs for a school? (ii) Who is the customer? To this discussion I replied briefly - (i) As a school authority I will establish customer needs by reviewing the admission form by which customer makes his requirements as regard to the admission sought in a class and the elective subjects communicated by him. (ii) Customers of a school are students and parents.

One of the members of the group commented, “Keshav: I understand that you would REVIEW customer needs by means of the admission form (a contract review process). What I am trying to establish is how you would initially define customer needs (as input to the design process). These are the customer needs which should be established in order to design organization structure, infrastructure, training methods and processes, measurement systems... even the information to be requested on the admission form).”

When we implement a quality management system in a school, following types of requirements are required to be determined in order to implement and maintain an effective quality management system:
- Customer requirements,
- Organization’s own requirements, and
- Statutory and regulatory requirements.

The question is how to determine customer requirements. Customer requirements are those requirements that are communicated by customer and what I feel that in the case of a school, customer requirements are communicated by customer initially at the time of taking admission and thereafter when he interacts with school authorities.

Generally customer requirements from a school are:
- Seeking admission to a particular class
- Seeking particular elective subjects
- The knowledge, abilities and competencies delivered to its students by the educational institution consistently meet statutory and regulatory requirements.
- Opening of new courses

So in order to design organization structure, infrastructure, training methods and processes, measurement systems, the school is required to meet customer requirements, organization’s own requirements and statutory and regulatory requirements.

In order to determine customer requirements:
- The school authorities should determine the customer requirements at the time of admission by review of the admission form
- The school authorities should determine effective methods of communication with students, parents and the society so that their requirements may be known to the school from time to time.

Sometimes, parents may complain or give suggestion with regard to a particular process or non availability of resource, then such communication are an effective means of establishing customer requirements. So for determination of customer requirements, the school authorities should have good communication methods in which monthly parent-teacher meetings may also play an important role.

With best wishes,

Keshav Ram Singhal

1 comment:

anshu sharma said...

You have cleared out some of the doubts I have regarding customers of schools and if their need are known to us then only it will possible to supply the required output to them otherwise demand obviously not be fulfilled.

PMG India