Am I Required to Send Out a Customer Satisfaction Survey?

No.

You have options.  The standard requires that you know your customers “perception” of your performance.  And perception is reality.  The truth is not as important as what your customers think about you.  You may be perfect but if they don”t think so then they wont repeat orders.  So this information is important and this process worthwhile doing.

A survey is one way of doing this.  Alternatively, you could telephone your customer and “obtain feedback” or even capture information informally during sales meetings or over lunch.

To be meaningful and actionable the information you collect about what your customer thinks of you should be quantifiable in some way.  Technically ISO does not restrict information to quantifiable information and you could purely subjectively make conclusions and take actions – but that is obviously flawed.  Quantifiable information could be obtained by asking for a score out of 5 or noting a response such as “good” and “OK” as positive versus a response such as “problematic” or “poor” as negative.  You could structure your conversation with the customer to capture a response about predefined subjects (you have the survey and complete it for them).

In particular the 2008 version of the standard has given more examples such as warranty information and repeat business.  These do NOT represent perception but they can be an indicator.  Other market research, second hand sales and competitive analysis can all count towards your customer satisfaction information.

Bottom line is that you need some quantifiable conclusion.  An auditor should be looking for evidence (notes, surveys, emails, etc.) of the raw data and then conclusions …..and actions.  If this information is meaningful then you should be doing something about it – to correct potential problems and to reinforce good performance.  If the information is not meaningful – then change it.  If the customer has a perception that your on time delivery is 80% then take actions to improve it to 85% (even if it really is on 75%).

Evidence to show the auditor should include the raw data, analysis, trends and conclusions and actions.  A folder, electronic records or evidence in established systems such as management review minutes (for the analysis) and the corrective/preventive/improvement action system (for action) is needed.