Customer satisfaction, when quantified, is a valuable enterprise-level outcome metric. The Department of Defense (DoD) has recognized the importance of customer-satisfaction performance measures. Since the passage of the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994, all Federal Departments and Agencies have initiated procedures to record contractor performance on in-process contracts and to use past contractor performance information in source selection.
Too often in the past, the Department of Defense relied heavily upon detailed technical and management proposals and contractor experience to compare the relative strengths and weaknesses of offers. This practice often allowed offerors that could write outstanding proposals, but had less than stellar performance, to “win” contracts even when other competing offerors had significantly better performance records and, therefore, represented a higher probability of meeting the requirements of the contract. Emphasizing past performance in source selection, can help ensure that the winning teams (prime contractors and major subcontractors) are likely to meet performance expectations. When evaluating past performance data, consideration should be given to the relevancy, complexity and ultimate mission success of the contract.
Beyond the Department’s past performance information, a Request for Proposals may ask for further evidence of customer satisfaction such as data tabulated from customer surveys or from complaints and equally important, how changes were made because of the results.
Supplier assessment programs may also be helpful in understanding how well a company is able to satisfy its customers. Suppliers have demonstrated some degree of customer satisfaction when they are accredited by a group of companies, in a particular sector, that joined together to agree on criteria and a process for assessing, exchanging and publishing supplier data to facilitate business relationships.
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