Customer Success - Approach to Quality

Cisco has established a truly customer-focused culture throughout the organization and not just in the customer-facing departments. Everyone at Cisco is empowered to act on behalf of customers and acknowledge that we all have a role that impacts their behaviors and attitudes. Experts with years of industry knowledge and Internet business solutions experience bring high return on investments to our customers by understanding their perception of our products and services and their value. At Cisco, partnership is a key component of our strategy for delivering more complete and customized solutions to our customers. Through partnerships Cisco can offer complete networked-enabled productivity solutions that drive customer success today and in the future. We encourage our partners to use customer satisfaction knowledge to manage their businesses and improve our customer experience. Cisco promotes an environment where customer’s opportunities are constantly analyzed and maximized by implementing business practices and methodologies that increase loyalty, satisfaction and retain customers' business over their lifetimes. Customers drive our business strategies to achieving success and excellence in everything we do, and will continue to be our key focus for developing products and services that accelerate their capability to prosper in the Internet business.

Identifying and meeting our customer needs is key to Cisco’s continued business success. Listening to our customers is what determines our business strategies and drives our culture. Acting on customer input is what makes the difference in our successfully role of serving customers. Creating and managing the customer relationship is a company-wide task. Cisco as a whole defines and clearly communicates to every employee what it wants to be the basis of the customer relationship. Acquiring and continuously updating knowledge about customer needs, motivation and behavior drive our approach toward customer excellence.

The focal point of all Cisco software and hardware maintenance and support services is the Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC). The TAC is staffed by senior Customer Engineers who have experience with the Cisco product line and all aspects of data communications networking technology. The TAC provides worldwide technical support on a worldwide, 24x7 basis. Additionally, Cisco has developed Internet Commerce Applications to enable customers to manage a variety of business processes on line, including ordering networking products, tracking shipments, and accessing maintenance and warranty information. Internet commerce leverages the Internet to significantly streamline and simplify the everyday tasks of conducting businesses. These tools not only speed product delivery, they also help streamline business processes, which lowers administrative costs. Because the Internet Commerce Applications are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, our customers are able to access critical information at their convenience.

Partnership is one of the pillars of growth for Cisco. Crucial partnerships with industry-leading technology and integrator companies are managed at Cisco by the Strategic Alliances team to accelerate new market opportunities and deliver best-in-class products and solutions to our customers. Instead of the customer going out and trying to fit various solution pieces together, Cisco and its strategic alliance partners anticipate their needs and assemble those pieces. When the customer has an unmet need outside our area of core competency, we work with the respective technology units or functional line organizations to evaluate whether a partnership could help us to address that need. The best partner for a specific market is selected based on the benefits the alliance can offer to the customer, a shareable vision of business, and a commitment of executive and operating resources. Through working in partnership with technology leading companies, we ensure that a relationship of trust, teamwork and common benefit is built to deliver more complete solutions to our customers, enhancing productivity and business efficiencies.

Cisco believes in fostering an environment where highly motivated, action-oriented employees work together to continuously create and deliver high-quality, innovative products and services. The combination of Cisco's vision, mission, and cultural statement explains Cisco's Corporate Quality Policy. These items forms Cisco’s dynamic roadmap to achieving customer satisfaction and promoting continual improvement of our Quality Management System.

Our quality vision and mission is best explained by promoting customer focused, prevention based continual improvement that supports unconstrained growth. This is accomplished through:

  • Integration into existing systems
  • Easy access to quality information
  • Deployment through the entire life cycle

Cisco’s culture involves several elements that drive our business practices and strengthen our interaction with external parties:

  • Quality Team: Attracting, growing and retaining great talent is critical to sustaining Cisco's competitive advantage. Cisco believes that a high quality team will help us maintain our leadership position and ensure that we remain one of the best places to work. By recruiting the top 5% in the industry, Cisco maintains agile and innovative in the context of an ever-changing market environment.
  • No Technology Religion: Because customer satisfaction is our number one priority, Cisco employees are to actively listen, share and explore to ensure we provide the best solutions to meet our customers' needs.
  • Stretch Goals/Continuous Improvement:The focus on stretch goals is founded on a belief that to be the very best, we must continually strive to work smarter and achieve increasing levels of efficiency and productivity.
  • Teamwork: We rely on teamwork by providing a collaborative environment that thrives on working across geographical and organizational boundaries, sharing information and finding new and better ways to support each other and our customers. Teamwork brings good people and good skills together in ways that help us continue raising the bar on our success.
  • Empowerment: The Internet Revolution is about knowledge and how that knowledge is applied. It's about economies of skill and empowerment. At Cisco, empowerment is part of our culture. All employees are empowered to make decisions that achieve results.
  • Fun: Cisco continually strives for developing an environment that enables our employees to enjoy what they do. By providing a framework of learning, opportunities, teamwork, and development, we build employee loyalty and satisfaction.
  • Trust/Integrity/Giving Back: Cisco was founded in an environment of open communication, empowerment, integrity and trust. These values remain at the forefront of our culture and our business decisions. We must maintain our commitment to these values and continue building a culture that understands what is acceptable and what is not. We will never compromise on issues of integrity. We give back to our community. Just as every employee is empowered within Cisco, we contribute to the empowerment of our surrounding and global communities to help people lead rich and rewarding lives. Through education, technology and charitable giving initiatives, Cisco and its employees have taken great strides to help others in need.
  • Drive Change: We must measure ourselves against both our internal goals and against how well we execute on the opportunities in the market. One of the keys to our success has been our ability to listen to our customers and react quickly and effectively to meet their needs. Only by continuing to drive change in the industry will we stay one to two waves ahead of the competition.
  • Profit Contribution: At Cisco, profit contribution is accomplished by reassessing everything we do to ensure we place the greatest number of resources in areas that have the greatest profit potential.
  • Market Transitions: Part of Cisco's business success has always been based on our ability to take advantage of market transitions, disruptions and inflection points by adding resources and focusing on building relationships.
  • Open Communication: Good communications both internally and with our customers and partners directly affects customer success. Every member of the Cisco team is responsible for making communication a priority. This means being a good listener and taking the time to understand and respond to the issues behind the questions and concerns.
  • Customer Success: Our first priority as a company is to ensure customer success. No matter how good we are, the one thing that can bring us down is getting too far away from our customers. At Cisco, customers influence everything we do as a company and are critical success factors in fully realizing our potential to influence the entire Internet Economy.

Cisco also uses a series of key quality system components to measure, monitor, analyze and control the effectiveness of the products and services that we deliver to our customers, and the processes that form our business management system. The combination of these tools, processes and methodologies enable the implementation of a close loop system that add value to our business and stress the importance of optimizing the value of each customer relationship. On a continual basis they are revisited and improved to enhance their effectiveness and quality of the deliverable:

  • CDETS - Cisco's Defect and Enhancement Tracking System.- it's the bug tracking system for all of Cisco. It's used by over 20,000 Cisco employees across all phases of product development, sales and support, and across all technology areas. CDETS is used for software and hardware products.
  • CPDM - Cisco Product Development is an efficient and flexible product lifecycle management process - it enables planning, development and delivery of products and systems that meet or exceed customer expectations.  CPDM is governed by cross-functional decision gate reviews and approvals.
  • Product Quality Metrics - Key customer focused and internal quality measures used by Cisco to monitor performance and drive improvement
  • Defect Reduction Teams - Cross functional teams to examine production issues for all Cisco branded hardware products. Their mission is to drive issues at all phases of manufacturing which includes both factory and field quality issues, to closure. 
  • Business Objects Quality Summary - Automated data analysis system used by Cisco Quality to evaluate product reliability and quality from a customer perspective
  • Engineering Failure Analysis - Dedicated to ensuring innovation and excellence in manufacturing technology, test and component engineering, NPI (new product introduction), and closed-loop quality management.  Engineering Failure analysis represents both the organization providing field hardware failure analysis and the process by which those failures are analyzed.
  • Manufacturing Autotest, MeTeR and DOM (Date of Manufacture) - Automated tools that control testing & measure test results throughout the Cisco manufacturing process
  • Annual Customer Satisfaction Surveys - Ongoing web based surveys of the customer's perception of all aspects of Cisco's performance
  • 6-Sigma - One of the methodologies used for problem solving and continual improvement of our business processes
  • Internal Audit Process - Process to monitor the on-going effective implementation of the quality and environmental management systems. Internal Audits are used to identify best practices, identify potential areas for improvement and verify conformance to IS0 9001 and ISO 14001 requirements

Building loyalty with customers is the central role of Cisco’s efforts. We use the information obtained from customers to increase loyalty, improve processes, and to better monitor and understand customer’s concerns and expectations. Cisco has set a goal of “transforming into a true loyalty-based organization” by understanding and measuring what drives loyalty in core and new products. Networkers, Executive Briefing Center (EBC) visits, customer visits, and targeted Technical Advisory groups are some of the direct interfaces that Cisco has with customers to ensure their concerns are addressed and resources deployed to correct or prevent problems. These interactions also serve as a vehicle to gather information on products and services that is then fed back into the organizations where improvements to products, services and business processes are defined and implemented.

One method that we use to improve our customer relationship is the segmentation and analysis of customer loyalty data. The knowledge acquired from this data help us to strategize and plan how resources will be employed to reach each customer segment more effectively. It also serves as a tool to continually expand and evolve our opportunities to respond rapidly to our customers’ needs and expectations.

Cisco is committed to continuously improve performance through a process of learning from successes and failures. We manage and enhance the value to both customer and Cisco within the relationship by developing and understanding of our customers, their needs and their wants. We then use this knowledge to develop better products and services. This learning experience enables Cisco to engage in a more intimate value-added relationship.

Cisco's Internet Business Solution Group (IBSG) focuses on several industries and solutions to better target individual company needs and provide specialized expertise for these industries. It also uses workshops, return on investment (ROI) tools, and Internet Capabilities to increase the expertise of customers implementing Internet business practices in the areas of:

  • Web Foundation
  • E-Learning
  • Customer Care
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Workforce Optimization
  • E-marketplace

Customer satisfaction is essential to continually improve the effectiveness of our processes and to establish our quality objectives. Complete and reliable information about our customers represent a key and a sustainable competitive advantage for us. Cisco has created customer satisfaction metrics to monitor customer success and tie a level of employee compensation to achieving those metrics. The analysis of this information is used to determine the goals and initiatives for each year and the strategies that will make us successful in reaching those goals. Selected data is shared with our partners so that they can benefit from our customer insight and enhance services and support.

The Annual Customer Satisfaction Survey is conducted via the Internet and lets us collect feedback from customers worldwide. Satisfaction is measured on a 5-point scale (5=Very Satisfied; 1= Very Dissatisfied). Results are made available to all Cisco employees to foster quality improvement and to provide a point of reference for those areas where we may need to employ resources more productively.

In addition to the annual survey, Cisco also conducts many transactional surveys, such as: Order Management, New Product Introduction, and Technical Support..