Friday, 1 February 2013

Getting Serious About Quality

Have you thought hard about Quality in your business? Approached properly, it’s an opportunity to review every aspect of what you do that will identify gaps in your processes, save on costly mistakes, and increase customer goodwill – a win, win, win situation in one.

For a smaller businesses with a hands on proprietor, procedures often won’t be documented, and eventually a lack of systems and dependence on a few key people will put a brake on growth if this is not fixed. Once the proprietor is no longer in control of operations, the systemic detail and measurability of formal Quality Assurance accreditation makes sense. Inbetween these points, stepping through your processes and formulating a Quality System is essential.

Like OHS and Disaster Recovery plans, your Quality System should be conceived as a continuous feedback loop. Your need to map out the main functions of your work, who is responsible for what, how you interact with your customers and respond to a problem, and then consider what can be done to stop the problem happening again. Policies, procedures and job descriptions should underpin each element, too.

Wherever possible, measurable indicators should be used; even in a small business you can’t rely on personal impressions from year to year to track progress and performance.

You also need to assess the risk and impacts of mistakes against the investment in time and money that you need to make to prevent or minimise their impact. Will a particular mistake literally put you out of business? Your quality planning will also need to feed into your business plans; for example, can you afford not to insure?

High Service Quality is achieved through application and planning, not by accident, and how these elements are coordinated to deliver a product or service. Quality is mapped out in a plan, and functions as a system.

In our Network Operations this map looks something like this:

On the positive side, what could service excellence do for your business?

Well Done is a Contact Centre specialist. We work with many businesses and government agencies in a variety of ways to support their operations. That is, we may be a small or major part of their Quality System.

For example –
  • We can provide simple to complex reception after hours to give the credible impression of your commitment to Customer Service in a 24x7 world.
  • We may act as the daytime reception team for businesses that don’t want the overhead of generalist staff or, properly briefed, provide the backup team for your Disaster Recovery plans.
  • Some businesses send their daytime call overflows to us to ensure that they don’t miss sales enquiries or ensure that they meet their own Key Performance Indicators.
  • We also provide escalation services to support organisations that cannot afford to miss critical calls.
Even a great Quality System will not prevent all mistakes because to err is human, but irritating though they may be, each mistake is in a way an opportunity for investigation, review and change. For the quality-minded manager, the focus must therefore be on the systems and processes to build out error – ideally backed by an effective team with a common focus on continuous improvement!