Quality check is a standard procedure in some industries – hospitality, manufacturing, medical/pharma; naming just 3 of the big ones. The production line for companies in these industries has quality control rolled in as standard, a dedicated physical space, team, and process all included.
It’s often not acknowledged to the same degree in other industries.
Quality is so much more than making a good quality product. There is the same level of quality required in service, it just looks a little different. More aligned to perception and feeling rather than a material object or result, but it is equally important.
The companies who really stand out and grow faster are the ones who include quality checks at the same level as they include innovation, business development, and creative marketing. It’s integrated fully into their business, how they operate and what they stand for.
Why does it have such a profound impact?
Because quality looks after people. Your people – your customers, staff, extended network.
If you go to a restaurant and you KNEW everything from your food, to the equipment, to the cooking, had been quality checked, you’d have more trust and feel more at ease, right? Or knowing every part of a car you were buying had been quality checked? It’s the same for all businesses.
Without your audience, your advocates and your reputation for quality, your business could well be in for a short-lived run.
Know Framework’s 3-Check System
Here are 3 simple, effective ways that service based B2B and B2C companies can implement quality checks into their day-to-day business operations.
Niche Customer Feedback
Check in at the ultimate source. Ask your customers outright in a clean, simple and direct way what they want.
I’ve seen more feedback gathered through multi-choice questions than free text answers and would always recommend this way of surveying your customers.
It’s vital to consider the structure of your questions. Language is important and differently phrased questions will give you different responses.
For instance, “Are you happy with the service you received” might be a yes answer, but a better way to determine customer opinion would be to ask “Would you recommend [insert your company name] for our [insert your service here] services?”.
As one of your quarterly goals, have customer satisfaction rating as one of the KPI’s. The impact is in how you ask and then what you ask. Ask a maximum of 3 questions that will take a customer less than 1 minute to compete. Ask the 3 most important questions to assess quality from your customers perspective.
Consider if you need to obtain your customer’s details, or whether you can simply ask if they would like to leave any further comments or be contacted by a member of your customer care team. This avoids hesitancy on completing the survey, and can still be tracked using various mailing platforms and tracking links.
Offer all ways you can support, listen to and deliver to your customers. They are the pulse of what you do and should be first in line for assessing the quality of your service.
Play around with your questions each quarter – you can gain the most valuable insights by simply asking questions. Instead of asking, “Did we provide you with the service you were expecting”, ask “What additional service/s would make your experience better?”.
This entire process would take a short time to set up using a feedback software platform / survey platform, and less than 2 hours a week to analyse.
Looking at the revenue you make, your existing customers, renewals, cross/up sells and referral schemes are the low hanging fruit your teams should always be connecting with and nurturing.
Think of the ROI you could gain on 2 hours per week of smart working… a no brainer, right?!
Listening to your staff’s feedback is a sure way to spot gaps in quality.
Operations are most effective when its simple, smooth and seamless. When your team are out of balance, the chances are the operational set up are throwing them out of balance. It could be there isn’t a solid enough process and there are gaps, there is no clear line of communication or accountability, or they are completing duplicated / over engineered tasks. Whatever the reason, it’s effecting your ops and culture.
One easy, fast way to gather staff feedback monthly is the Gallup 12 Questions survey. I’ve used this question-set many times. I love it because it’s less than 5 minutes for staff to complete and gives the most accurate assessment of how your staff are feeling in themselves and about the work environment.
Two key questions on here for quality:
“Do you have the materials and equipment to do your work right?
Are your associates (fellow employees) committed to doing quality work?”
If your staff perceive there is a lack of motivation to produce quality work, and / or they are lacking what they need to do their work, there is no doubt whatsoever your customers are feeling it – and your brand, rep and bottom line will, too.
Keeping track of all your goals, incentives, feedback and activity is challenging, but doing this well ensures you are using your time to make the most informed decisions to move your business and your people forward.
A platform I highly recommend for this is ZOKRI. On this platform you can connect and align your strategies and people which makes for the most efficient, effective operational set up. It also plugs into other software, integrating project management and more, so there is a solid base for keeping activity efficient, effective and your people aligned, heard and motivated.
Sense Check Together
One question I’ve always asked during 1-1’s with staff is:
“What’s frustrating you most right now?”.
This is nearly always a process or an ops issue…
- “There is a problem with the system.
- I don’t know how to use the CRM so it’s taking me longer to do things.
- I’m finding it hard to remember everything and stay organised
- I am making sales calls but they aren’t going anywhere.”
These are all operational process and system problems that are negatively impacting how work is done – which then feeds into negatively impacting your business strategies. When there are frustrations, there is always a simpler way to execute.
Processes themselves should be simple, straightforward and take the most direct route, always.
Looking at frustrations together with your staff weekly helps continue an ongoing sense-check on what you’re doing. It ensure changes are integrated and embedded into ops, as well as old and outdated processes addressed.
Be in the KNOW
Keep your finger on the pulse of what your business feels like, is saying, is omitting. This is one important way you free up time from distraction and work on what matters most, what has the greatest impact and what is right for your people and business.
- ZOKRI – for aligning effective strategy, well-being and company culture in one place. Guides for getting quality KPI’s can be found here.
- Gallup 12 Questions staff survey. You can read more about Gallup and their work here.
- Business Health Check – our very own health check quiz to get your current efficiency level and ways improve it immediately.
Photo by Raquel Martínez on Unsplash