Quality Standards for Great Customer Experiences

A customer should receive the same level of service no matter who is the individual service provider.

World class quality standards

While spending the day with an installation technician during my most recent consulting assignment, it became apparent that this individual was focused on the quality of his work.

The way he took measurements and utilized his various tools were indications that he was interested in providing a quality installation.

When asked the reason for his methods, here’s his reply – “Errol, when I finish this installation, I don’t want to return because of a mistake that could have been prevented had I taken my time to do the job properly.”

As he continued with the installation, I made notes on what I felt were items that would create a quality standard for this particular installation. When the technician completed the installation, we spoke about my notes. “If I were to prepare a quality checklist for an installation of this type, do my notes contain everything that should be on that checklist?” I asked.

After reviewing the notes for a few minutes, he gave me a few additional items for the checklist. The idea for the checklist was to create a standard for all of the technicians to follow in order to ensure the customer has a great customer experience with the product after the technician departs. Here are a few ways quality standards assist in creating great customer experiences.

Standards Assist in Communicating the Customer Experience Goals – When developing quality standards, determine what the end result should look like and work backwards. It’s important that the individual service providers have a clear picture of their individual goals. Individual methods such as step sequence may be slightly different regarding task completion, but the end result should be the same.

A customer should receive the same level of service no matter the individual service provider. Make sure the standard for the end result is based upon what’s important to the customer. Service organizations such as hotels, restaurants, in home services and others where tasks are somewhat repetitive are good candidates for incorporating quality standards. Service providers can self – check their work against the standard to insure their task performance is contributing to a great customer experience.

Standards Assist In Reducing the Need for Rework – When service providers are provided with quality standards along with the proper training to perform their respective tasks, a reduction in the amount of rework usually follows. Standards combined with competence are a potent combination when attempting to provide a great customer experience.

The individual service provider must be properly trained in whatever tasks for which they’re held responsible. It’s been my experience that inadequate training leads to rework, which can lead to an unhappy customer. Take in home services for instance; usually the customer must be present in order to receive service.

Should the customer have to request an additional service call due to the initial issue not being fully resolved or perhaps the product is not functioning properly, that means the customer must once again be available. As a service provider, it’s critical to remember to value your customer’s time.

If proper training contributes to creating a great customer experience, then it’s important to make sure service providers are properly trained before providing service to customers. Rework is both expensive and a deterrent to establishing a long-term relationship with customers. When service provider training is aligned with quality standards, great customer experiences are sure to follow.

Standards Assist in Evaluating Performance – Once quality standards are properly developed and communicated, the task of evaluating performance becomes simplified. Individual service providers’ task evaluations should be objectively based upon the standards. Utilize your quality standards to assist in creating performance standards. Objective evaluations lead to better employee morale as objectivity – even when the employee’s performance falls beneath what’s required – is better than subjectivity.

Employees are more likely to better receive a negative objective evaluation than a negative subjective evaluation. Employee morale is important when attempting to create great customer experiences. Happy employees who understand how they’re being evaluated assist in creating great customer experiences.

Developing quality standards can be beneficial to your organization. Under most circumstances, creating standards is not a one-day project, but one that requires patience and long-term thinking. When making the decision on whether or not to develop and implement organizational standards, remember to think about these three points: Standards Assist in Communicating the Customer Experience Goals, Standards Assist In Reducing the Need for Rework and Standards Assist In Evaluating Performance.

Use the Right Quality Management Tools – Using the right tools to ensure meeting and monitoring quality standards is crucial to the success of any business. Whether you’re into retail, manufacturing, or commercial services, or you’re dealing with business-to-business companies, using a quality management system (QMS) can help you attain your business goals. You can learn more about a QMS designed with your needs and agility in mind at https://www.etq.com/product-overview/.

When choosing a QMS platform, make sure to check the features and benefits of the options you’re considering to get the best value for your money. Find one that offers easy-to-use applications to streamline the user experience you provide. In addition, choose a platform that can quickly adapt to the needs of your business. Most importantly, look for a quality management tool that is secure, preferably powered by cloud technology.

The other quality tools you might need include document control, nonconformance management, corrective and preventive actions (CAPA), supply chain quality, and audit management. With document control, you can create and distribute documents in one place—anytime, anywhere. Also, it defines workflows for drafting, reviewing, approving, and making controlled changes to ensure compliance and implementation of quality standards.

In audit management, you’ll have greater visibility and full control over your audit processes. Also, you can better access data locally or remotely for streamlined audit scheduling, executing, assigning, and reporting. On the other hand, CAPA allows you to identify the root causes of problems more efficiently to handle complaints and resolve other quality issues quickly.

About the Author

Recognized as “one of seven useful Twitter people for retailers to follow” by Mystery Shopping Experts of the UK, Customer Service Speaker, Author and Consultant Errol Allen utilizes his 25+ years of practical hands on experience to assist organizations in developing customer service strategies for maximum customer retention. Errol believes that a systems mindset is critical to an organization’s success in providing great customer experiences.

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