Each day, our customers interact with our service technicians and office staff. We assume our team is following the processes we have created, and delivering the quality of service we expect. But it’s better to prove your assumptions. For me, the purpose of our quality assurance (QA) department is to provide better intel on my business.
Years ago, we dabbled in a QA program, but it was never very formal. I’ve since realized, however, that having an established QA department has a profound effect on customer retention — which obviously contributes to growth.
A few years ago, we built a new office building. With that expansion came many months of turmoil due to the need for a temporary building and several moves within that timeframe. We lost a lot of customers through the chaos.
Once we moved into the new building, we were able to refocus and streamline our processes again. We knew we needed to “inspect what we expect.” With the help of our management team’s strong leadership, we began to develop our QA department.
As a separate division of ABC, the QA team can be unbiased with the other service divisions. Each department within ABC has a specific form that a QA specialist inspects to ensure individuals are performing at our standards. We inspect and grade our technicians in the field, as well as the recorded phone calls from the customer service representatives (CSRs) in the office’s call center. The grading process enables us to see where performance levels fall below our expectations, which then leads us to those customers who may have not received the quality of service we want to provide.
For instance, if a commercial technician falls below our expectations on an inspection report because he did not check all the bait stations, we can be proactive and immediately schedule an additional service to ensure they all are checked. If a CSR falls below our service standard, we can identify the customer and place another call to address any issues or concerns.
Across the board, the QA process also identifies those team members who need additional training. We can save customers by taking a proactive approach and evaluating how we speak to our customers on the phones, how we address our customers in a sales presentation, and how we perform our services.
DATA OVER EMOTION
Too often, we allow our emotions to dictate our actions when we tolerate or accept team members who do not follow “the process” and perform below the standards we set. For us, having a strong QA team has taken that emotional decision-making away from our division managers; subpar work from well-liked employees is no longer accepted. A strong QA program reinforces the company’s reputation and pride with the company’s team members. It also signifies a high-quality service provider to customers.
I have said several times that I can look at my market and see that the largest company in Houston is probably my cancellation list. So, when we consider “The ABCs of Growth,” we need to remember there are no more important customers than the ones we currently have.
To grow our business to the next level, ownership and management must be committed to quality, however you define it, and accept nothing less. In my estimation, you can’t afford to ignore the financial and managerial commitments of creating a QA team.
JENKINS, who rotates this column with his brothers Bobby and Dennis, is president of ABC Home & Commercial Services, Houston, Texas. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.