Thursday, November 28, 2013

QUALITY AND CUSTOMER SERVICE


Quality measurements in manufacturing teams are actually somewhat easy to do – simply determine the number of parts that fail in a specific and measurable manner and review those failures against the successes or targets that have been set. 

Implementation of Self Directed Teams with appropriate Scanlon or Ruckerplans are great ways of having the teams doing the work, self police themselves in fact which makes it an even more cost effective solution and helps those companies that make the effort truly stand out from their competition! 

Customer service (template and administrative) teams too are not too difficult to measure – here a quality team would be ensuring that a representative provides appropriate information based on company direction and that they do not deviate from a set script that has been assigned to them. 

In technical teams however, measuring quality is not a simple thing to do. Standard KPIs are almost always based around Quantity (for example, number of calls handled, average speed of answer etc…) whereas quality based KPIs are focused more on customer satisfaction which by definition is often a subjective measurement and more often than not based on a customers’ “perception” of the service which is often colored by previous interactions. 

However regardless of the difficulty there is absolutely still a solid and worthy reason to measure this as it ensures that your staff are being polite and empathetic to the customer and their problems. Perhaps even more importantly though, technical teams should have the technical skills that they need to solve the problem at hand – quality measurements are the perfect place to ensure that those skills are present and that the team answering the question on the phone or via email is giving the customer the right answer the first time. 

Quality measurements tied to performance appraisals are a key tool in developing staff and by having unbiased analysis conducted through an external team (or even another geographically separate team doing the same job) it is possible to incentivise teams appropriately and also determine what training opportunities or gaps exist so that the overall service provided to customers is improved. Future posts will discuss measurement tools and KPIs that are appropriate to quality in significantly greater depth – stay tuned!

Setting up and Launching a Remote Office

In the early days of my career I was responsible for setting up an operation in a different city. It was a great opportunity for me and some...