Quality management systems are the backbone of a business’ success, especially if you’re just starting out. Solid products and services are just one part of the equation, but the overall quality of your business as a whole is much more complex.
Many people confuse quality with customer satisfaction. While it’s true that this is the core component when it comes to assessing quality, customer satisfaction should be perceived more as a metric. This is important to remember when implementing a quality management system, which must consider several different business aspects that factor into client satisfaction.
To understand the implementation process, streamline it, and discover the benefits of certifying the quality of your business, it’s best to break it down into several areas.
Define internal goals, policies, and procedures
Any successful system implementation must begin with a solid definition of what you hope to achieve. Without a clear set of goals, it will be impossible to create policies and procedures or measure their success.
Your customers should be at the center of your goals. All your objectives should seek to maximize customer satisfaction and keep it as high as possible. However, in pursuing these objectives, you shouldn’t neglect employee satisfaction.
These two tend to go hand-in-hand. A satisfied employee is a much stronger asset than one who is regularly pushed to their limits with little to no personal satisfaction. Furthermore, satisfied employees follow procedures and actively promote customer satisfaction.
In this context, clearly defining goals, policies, and procedures has a twofold purpose. On one hand, it helps you understand the relationship between your brand and your customers and lay out plans on how to make this relationship work. On the other hand, it ensures all your employees have a clear picture of their tasks and a set of principles they can ascribe to, thus giving them a personal stake in the success of your business.
Make sure in-house communication is smooth
Once you’ve established goals and the procedures necessary to attain these targets, you need to ensure that all of your employees are on board.
This means it’s not only necessary to describe the process, but also which department handles which aspect and how information travels through the chain of command. This will depend a lot on the type of business you have and the variety of your departments, but overall, customer care reps should know exactly when to escalate a task and to whom they should send it.
To get the most out of this, you should provide all of your staff members with an opportunity to give feedback on their work processes and make sure to provide training according to their needs. Customer care representatives should have at least a cursory knowledge of your business. However, they shouldn’t have to become experts in a field if you already have a team of experts on board.
Feedback sessions should also be performed with at least a couple of representatives of each department present. That way, each team can find ways to streamline the quality management process in a way that benefits all the experts involved.
Maintain a strong relationship with your customers
Maintaining a constant dialogue with your clients is an absolute must for the ongoing success of your business. Customer relationship management is essential.
When it comes to quality management systems, this relationship is perhaps even more important. Ultimately, it is for customers’ benefit that you implement it, and assessing your system’s success depends on your customers’ feedback.
They provide the basic metrics that can help you understand if the system is working and which areas need improvement. This dialogue will also help you get some insights as to what these improvements should be. Customer feedback surveys are not just a great opportunity to find your strong points, but they can also point the direction you should shift towards in the future.
Therefore, maintaining a strong relationship with your customers should be an integral part of a quality management system.
Adapt and update your quality management system to keep it relevant
Of course, the information provided by your customers will not amount to anything if you don’t use it. One of the most important things to consider when implementing a quality management system is that needs and preferences change over time.
Your quality management system must be able to keep pace with your customers. Otherwise, you are not truly providing your customers a quality product.
While the core principals of your brand should always remain, the way in which you apply them should be flexible. This flexibility should be accounted for from the very beginning.
As your business grows, your customer base will diversify. Each group of customers will have its own definition of quality. Thus, your quality management system and your business should adapt and evolve to reflect these changes.
For more on giving your customers what they want, where they want it, see Customer Experience: OmniChannel. OmniNow. OmniWow.
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