Arguably one of the most neglected areas of business is the area of ‘Quality Control’.
Consultants at Aeon Internet Marketing report that too many business owners do a lot of assuming in this area. Based on experience, neglect of quality can create almost irreversible long term damage. Remember that in any business, relationship building is essential – and in most cases the relationship is strengthened by having an efficient quality control system in place.
We have witnessed on many occasions what can happen when business owners pay less attention to quality control and more attention to profit. It is somewhat astounding to me that in the years I have worked as a consultant and business owner, I’d say that conservatively 20% or fewer pay close enough attention to this area. Only a handful of businesses give adequate attention to quality of service and delivery, and even fewer follow up regarding product satisfaction. Therefore, it should be of no surprise that those who do have a good quality control system in place see a much higher level of customer/client/patient retention and overall sustained growth.
The area of quality control should also include employee performance, but I want to focus on quality control as it pertains to service and product at this point. I want to stress the importance of this area because I see a lot of waste happening. For example, a dentist who does not have this area established actually throws advertising dollars (designed to create a steady flow of new patients) out the window. New patients come in and then we have what we call the ‘revolving door syndrome’. Patients come in, they receive a service (Or not), quality of service is not checked, and POOF, Out that patient goes, never to be seen again. The good news however, is that this is preventable.
Just think about it for a second. When was the last time you bought something, (whether that had been a service or product) and received a call from a merchant or customer service rep who was truly interested in your experience, satisfaction, or dissatisfaction? Now this wouldn’t be someone who was attempting to market further service, such as a salesperson – this would be a person that reached out to you just to see how well your lawnmower worked, or maybe how tasty the chocolate you had imported from Belgium is. The human element on the other end of the phone is what I am talking about. You will hear me speak of this more as you continue following our blog posts, though I really want you to understand the importance and value of human contact when involved in the quality control process. While quality control calls are being made, one MUST focus on the recipient of the call. That recipient MUST feel that you or your customer service rep sincerely cares. And please don’t cut corners here. This is very, very important. Some might have the common sense to know that this goes without saying, but just ask yourself the question: Which store, or practice am I more likely to return to? Is it the store who sold me a product or service that I never heard from again, or was it the store that called me three days after my purchase or service and asked how it all went?
As a side note for thought, why would anyone hire and maintain an employee relationship where the human element was not present? I ask you. I ask because again the majority of business owners I meet with let this fall by the wayside. They just don’t think it’s all that important, yet this is one area that when neglected can deeply wound, or permanently cripple a business. I have to tell you though that of all the clients I have serviced over the years, the businesses that have successfully implemented quality control basics are looking at retirement in a welcoming manner. Those that haven’t grit their teeth on a regular basis.
Additionally, I can tell you that a practice which is up ‘for sale’ is much more attractive to a buyer when ALL patient charts have quality control steps in place. 15k active charts, or 30k active charts? Which would you prefer as a buyer?
Lastly, when you ignore or do not implement quality control, what you are communicating to your customers/clients/patients is that you are not very concerned with the service you have delivered, or products they may have purchased, or how satisfied, or dissatisfied they may or may not be. I repeat, customer satisfaction should NEVER be assumed! Brand that onto your forehead if you have to. I’m kidding, but actually serious in a way because you don’t want to forget this. Common sense would also dictate that clients/patients/customers who are happy with your products and services become the best form of free advertising available.
So seize the opportunity to create strong relationships; relationships that will with a little effort sustain your business through hard times, or slow periods. Think of it as ‘insurance’ for your business. When you build relationships and show that you care, everyone wins. It’s that human element we see missing in so many businesses that matters most. Take the time to make sure your clients/customers/patients are happy and you will reap the rewards for years to come. It is extra work, sure. But don’t let THAT be a stop. These calls sometimes do add extra time to your day. That’s okay. Wouldn’t you rather know if your customer was upset and have that opportunity to correct the problem, or improve a product, rather than assuming your customer is happy and having him go to a competitor for the same products and services your business offers? Sure you would!
So get going! Start a quality control program, department, or division of your organization and watch the magic. I promise you that it will solidify your business and help separate you from competitors. The money you spend for an employee to handle this area will be minimal in comparison to the rewards of long term survival for your business. If you need tips on how to start this process, please call us. We are happy to give you the basics on how it’s done at no charge. We really are here to help; we want you to succeed.
Until next time, I hope you all flourish and prosper beyond your dreams! Have a great week!