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Quality Improvements = Improved Customer Service

How a coffeemaker taught us to look again for quality improvements

To give outstanding service to customers, and gain new ones, requires continuing to re-tool how we work. Here’s an illustration: PQA bought a new coffeemaker that lacked the “desperation” valve (also called Pause-N-Serve). Not a good choice!

We don’t want to make the same mistake with our customers. The sequence is:

  1. Well-designed processes give the customer a quick and seamless service experience.

  2. Satisfied customers re-order, purchase more, and tell others (and the reverse is true).

  3. Good processes reduce errors, rework, waste and downtime.

  4. In short, what we call “Less Stress – More Money.”

ISO 9001:2015 defines quality as, essentially, ‘conformance to requirements’ and that really means the customer’s. If we understand the customer’s written – and unwritten – requirements, we’ll look for effective and efficient methods of reaching those requirements, which then please new and repeat customers alike.

A fresh look at how we work can yield improvements

Here are some places to look for customer-pleasing process improvements:

  • How much time or how many keystrokes or steps, to add a new customer to your system?

  • Do you make customers fill out forms or go through those steps just to send you an order? How many are frustrated with your process?

  • Do you lose new customers after the first order -- and do you know why?

  • How often do you deliver the wrong item, service or information?

  • If your on-time delivery is below 90%, who isn’t happy? Is OTD higher for your best customers than for others?

  • Do you often have to move an order ahead of other orders in order to keep it on schedule?

  • Do you know exactly where any order is in your system, at any time?

  • Are you certain that the product or service conforms to specifications, at every stage of production?

  • How clear are instructions and specifications for jobs? Clear enough so any trained employee could pick up a job and continue it?

  • How much profit are you losing on re-work and corrections?

  • If a key employee was out sick for a month, how would their responsibility be handled?

  • If a customer walked into your shop unannounced, would they be impressed with the cleanliness, organization, and efficiency? Is the atmosphere calm and ordered, or tense and chaotic?

  • How long has it been since an on-the-job injury?

What questions would you add?

And, which of these could you act on before the end of the year, to create improvements in customer satisfaction – not to mention safety and efficient operations?

PQA Certification is here to help you understand the requirements of the ISO standards, which when followed tend to result in “Less stress – More money.” Contact us for a free quote on certification or training!

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