Quality is customer service.
Sometimes it seems that quality is all about policies, procedures, audits, and paperwork.
When did it stop being about people?
In many organisations quality is misunderstood, whether its confusion about the difference between quality and compliance, or thinking quality is just about procedures, often the true nature of quality (meeting customer requirements) is lost.
One sure-fire way to understand how clear an organisation is about the link between quality and customer service is to discuss the purpose of the quality team.
Is their purpose:
- To pass audits
This means only one customer's requirements are fulfilled, the funder, not the person receiver service. Passed your food safety audit, congratulations, the customer who had to wait too long for their meal still gave you a terrible review on Trip Advisor.
- To write procedures
Great now you have a shiny folder of instructions that most people will never read. Remember procedures are the lowest form of risk control if you're looking to create a safe environment you need more than procedures.
- Manage compliance
Its important to manage the risk of breaching compliance but that's the minimum standard, a better focus is on building systems that go beyond compliance.
- Identify and treat risk
This can be reactive, answering complaints and investigating incidents, instead let's build systems that address risk before they happen
- Design customer-centric systems
This is where quality happens. How involved are your quality team in designing systems?
Sometimes the purpose and the function of the quality team are in conflict:
Have a look at what the team does and ask yourself what is their purpose. Maybe even think about writing a team purpose that you can communicate across the organisation to help build the culture of quality?
If you work in quality and are struggling to move your organisation past compliance think about joining the quality networking group. You can download a brochure here.
Stay well everyone and I'm here to help if you need me. You may call +61 0403 857 054 or send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.