Welcome to the ninth post in this 12-part series on QUALITY, titled #QUALITYtweet – 12 Ideas to Build a Quality Culture.
Here are the first eight posts, in case you would like to go back and take a look:
- Quality #1: Quality is a long term differentiator
- Quality #2: Cure Precedes Prevention
- Quality #3: Great People + Good Processes = Great Quality
- Quality #4: Simplifying Processes
- Quality #5: Customers are your “Quality Partners”
- Quality #6: Knowing what needs improvement
- Quality #7: Productivity and Quality
- Quality #8: Best Practices are Contextual
#QUALITYtweet How NOT to deliver total quality:
Focus on quality of product without focusing on
quality of relationship and communication
In an increasingly service oriented business environment, what you sell is not just a product but an experience. People may forget explicit details like specifications or price, but never forget the experience they had when they bought the product.
Experience extended to end-customers largely depends on attitude, values and behaviors of each individual who interacts with a customer. One of the most important challenges is to keep this group of people aligned to organization’s quality system and values.
Communication is the backbone of organization’s success in marketplace. Effective internal and external communication within an organization ensures that:
- Your employees understand your value system
- They understand what is expected out of them
- They are motivated to walk an extra mile to deliver excellent service
- Your customers know your value system
- You build trust-based relationship with your people and customers with consistent communication
- Manage expectations with your people and customers.
How can you motivate your teams to deliver excellent customer experiences through simple communication processes? Here are a few ideas to consider:
Training your internal team can be your biggest tool for clearly explaining the process of communication and how important it is for the business. Consistently train your people on value systems, leadership, quality management, effective communication, what works in customer management, what not, expectations management and cultural aspects of client’s location. Clients also need training on how best they can use your products. Companies organize client workshops to educate them about different aspects of product/service. Train consistently to streamline communication.
Once your people are trained, you need to support them in doing right things. Supporting can be a simple act of being there with your people when they talk to customers. Help them improve and share feedback on how are they doing. Some companies may see this activity as an “overhead” but it is an “investment” in your people.
Once you have confidence that your people will be able to do the right communication, monitor them. Take periodic feedback from them. Communicate consistently to ensure that they are motivated enough to continue doing it.
Delivering consistently superior experience to your customers (via quality of products and communication) results in a long-term relationship based on trust. In business, as in life, relationships are crucial. Quality of your relationships is as important as quality of your products, or perhaps, even more.
—Tanmay is a Software Quality Management professional based out of India. He hosts QAspire Blog and tweets as @tnvora. He is also an author of the book #QUALITYtweet – 140 Bite-Sized Ideas to Deliver Quality in Every Project