Everyone talks about quality – but what is it, and how can we make everyone in the network better understand it?
But first and foremost:
Our customers decide what quality is for them!
You may think that something is of high quality but other people might disagree and say that it is not, it just depends on each individual’s expectations. This means that for us who manage and develop businesses, we must actively understand customers’ expectations of our products or services – and thus, of us as a brand.
You can influence the perceived quality of your brand, your services and products by working with service, sustainability, price, security, information and several other factors, but you can not say that the quality of what you offer is high if you don’t have evidence for it. This evidence should come from people who have used your services. If you do not have this confirmation, you can’t say that you offer high quality. You can instead say that you work efficiently to optimize your quality levels.
Here we have seven principles that should be at center stage of all internal quality processes in order to achieve that vital confirmation from customers and guests.
1. Quality can and must be managed
You must start with the two fundamental pillars of quality; a quality focus and a quality process. These in turn lead to the ability to realize that there is a problem and that it can be controlled and remedied.
2. Processes and routines, not people, are usually the problem
If processes and routines cause problems, it does not matter how many times you hire new managers or employees or how many training sessions you complete with them. Correct the process and then implement and train people in these new routines.
Madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, stated Albert Einstein.
3. Do not treat the symptoms, look for the cause. First Why – then How
If you just patch the obvious problems in the process or routine, you will never get rid of the core problem. Find the source to correct the problem, first find out why problems and errors occur, then how best to solve them.
4. Every co-worker is responsible for quality
Everyone in your network, regardless of position or function, must realize that they have an important role to play in ensuring high quality levels in the delivery of products and services. We all have a customer to serve, and everyone must step up and take responsibility for them. Your local managers / Franchisees bear the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that their teams live up to the Brand’s common quality standards and principles. They must be given the best conditions to actively pursue and work for quality. Give them the right information, the right tools, the right direction.
5. Quality must be measurable
Quality management is only effective when you can quantify the results. It can be measured by various indexes and kpi’s, such as; customer satisfaction index, sales volumes, staff turnover, operational compliance index, etc. It is important to see how the pursuit of quality is implemented and if it has the desired effect. What is measured gets done! Finally, as I said before, it is our customers who verify whether we have quality or not.
6. Quality improvements must be continuous
Quality is not something that can be done once and then forgotten. It is not a project phase that ends after a problem has been fixed. Real improvements must be made often and continuously to increase customer satisfaction and drive the internal culture.
Quality is not just about solving problems, but just as much about being agile in relation to changes in the world around us, with customers and competitors. You must have quality as a continuous focus with your franchisees, managers and staff, it must be a standing topic at all staff meetings, quality is at the heart of everything we do.
7. Quality is a long-term investment
Quality management is not a quick solution. Real results do not happen immediately, for the brand and network, operational quality must be a long-term investment that will support long-term success for you as the Brand owner and the network as a whole. We all work on, and share the same successes, from CEO to intern.
How can Chainformation help in this?
Standardization is one of the basic prerequisites for a successful franchise system and a strong brand. Standardization promotes uniformity and efficiency and thus also governance during rapid growth. Not least, it is required to be able to operate and implement common quality standards across all locations at speed.
The basis of all standardization and quality work is that there must be documented instructions and training materials for those who work in the business. In a franchise, this must be in the form of constantly updated manuals and handbooks, but this of course applies to all businesses, regardless of ownership form and industry.
Based on the manuals, there will then be the development and use of standardized forms and checklists, which is an important first step in laying the right foundation for a successful and measurable quality program. If you haven’t defined what doing things “right” is – you can obviously not find and correct what is being done “wrong”.
Chainformation is a market-leading cloud and App-based platform that is uniquely developed to support communication, operating routines, support and quality assurance in franchised and other multi-site operations.
With industry-specific solutions for Restaurant / F&B, Retail, Gym & Fitness and Service based activities such as Hairdressers / Salons, there is a set-up to fit every Brand, regardless of whether you have three or three hundred units.
- Digital manuals and training materials available directly on mobile devices and where mandatory read can be measured.
- Digital checklists with scheduled push notifications for all recurring and important routines.
- Deviations and non-compliance to quality standards is measured and automatically pushed to managers and field agents
- Tasks and deadlines are managed and monitored directly in the App so nothing is “forgotten” (or ignored)
- Network wide routines and central reports are measured with aggregated follow-ups.
About the author
Anders Hall is one of the founders of Chainformation that since 2001 has delivered digital platforms and systems for operational support, communication and quality management to hundreds of franchised brands and multi-site operations.