As an Operations Manager, ‘quality’ might as well be your middle name. You spend your days working to increase the caliber of your brand’s presence, offerings, and customer experience. But measuring quality can be subjective, and a bit abstract. So, is there a way to conduct a performance assessment on something like this? The answer is kind of.
There might not be hard and fast metrics that tell you how your business’ level of quality stacks up, but there are definitely warning signs to watch out for that can indicate a decline in this area. Read on to learn more about what those are, so you can notice them and make adjustments as needed.
1. Repeat Sales have Stalled
In any business, regardless of industry or products/services being sold, revenue is always important to keep an eye on. But there’s a better way to gauge the quality of what you’re selling, as well as the quality of your customer service: percentage of repeat sales. Is the bulk of your revenue from new customers? Or do you have a great track record getting more orders from the same customers, time and time and time again?
If your revenue is holding strong or even growing, kudos to you. But that alone hardly tells the whole story. If you have trouble turning your first-time customers into customers that buy for a second or third time, this might indicate a lack of quality. Take a look at the percentage of customers who come back to you repeatedly, and if it’s a small percentage, it tells you that something was likely less than satisfactory during their first experience with your brand. It might’ve been the quality of the product itself or the quality of your customer support, but either way – it’s almost certainly a quality problem.
Another way to check this is to see if you’ve had an increase in returns or exchanges recently (if applicable to your business). If customers are sending items back more often than they have before, your quality is definitely slipping.
2. Your Scores & Social Chatter are Subpar
Some leaders worry that their brand will get a poor reputation if they decide to outsource, or that their internal company culture will be diluted. We understand the concern, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Consider this: When you engage with us, we help you drive customer experience results like NPS and CSAT and also help to improve areas of your business like customer service and technical support. The result is not only growth for you, but also a drastically improved brand image.
Furthermore, your internal team might have some concerns when you first tell them you’re going to begin outsourcing some of your business processes. A good place to start to ease apprehension is to share with them the seamless way our teams will work together. Also, it’s a good idea to include not only the Executive Leadership but the Operations and Functional Leaders in the final decision when picking a partner. After all, they will likely be the team interfacing with your outsource partner day in and day out and should also feel comfortable in their new partner. Their involvement is invaluable and a critical success factor for a successful partnership. The bottom line, outsourcing means more support for them and more growth for the business on the horizon – which benefits every one of your company’s stakeholders.
So now you’ve seen a few of the misconceptions about outsourcing, along with the truth of what an engagement like this really looks like. Contact us if you’d like to learn more about how we can help you achieve your business goals and get the results you want from a partnership.
3. Your Surveys are Going Ignored
Negative numbers and feedback, as mentioned above, are one thing… but did you know that radio silence can also be an indication that something is wrong with your brand’s quality? For example, consider some of the best survey mechanisms that businesses use to check customer satisfaction like NPS and CSAT. If you’re sending out these surveys and getting few responses in return, this is a red flag.
When customers reach the point that they’re willing to ignore you, it usually means one of two things: 1) they’re incredibly busy and forgot or don’t have the time to respond, or 2) They’re checked out and no longer invested in your brand. If it’s the former, that’s understandable. But if it’s the latter, that means you’ve pretty much lost a customer. It doesn’t mean they don’t have feedback; it means they’ve given up on your company.
4. Your Employees are Disengaged
As above, it’s usually not a good sign if your employees are ignoring your internal satisfaction surveys (like eNPS). Another way to tell if your employees are disengaged is by watching their behavior. Are managers reporting that team members are showing up late and going home early more often than they used to? Are they being less careful with machinery and experiencing more injuries? Bickering – or gossiping – more with their peers? Any of these internal unrest can indicate much larger issues. If you’re noticing a trend of employee disengagement, the quality of your company culture could be to blame.
And your internal quality has a lot to do with what’s being projected outward, so it matters greatly. Not sure how happy employees are? Check Glassdoor, and see how your business is being reviewed by those who are employed there.
5. Your Employees are Disengaged
If you’ve undergone a recent, sweeping change within your business, pay close attention to the undercurrents rippling as a result. Whether it was an acquisition, a change in leadership, a reworked process, or something else entirely, the aftermath of company-wide changes can be ugly. When the status quo is disrupted, chaos can be unleashed – or at the very least, details can get lost in the shuffle.
This is often the first domino that precipitates a decline in quality. And if employees feel it, customers will too. So if you sense this kind of upheaval after a major change, work with your peers to preempt fallout and pave the way for as smooth of a transition as possible.
Have you noticed any of these warning signs in your own company? As with most things, awareness is the first step to making things right. Your entire brand, and your own job, are dependent on the quality of your products, services, personnel, and reputation.
If you’d like help scaling or navigating growing pains without sacrificing quality, we can help. Contact us to learn how.