Quality Assurance Systems for Field Service BusinessesBy My Service Depot on Thursday, December 10, 2020
A good quality assurance system can mean the difference between a repeat customer and one who runs off to the competition.
In this article, we will take a look at quality assurance (very often shortened to the acronym “QA”) and how a good or bad quality assurance process could mean the difference between a return customer or one that never calls you again. In addition, we will take a closer look at some different types of quality assurance processes, how each can benefit your company, and how field service management software can facilitate better quality assurance.
What is quality assurance?
This might seem like a silly question, but quality assurance takes two main forms: quality assurance for manufactured products, and quality assurance for performed services. In the case of quality assurance for manufactured products, QA means ensuring that the product itself is not defective in any way, whether in aesthetic design or internal components, moving or non-moving.
In the case of quality assurance for performed services, QA means ensuring that your customers are satisfied with the services performed, whether that is the work/project itself or the customer service received. In this article we will mostly discuss quality assurance for performed services, though we acknowledge that quality assurance for performed services and for manufactured products occasionally overlaps, such as in the installation and maintenance of an air conditioning unit. We will discuss this intersection later and how software can help you manage it.
Why does quality assurance matter?
Sure, you can take someone’s money and run, but your sources of profit will eventually dry up once potential clients discover that your products and services cut corners. By establishing reputable, reliable, and consistent customer service and products, you can ensure that you will always have an influx of returning customers. Often, return customers or customers on some sort of maintenance plan proves vital to the success and longevity of a field service business.
Basic Quality Assurance
The most basic quality assurance process involves simply calling a customer after performing work. This process can start when you bill the customer, right after the customer pays their bill, or after a set amount of time has passed in order to give the customer room to grow accustomed to their products and services.
Practically speaking, this call can include a series of questions that the customer can respond to, whether in short answer format or in a rating format such as a scale from 1 to 5. This is a popular method for construction companies or for lighting companies, as those kinds of companies are keen on customization and personal touch. These surveys ensure quality across the board while also ensuring that customers feel like they are being taken care of and not just getting lost in a system.
Another common quality assurance process is to use surveys that the customer can fill out on their own time. As before, this process can start at any time, but most commonly begins either after or along with billing. While you can use a paper survey, nowadays most companies use a link to an online survey though Google or Survey Monkey. This is a popular quality assurance method for HVAC, plumbing, and electric companies, as those kinds of companies have a higher frequency of jobs than construction companies and lighting companies. This method ensures that your staff does not get bogged down in the quality assurance process, allowing everyone to focus on the results and feedback from customers.
Automating Quality Assurance
The last quality assurance process that we will cover in this article is a partially automated process, whereby a bill sent to a customer automatically includes a survey or followup. This method is very often used by shredding companies, as they have an extremely large number of jobs per technician, per day and having to follow-up with customers manually becomes an absolute nightmare and a drain on resources and productivity.
However, you might run into some difficulties keeping track of who to follow up with, how to catalog your followups, and ultimately what to do about any negative feedback. While an organized employee or a large file cabinet could work in the short-term, an excellent long-term solution is to utilize software. Now that computers are the norm in the business world, you should take advantage of the available technology by incorporating field service management software like Smart Service into your quality assurance process. Using this specialized software, you can email out follow-ups, record answers from phone calls, review jobs that had a negative review, and keep all of your information in one, convenient system.