While many people are still uploading YouTube clips of themselves dancing to that infectious “Happy” song, DMI has been dancing in the happy business since 2002…keeping customers happy that is. According to 1st Financial Training Services, “96 percent of unhappy customers don’t complain [about customer service]; however 91 percent of those will simply leave and never come back.”
So, how do we keep our customers satisfied? Quality Assurance (QA)…The DMI QA team plays a major role in ensuring that all of our customers are happy with the services and solutions we develop and provide.
Beth Leonard, vice president of Corporate QA, recently shared her perspective about the effectiveness of a solid QA team. Beth, who is currently working towards her Six Sigma Black Belt, has many years of experience in implementing QA strategies and is very passionate about providing world-class customer service. It’s no wonder her team affectionately refers to her as “Wonder Woman.” Check out her thoughts about QA below:
Blog Team (BT): What drives you and the QA team?
Beth Leonard (BL): We truly value the satisfaction of our customers, which includes two areas of focus: the quality of service we provide and the quality of people we employ. Regardless of the work we are performing for our customers, we want to ensure that the service is high quality and that we deliver on time and on budget. We also want to ensure that we have the right people in place, with the right skill-sets, to match the requirements of our customers.
BT: What’s your approach to implementing an effective QA strategy?
BL: For customer satisfaction, we work with our finance and operations teams to identify current projects. We then work through our project managers to reach out to their customers to conduct customer satisfaction surveys. These surveys are critical in understanding how our customers feel about the services we are providing. There are various methods to conduct the surveys; however we’ve found the face-to-face method to be the most effective because it allows us to have a dialogue with the customers and enables them to freely expound upon the responses they provide. The face-to-face method also helps us to build personal relationships with our customers and enables us to provide them with a more personalized service. Typically, we like to meet with customers every three to six months. After a customer satisfaction survey is complete, we draft all of our observations and feedback and send it to the associated project manager. If there are any issues identified, we create a corrective action report and the project manager develops a root cause analysis. The manager must also identify a preventive action to stop the problem from occurring again. The QA team then follows-up with the project manager and customer to verify that the corrective action is in place.
BT: What do you think are the critical factors for QA success?
BL: Input from project managers and buy-in from senior management are extremely critical in the success of a QA team. Data accuracy is also very important. Lastly, being proactive and engaging the QA team before an issue arises is vital. I think a lot of organizations still function under the old school QA mentality, in that they look at us as the bad cops who only come around to tell people when they’re doing wrong. That’s not the mentality I instill in my team. We are the new school QA. We are mentors and partners. We are here to support them and help them resolve issues.
BT: What sets the DMI QA team apart from other organizations?
BL: The fact that we even have a customer satisfaction program, where we go out and regularly meet with customers, sets us apart from most other companies. Many organizations do not understand the real value of a QA team. DMI invests a lot into this program, which is something I haven’t experienced at other organizations. We also have access to the resources we need to succeed and employee certification training is heavily encouraged. I think one big mistake that most companies make is that they assemble a QA team to get the various external certifications and then eliminate QA once the certifications are received. DMI saves money by keeping a well-trained QA staff at all times to maintain the certifications. All of the top DMI leadership firmly believe in and stand behind the QA effort—both a rarity and an undeniable advantage. This is what sets our program apart from others.
Beth and her QA team are the best in the business and we’re not the only ones that think so. Based on a presentation she made about QA during the ISO 9000 World Conference in 2013, Beth was recognized as the “Best Speaker” and, what a surprise—the selection was based on attendee surveys and conference committee feedback! Visit our Facebook page to learn more about Beth’s award.