How to Get Your Support Staff Involved in Total Quality Management
Total quality management is a law office management technique that is practiced by many law firms around the country. However, it’s not an idea that should be solely limited to law firms. It is a management principle that can have a positive effect on any sort of business.
What Is Total Quality Management?
Total quality management, often abbreviated in the legal field as TQM, is a management principle that places the focus of the business on the happiness of the clients. Of course, that’s an oversimplification. With that said, the basic tenet is that clients will pay for quality service. The thing to remember is that it isn’t you, the business owner, who determines how ‘quality’ is defined. Quality is defined only by the client. When clients feel satisfied, they return and they give you referrals.
The true key to implementing TQM is to make sure that everyone that is part of your team is on board to provide the optimal experience for your clients. This means that your receptionist is just as responsible for ensuring quality is given to the client as is the account manager. So, how do you get your support staff involved in total quality management?
Getting your entire team on board with total quality management always seems like a great idea. However, it can be difficult to make sure that everyone is on the same page and understands their role in providing a quality experience. To help you begin your total quality management journey, Clients A.R.M. has six tips for you.
Review and Explain Your Mission Statement
One of the best and easiest ways that you can ensure that your entire team understands what your business is about is to review and explain your mission statement as a group and on an individual basis. You can even give your individual team members ideas on how their duties directly support the mission statement and TQM. You know as well as we do that most new employees do not necessarily read every page of their employee handbook or their policies and procedures manual. So, it’s your job to make sure that everyone knows and understands what your company is about and what they can do to support the goals of your business. (Don’t have a policies and procedures manual or an employee handbook? Click here to find out just how easy it is to delegate that to Clients A.R.M.)
Review and Explain Employee Duties
This is more than just giving employees a sheet of paper that lists their job duties. This is making sure that they understand their duty as your employee to do whatever it takes to provide a quality experience for each client. This means that you explain any policies that involve dealing with clients; this could include returning telephone calls or emails within 24 business hours. Nothing upsets a client more than being told by your employee, “I don’t know,” or “That’s not my department.” Your employee should know how to handle the most common problems or objections. They should also replace saying, “I don’t know,” with saying, “Let me research this for you and call you right back.” That one sentence places the focus on finding a solution for the client. All employees must understand the art of customer service.
Teach Your Staff to Understand the Mindset of Your Clients
Your clients have a choice with their service providers. You’re not the only attorney, doctor, or service provider in the area. You understand that they have a choice. Does your staff? Think about this: you dress and act a different way when you dine at a five star restaurant than you do if you decide to go to a local fast food place. Why is that? Because both of those places have certain expectations. Sure, you can dress nice and eat fast food. It’s just not expected that you would dress a certain way. That’s why it is important that your employees understand that TQM is geared to cater toward a more discerning clientele. They must understand that your clients expect a certain level of care and commitment, and that when they do not receive it, they will find a new service provider.
Improve Processes and Procedures
Improve your processes and procedures in client intakes, customer service, and billing to ensure that they are client centric. While we all want streamlined processes and procedures that take less of our business resources, we have to make sure that using these doesn’t somehow detract from the client experience. If you’d like a professional to review your processes and procedures and help you tailor them to give your clients the ultimate experience, book your free, no-obligation review.
Know the Lifecycle
Regardless of the type of service that you provide, each staff member should know the lifecycle of what happens. This means that they know how potential clients come into the company, their intake experience, what happens next, and how billing works. This will make them more empathetic with clients who do not feel that they’ve received quality service. It will also enable your employees to answer questions. The ability to answer even basic questions for a client (even if those questions aren’t within the scope of duties for that particular employee) can lead a client to feel more satisfied.
You can do everything that you believe results in a quality experience. Yet, how do you know for sure that the client feels as if they received a quality experience? Also, how do you know what your target market believes is quality? You get the answers to both questions by asking your clients. Teach your employees to utilize follow-up methods. This could be a survey about the intake experience or a phone call a day or two after their appointment to discuss if they are satisfied. The answers received can then be used to correct any current problems in quality service and to prevent any future disruptions in quality.
Questions About Total Quality Management?
Do you have questions about TQM or how to use it in your business? If so, Clients A.R.M. is here to help! We have more than 30 years of experience, and we would love to help you examine your policies and procedures to help you provide a better customer service experience. Our process review is free, and there’s no obligation. Contact us today to find out how you can provide more quality to your clients.