Quality can help you reduce costs

These days, you as a business may not want to focus on quality as much. However, quality can be an important and useful goal, especially these days.

Vasco Consult uses the Vasco method to make process improvements. Our blogs have often talked about it but what is it exactly? We will now set down the three phases of this mode of operation and will comment on each one briefly and give a practical example.

1. The importance of each day
Each day you want to do things better than the day before.  This is why our action plan looks back at the previous day: not per department but for the business as a whole. What were the KPIs? What incidents were there and how do we prevent them in the future? Taking this approach meant that in just three months, we have been able to reduce the number of phone calls to the customer’s customer service desk by an average of 10%.  Rieneke Lanting applied this approach at a media company: ‘By placing the focus on the day-to-day operations, you find out more quickly what incidents there are. In my project, I found that it was primarily the poor coordination between the back-office processes and the customer service department that had led to the large number of customer complaints. Improving the end-to-end processes by adding clearly-defined responsibilities led to a 10-point increase in the NPS, as well as to an across-the-board 12% reduction in the number of complaints.’

2. The quality programme
Because you scrutinise your day-to-day performance, you see where incidents are occurring more frequently, which is a place we designate as a ‘problem area’. A fundamental solution may lie in revamping the training modules and/or in improving the communications and/or in modifying the systems and processes. In all cases, you also need to look at ways of preventing such problems in the future. Rob Janssen applied this approach at a telecoms company: ‘The fundamental source of customers’ dissatisfaction, and thus the most important reason for complaints and cancellations, was the difference between the promises made to the customer and the actual performance delivered. By delivering the service that was promised, we were able to significantly reduce both costs and subscriber churn and improve customer satisfaction to boot. A great example of this was the SLA that was agreed with the company’s client. The SLAs for the departments sometimes differed by more than 40%; switching over from departmental goals to process goals meant we were able to deliver on our promises to the client.’

3. Clearly defining the strategy for the service provision
Which channels do you want to use? How do you encourage usage of the best ones? And how do you stop customers having to change their service channel during the process? Ruben Uppelschoten supported an international retailer here: ‘The problem was clear: the consumer could buy online, independently of the physical stores but customer service was not available online. So if the consumer had a question, he or she had to phone the service desk. Quite apart from the process-related problems this caused, it also led to a significant increase in the total number of phone calls, whereas in most other such companies, these problems would be resolved in-store. Research we had carried out at a range of companies had revealed that an interaction where the customer had to change his service channel was on average one and a half times more expensive. By more clearly defining and then implementing the processes for each channel and service team, we were able to systematically reduce costs by [no less than] 13% in just six months.’

There are many reasons why quality is an important goal. Firstly, because as a business you should deliver quality. Secondly, in order to keep your customers happy and loyal. And finally - and actually really importantly at the present time - because it allows you to reduce your costs. Our approach means you achieve these three goals [at the same time]. Together we make it simple.

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