How to use the PDCA cycle to improve your care

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All about Quality Management
What is PDCA Cycle?

In this article we will talk about:

The PDCA Cycle has multiple applications

The PDCA Cycle is one of the most well-known quality management tools in the world and is extremely useful for continuous process improvement and improvement. In this sense, whenever you have problems performing tasks that should be routine, you can go through the 4 steps of the PDCA cycle to evolve.

PDCA Cycle

What few people know is that in addition to helping process improvement, the PDCA cycle can and should be applied to any area of ​​your business to solve major problems. To give you an idea of ​​the possibilities of applications, we have already talked about:

Knowing this, I'll show you how to use the PDCA cycle to improve your customer service area.

Understanding the biggest service problems

To begin with, we need to understand what are the main problems that can occur in a service area. It is true that this list can be gigantic, but I decided to separate the 5 that I consider more serious and that I see recurring

  • Delay: It is very common to pay close attention to the first contact with the customer and this is simply one of the most fundamental steps for a good first impression. Situations like you receive an email and take hours (or days) to respond or you sit at a bar table and take until a waiter arrives are common and burn the image of your business.
  • Lack of decision-making power: It's no use having an agile and interested team if she has no decision-making power to solve the problems of the person making the request. If you put someone in the service of your company, you must give 99% of autonomy so that this person decides the result of the service, if not, it is only creating one more step before the request reaches the decision maker.
  • Disinformation: Another capital sin is when your service team does not know the company in depth. At such times, in addition to lacking an alignment with the company culture, you may lack knowledge of offers, how to handle customers or even simple instructions of what to do.

PDCA more than a methodology, a true anti-flame vest

  • Insensitivity: It is essential that every attendant keep in mind that he is there to receive a first demand from customers and potential customers of his business. To make this process of understanding what the client wants is very important a sensitivity to be able to treat each problem the way it should be treated. Those who deal with clients know that requests do not always make sense, but at the same time sometimes there are people who really need help and who should receive special attention. Knowing how to identify this difference is not easy and depends exclusively on who
  • Lack of solutions: Finally, the last problem that bothers me most is when the clerk can not solve the situation and leaves the case "in the client's hand". Just to tell a case I recently came across when contacting an online chat (which had taken 20 minutes for someone to respond), the person on the other side asked me 3 questions and told me that he would have to leave because his file It was over and he was going to pass me to another attendant. In the meantime, I waited another 20 minute and got the feeling of lack of solution and disregard of the attendant.

It is obvious that depending on what your business is, each of these items will have a different impact. It pays to understand what your service channels are and how each of these issues could occur. Let's see the example of the LUZ contact channels (remembering that we are an 100% online ecommerce):

  • Chat Online
  • Telephone
  • Contact e-mail
  • Social Networks
  • About Me
  • View Forum Posts

Using the PDCA Cycle to Improve Your Attendance

Now that I've talked more generally about the key issues facing a business, it pays to understand how we could apply the PDCA cycle in practice to improve that area. Let's assume that we perceive an increase in the number of clients dissatisfied with the service of the company and we want to use this tool to continuously improve this activity:

how to use pdca cycle to improve care - problem

Take care not to lose focus, since there will often be more than one problem to solve. In the case of service we could still see cases of process error, problems with analysis of service time, speed of response, among several others.

Step 1 - Planning (Plan)

The first step of every PDCA cycle is planning. Here you need to raise what may be the main causes that are generating this dissatisfaction. In our example using the PDCA Cycle Worksheet, we raise the following causes:

  • Lack of software that organizes service
  • No defined response time
  • Lack of customer response processes
  • Untrained Telemarketing Team

how to use pdca cycle to improve care - causes

See that these are only possibilities, in the planning phase the ideal is that you list all possible causes and then separate the most important ones to create practical measures of resolution

Step 2 - Execution (Do)

After making this list of causes and separating which are the most relevant, it is necessary to start planning actions for each one. For example, if I know that not having software to organize this area is a relevant item, it pays to think about how to implement a control tool. In our example, these were the first two actions related to this item:

PDCA more than a methodology, a true anti-flame vest

  • Search 3 service control software options
  • Choose and implement the service control software

how to use pdca cycle to improve service - execution

At LUZ we made a move similar to this one and we chose a tool to control tickets from emails that arrive through our contact form or by email [Email protected]

helpcout helpdesk tools

In this way we greatly reduce the errors of emails without answers, of delay for service and of control of the indicators related to this contact.

Step 3 - Check (Check)

Obviously, just planning does not get you anywhere, you need to take action, and our third step in the PDCA cycle will allow you to control what you are accomplishing and what needs more attention. Here's an example of our PDCA Cycle Worksheet:

how to use pdca cycle to improve service - verification

With it, it is possible to follow the completion date of the activities and to understand if the actions occurred as planned and if they contributed to the resolution of the cause that was related.

Step 4 - Action (Act)

Lastly, the fourth and final step is for you to restart that same cycle or start a new one. If you have solved the problem with all the actions planned and performed, then all of these practices must become processes of serving your business.

how to use pdca cycle to improve care - action

If the problem has not been solved, restart the PDCA cycle trying to understand what could have been done in a better way, what worked and what can not be done in that second moment.

Some tips for having the perfect care

While doing the PDCA cycle, maybe some of these tips may suit your action planning:

  • Online presence:
    • Have a website (with contact form)
    • Implement an online chat (and have an attendant during business hours)
    • Use an email ticks tracking tool (Helpscout is the one we use)
    • Create or participate in forums related to your business
    • Get involved in social networks related to your business
  • Be agile
    • Establish rules for quick responses (eg, instant response from clients who have just sat down at the table)
    • Create agile precedence score indicators (response time or case resolution goals)
    • Give your attendants autonomy (to solve problems)
  • Improve
    • Try to receive feedback (encourage automatic reviews, comments and testimonials)
    • Forward suggestions for improvements to responsible (do not let reviews be saved)

Ultimately, what you need to keep in mind is that service is one of the first steps to positively or negatively surprise your client. So, try to do things he would not expect from 99% of the companies, be agile and concerned about the demands of that customer.

Use the PDCA Cycle to improve your care

He saw how to use the PDCA Cycle Worksheet can it be the difference between a structured management to improve service and a little that connects to your customers?

PDCA Cycle

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