Steps for a good standard checklist to ensure quality control.
How having a standard operating procedure checklist keeps quality high.
Quality control and quality management are a key to ensuring success in any area of business. From ensuring the quality and consistency of analytics data to the quality of marketing and brand messaging to the physical quality of products being created and delivered, companies need to care about quality control. It’s why every business sends out customer surveys through email or asks those waiting on hold to speak to a customer service representative to rate their service after the call or why drive-thru restaurants encourage you to take a survey from their receipt and be entered to win a gift card prize. Businesses know that how customers perceive the quality of their interaction, product, or service is key to continued success.
But quality doesn’t come out of nowhere – standards that define what quality is are important, as well as standards that dictate what a quality misstep is and how to fix it. Here are some standard operating procedure guidelines to help craft your quality control efforts.
Don’t skimp on the details
While writing a standard procedure for QA might not seem glamorous, it is important. It can be tempting to rush through creating the standard operating procedure checklist and just getting the basics down, but a thorough undertaking at the beginning of the project likely can save you time and effort later down the line.
Understand your purpose
You might not be writing an SOP to ensure quality of every procedure company-wide, but you still need to know who this standard procedure list is for and what it affects. Is it for your customer service team to ensure quality service? Is it for your warehousing team to be able to have guidelines for packing and shipping? Is it for your manufacturing team to understand exactly what’s expected in the creating of products?
Map it out
One of the best ways to ensure that your standards are communicated correctly are to ensure that the process has been mapped. This is like the visual version of a checklist. More than just text, it helps to illustrate how a process flows from one step to another. For instance, a customer service call might have the following steps:
- Answer with standard message of “Hello, how can I help you?”
- Listen to customer
- Assure customer that you can help solve their issue
- Ask customer clarifying questions
- Allow customer to respond
- Take appropriate action
- Ask customer if satisfied with resolution
Addition a flow chart or map to this can help add additional details (like what “appropriate action” might look like) as well as incorporate a visual that helps create understanding.
Test the process
Now that the standards are in place, it’s time to test them. This helps give the SOP some experience in the real world and lets employees and other stakeholders try to find the cracks or missing pieces that would disrupt the procedure. It also gives organizations a chance to see a new process in motion and understand the ways it might fail or what to do if it does fail.
Creating standard operating procedures can greatly benefit your quality management. Do you have standards that shape your quality control?