What can I do to ensure the quality of our products remain high as we grow?

My business has grown quickly and I need to expand my customer service department as a result. When I first put the department together I was very selective and only chose very experienced staff who I knew could deliver great service from the outset with little assistance. However, now my expansion is so rapid that I can no longer afford this luxury and need to think more about training and management. How do I make sure that my growth does not lead to a reduction in the quality of our service?

A. Jo Groves writes:

You have reached an exciting stage in your business, but it is also one that is crucial to get right. Unfortunately, growing pains often occur at this point of expansion. Getting the right mix of people to complement and reinforce your business is essential. Having an effective management team will help you to create a more effi cient and capable business. First of all, however, you need to ensure that communication within the business remains strong and inform your staff of the exciting times ahead and how the business is going to grow and change.

I would recommend using a recruitment company to secure help and support in fi nding the right people. An offi ce manager or team manager with training and development skills (preferably from within your industry) can bring real benefi ts to your business. A team manager can help to develop a strategy for the customer service department and focus solely on ensuring that customer service and retention remain top priorities.

The manager can report to you weekly on staff performance, service levels and, most importantly, on steps to ensure that your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are being met. This keeps you informed regularly and gives you time to focus on your growth plans. The manager will also have one-to-one meetings with staff to discuss strengths and weaknesses so as to arrange appropriate training and development programmes. A wide-range of affordable courses is available, including formal training run externally or in-house.

It is important throughout that good communication with staff properly explains this development, so they embrace the new manager as a positive step forward for the business. This strategy means putting a little faith into someone new, but the results should be improved efficiency and increased profitability


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