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Advantages of SMEs in managing quality control

If there are niches in which SMEs are like fish in the water, it is those markets related to services.

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Published by VISA Empresarial

Small businesses have, by nature significant advantages over larger firms that allow them to manage the quality of their services more effectively. If you're a small business owner , focus on these advantages, to empower, not nullify your growth path, because you run the risk of affecting the quality of service in the process. 

The book "Marketing Service Management" by C. Grönroos explains that employees who have contact with customers are of paramount importance to those same customers. The rest of the organization:, administrative, managerial and organizational support are a first-line activities.

It is recommended, especially when managing services (since production companies are perhaps more favorable to economies of scale), to use the inverted pyramid structure. (Ex: where the principal roles have the first line, it is they who should have held operational decisions to the greatest extent possible.)

Suppose you have a hotel and a guest approaches the receptionist to express a claim. The air conditioning in your room does not work. It is  11 o'clock on Tuesday. The receptionist has been trained in how to handle complaints, at first tried to verify the problem (the air conditioning did not really work), and attempts fix it, to no avail. You must provide an immediate solution to the guest, such as changing rooms. 

There are two alternatives: an identical room that he asked a room or upper level. This is the first time at the hotel for the guest and because of some unintended delays, the clerk thinks that for the customer to be won over he/she must compensate the guest for the trouble, by offering an upgrade to a superior room.

But ... the clerk does not have authority to make such a change in the system, without the intervention of his superior. 

This is a case where the verticality can prevent action with customer orientation. The first line does not have their hands on the operational decisions that allow you to produce the desired quality of service. 

This case illustrates one of the things that put themselves ahead for SMEs in relation to quality management services.

Characteristics that give SMEs an edge:

  • Decisions are made by the market. In an SME, managers are in constant contact with front line staff, and they can gain valuable customer information. This allows them to make market-oriented decisions. 
  • Decisions are made quickly. In the hotel example, that higher level employee authorized to make the change in the system is probably the owner of the hotel. In this case, even if it's 11pm on a Tuesday, it is still possible and call and get authorization. . 
  • A better understanding of customer requirements. Communication is more direct between the first line and direction.
  • It is easier to perform the tasks of quality control, technical and functional (the way in which the service is provided). The closeness discussed earlier makes it possible. If you are an SME, lean on these benefits gives you your current structure. And if your path of growth begins to look like a large company, try not override these advantages. Rather, the growth you should be able to encourage the following: 
  • Achieve economies of scale in the functions that go unnoticed by the customer (e.g. administration). 
  • Have greater technological, financial and human resource to reach better technical quality of the product (service).
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