Quality assurance (QA) is the process of verifying whether a product
meets the required specifications and customer expectations. QA is a
process-driven approach that facilitates and defines goals regarding product
design, development and production. QA’s primary goal is tracking and resolving
deficiencies prior to product release.
Most businesses utilize some
form of quality assurance and may even be represented by distinct departments
or divisions that focus solely on quality assurance issues.
By ensuring a level of
quality in its products or services, the business is able to build a positive
reputation for reliability and consistency. This allows consumer trust and
confidence in the business and helps it compete with other businesses in the
In 1947, an
international federation of organizations known as ISO 9000 was founded. The ISO
9000 is a set of standards first published in 1987 designed to help
organizations meet statutory and regulatory requirements, as well as consumer
needs, for product quality. Manufacturers and businesses can become certified
by fulfilling the requirements defined in ISO 9001. This offers independent
confirmation of an organization’s adherence to quality standards, and more than
one million organizations around the world are certified with ISO 9001.
In Business the customer satisfaction always comes first and
that’s no different whether Vodafone is selling a product or a service to a
customer. Vodafone always looks into new creative ways to assess and improve quality
of what they have to offer to customers so that they can keep happy customers
and remain being highly competitive in the marketplace.
Vodafone provides Fibre circuits to large enterprise
companies. As these types of orders are in the thousands/millions of pounds it
is vital Vodafone ensure the quality of their service surpasses their own
expectation and that of the customer. At the start of the process an ARFS
(Agreed Ready for Service) date is agreed with the customer and put into a
contract. This contract will have stipulations that will prevent Vodafone from
refunding the customer if there are events outside the control of the company
An SLA which is known as a Service Level Agreements are
agreements on a contract which is put in place with a supplier and defines what
service will be supplied by that supplier and at what level the service will be
undertaken. In Vodafone the main supplier for Enterprise fibre delivery is John
Henry Group. The responsibilities and priorities of JHG in undertaking the
service will also be specified within the Service Level Agreement. These agreements
that are put form part of the quality assurance that is sold to the customer at
the start of the project.
A service level
agreement is effectively a set of contractual obligations often built into a contract
through a number of specific clauses or drawn up itself as a separate agreement.
If these agreements aren’t stipulated thoroughly in the contract it can lead to
unfair penalty costs that can be enforced by the opposite company.
Any service level agreement should detail
the following key provisions:
The ICT tools that would be used to
record down the quality of a fibre installation would include, a
Laptop/Computer and Mobile phones. On these devices communication applications
used would include Email, Telephone and SMS messaging. The main software
packages used to assess quality systems called Clarify (Updating portal),
Express (Mapping database), FMAN (Fibre record platform) with the generic
applications such as Microsoft word, Excel a PowerPoint to demonstrate key
points of an order.
Quality of service
The main ways in which you obtain
the metrics of successful installation and quality Assurance would be firstly
through sales revenue, as if the quality of the service were to have gone down
Vodafone would be able to recognise that there is less cash coming into the
business which would highlight that customers aren’t happy with the level of
quality being offered to them. Secondly by looking at the customer complaints
register it will be easy for Vodafone to narrow down on what is causing the
complaints and truly assess whether it is a quality aspect from there end, once
they work out what the problem is with their service it can be improved. Thirdly
with every fibre order Vodafone does, an automatic link to an online survey is
sent to the customer to fill out. Similarly, to the complaints register
Vodafone can filter and narrow in on what is causing them to not offer as great
of a service to which they wanted in the first place.
The processes that are in place to
obtain Quality Assurance results include:
Current/Leaving customers to fill out an online form with their feedback on the
service provided by Vodafone.
Market research on the offerings from competitors
evaluation of contractors and subcontractors used to carry out the Fibre
The main ways in which Vodafone
measures the value of the services is through:
1. Sales Revenue –
As previously discussed this gives a major indication whether or not customers
are happy with the quality of Vodafone’s products/services
2. Complaints Register-
To find out the specific reasons as to why customers aren’t happy with the
quality of service provided.
3. Number of Customers leaving
Vodafone – By looking and analysing these figures Vodafone can assess all the
reasons why customers are suddenly leaving and put a plan in action to eradicate
the possibility of it ever happening again.
4. Market Share- Vodafone
wants to be the very best in the marketplace and the market position is a clear
indication as to what companies are providing the best quality to their
5. Ofcom complaints register- Similar
to the complaints register Vodafone can see what are the biggest mistakes they
are making when it comes to delivering a quality service.
Ultimately Vodafone has one of the
best suites of tools that they can use to audit their level of service and with
this ability it gives them an edge in a marketplace which is very volatile as
customers can easily move from one provider to another.
I personally believe that Vodafone
a reward scheme- By setting up a reward scheme to loyal customers it will make
customers feel more appreciated for doing business with Vodafone and that
feeling adds to the level of quality that Vodafone are offering them.
to investing more into the Vodafone Network- If Vodafone publicly announces
that they are committing a specific number towards the fibre networks that they
offer enterprise customers, customers will feel that Vodafone really cares
about offering the best quality service and they want to retain and keep
the service that they offer the customer- By updating the service given to the Enterprise
customer, the customer will be able to remain competitive within their marketplace
as they will be taking advantage of all the latest technological
functionalities provided by Vodafone and using to improve their business.