Just a little effort
The new fiscal year has begun, and NSTC has been busy from the start of this year providing STCW basic safety training for new employees in many companies. We are looking forward to working with many companies again this year
While most of the staff members are working in Tobata office (NSTC headquarters) and are busy with several courses every day, I’m one of the few staff members working in Tokyo, mainly doing quality management tasks. We share our iPad screens every day and have a lot of meetings, but sadly I can’t be the “cat’s paw” because we work far away from each other. Every day, I keep my antenna up and look for something that can be done remotely or some kind of hint in my daily life.
My condominium has started new challenge, to install tree name plate on the plantings on the premises this year. In fact, there is another huge condominium one block away, and that condominium has had tree name plate installed for some time, and I have enjoyed looking at them when I walk around and learning the names of new trees.
Of course, not all of them are installed on all of the plantings, so they don’t always answer everything that I want to know, but I now enjoy the corridor I walk every day more than before.
In addition, about twice a month, janitor now distributes a printout called “Four Seasons of this condominium”, which introduces the seasonal flowers blooming on the premises, and post it on the bulletin board.
“Wow! I’ve always been curious about this pretty tree with dense clusters of small yellow flowers. It’s been six years since I lived here, but for the first time I know the name of the tree and where it got its name!” I was very happy to know the name of the tree. Furthermore, since it also indicates where the flowers are blooming in the premises, I now have fun of taking a route home that I would not normally take just to look for the flowers.
Let’s say it takes 2 hours to make this letter. That’s twice a month, for a total of four hours. One of our many janitors spends four hours a month, or half a day, working on this service, and there are probably many people not just me, who look forward to this small service. On the contrary, few people do not want it done or find it unpleasant, I believe. (Of course, I am also aware that there are those who think there is no need to spend money for printing out the material.)
I realized that even though adding just a little bit of effort does not have a noticeable effect that can be seen in numerical values, it can increase customer satisfaction in ways that cannot be seen by real eyes.
The same is true of my work in Quality Management. What can I do to make the customer (delegates) feel as comfortable as possible during the training? Is there anything that we can change just a little bit to make it more comfortable? Is there any chance to improve? I try to extract feedback from our clients by keeping my antennae up.
The easiest thing to catch my antennae are the questionnaires (feedback) written by the delegates. Some of them are words of gratitude or encouragement to our staff members (in fact, I read them with a smile on my face every time I read them), while others are requests for improvements, or requests for things like this or this to be included in program, etc. If you have any concerns or wishes, please feel free to fill out the questionnaire when you participate the training course.
All of our staff members will read through your responses. We read them closely to see if there are any major areas for improvement, as well as any small efforts that we could add to improve. I eagerly await your responses and comments.
(Thank you very much for sticking with me to the end of this long article!)
Hiroko, Quality Manager