“Exception Management” is the bane of any high volume or process driven business. For example, ask any bank, manufacturing organization, mortgage originator, retailer or home builder….managing exceptions and errors in any process is disproportionately costly, time consuming and offers exposure to their reputations. Sometimes even to their businesses themselves. It also is very distracting to become preoccupied with these issues.
It comes as no surprise, I suspect, to most investigation firms that all of their clients and particularly their core clients, any public or private entity, view accuracy, consistency and reliability as absolutely paramount. An inaccurate or even unclear case report can offer exposure in important litigation. A poor hire due to an inadequate background check can be costly in any number of ways. A fraudulently prepared investigation report can make things even worse.
Even the time spent by a client to go back to an investigator to make inquiries or to secure clarifications is a disruption to their processes and may even cause them the inability to rely on the findings. It is aggravating for them to resolve inconsistencies. It can also cost the investigator a client or their job without even knowing why. Thus…
- Reliability (and Timeliness)….…are all paramount.
A few thoughts with regard to how you might consistently address maintaining the above in an investigation firm follow….
- Make Consistency, Accuracy and Reliability a part of your organization’s Core – Communicate the importance to employees regularly; if you have a Mission Statement incorporate the priorities of reliability and consistency
- Set up Quality Control Processes – Set up quality standards and requirements; document them. Review or at least spot-check your Company’s work product and let people internally and outsourcers know and that you hold them accountable; Reward or at least acknowledge staff members that consistently perform; stop sending business to outsourcers who don’t consistently share this priority
- When Hiring New Employees and Contracting Outsourcers attempt to determine their track record of accepting responsibilities professionally – of course this is never a foolproof process….however, if they have had past success (work, school etc.), that is a barometer
- Lastly, it is often in your interest to avail yourself of the technologies available to assist with quality control. This can be a very cost-effective way to supplement the above and may include….
- Improved documentation
- Controls and guidance on Reporting
- Profits vs. Expenses
- Interfaces between various platforms eliminating the risks of redundancy in inputs
- GPS tracking as a touch point when ensuring that the work is being done
- Clarity to eliminate confusion or misunderstandings with case assignments
- Easy field system inputs so that data entry can conveniently be entered as the work is fresh in the investigator’s mind
In any event, a focus on quality control, consistency and accuracy will always be time well spent.