In many industries, a quality assurance manager is a relatively common position. This is a role designated to oversee the quality of the work being done while also training staff on quality control processes and policies. Although it’s not a role commonly found in the lawn and landscaping industry, Oasis Turf & Tree has found that adding two quality assurance managers has had a number of benefits.
According to Rob Reindl, owner of the Loveland, Ohio-based company, one of the key benefits has been a significant drop in callbacks and complaints. In fact, these are at an all-time low with the quality assurance managers focusing on preventing problems in the first place.
“By more closely overseeing the work that our lawn care technicians are doing, these quality assurance managers are making sure that everyone is learning the correct way of doing things and not getting stuck in bad habits,” Reindl says. “This keeps training as an ongoing effort rather than a one-time thing as it’s often treated.”
The role of the quality assurance manager
Oasis has always been focused on promoting from within and Reindl promoted two existing team members into these roles. Angie Bradley, the company’s chief operating officer, says that the main reason for adding these positions was to provide overall better support to the team.
“These two managers no longer meet with customers unless there’s an issue that’s greater than a service manager can handle,” Bradley explains. “Our quality assurance managers are now primarily focused on more face-time and training with the crews.”
That doesn’t mean that the quality assurance managers won’t visit the job sites. They’ll commonly come out to check on team members’ work and point out anything that could have been done differently. This allows new technicians to learn on-the-spot.
Nate Wickemeyer, one of the two quality assurance managers, says that it’s important this is done the right way. Many lawn care technicians have been micromanaged in former roles and they won’t want to feel as though someone is breathing down their neck.
“It’s not at all about pointing out mistakes or making people feel bad,” Wickemeyer adds. “It’s all positive, showing them how something might be done differently to achieve better results.”
Bradley says that digging in with even more training is something that team members tend to appreciate.
“We’re focused on better identification of problems, agronomy training, and better notes for the homeowner,” she says. “All of that has added up to happier clients and better retention.”
Since implementing these two manager positions, there have been noticeable changes.
Bradley says that requests for a manager (because of a problem) are down 50 percent since implementing these managers.
“This has been really effective at producing better results and reducing complaints in the process,” Bradley says. “So often, lawn care technicians are used to getting a half-a-day of training and then getting put in the field without any further support. Oasis has been focused on changing that.”
David Lee, the other quality assurance manager, says it’s also made a difference in retaining team members. They appreciate working for a company that supports them.
“I think it’s a differentiator for us,” Lee adds. “We really care about making sure our team is well-educated and it means a lot to them, too.”