Compliance Inspections and Audits: Best Practices


One of the perks of working with our Action Card clients is seeing the “a-ha moment” when these multi-unit businesses officially leave paper standards inspections behind and go digital. It’s actually fun. From the time they first see the app on a Go To Meeting demo to when they’re in a store, running through their inspections on a tablet, taking photos, adding notes and creating “actionable items” for their store managers and franchisees to follow up on, it’s like watching your kids learn how to ride a bike. You know the moment they wobble down the sidewalk without help, they’ll never go back to not knowing how to ride a bike. And on our end, we’re learning too. We work with wireless retailers, franchise owners, restaurant chains and hospitals and they all have common challenges when driving compliance. I wanted to share a few things we’ve learned from our clients.

 Tips on Field Management and Compliance Reviews

  • Have high standards that reinforce your core values and reflect your commitment to your brand promise.
  • Write a consistent checklist of objective, measurable items that, when adhered to at the location level, create an exceptional buying experience for your customers
  • Take personalities out of the reviews. If your standards are well-written, you won’t get different scores based on the personalities of your field personnel.
  • Use Yes or No Checklist Items. You have your standards. A things Is either happening according to them or it is not. Don’t use scales. You want 100% compliance to your brand standards, not degrees of compliance.
  • Sell the Why. Your employees and owners need to understand how your standards lead to customer retention and revenue. The reviews should be as much about relationship building and communication as they are about gathering this important compliance data on-site.
  • Automate your process. If you’re doing reviews on paper, you will not see outcomes and your process will lack transparency and accountability, to say nothing of the inefficiency of having to re-enter that information again. It’s 2014 now. Soon you’ll have a self-driving car. You should be using a mobile device to conduct your visits.
  • Follow Up. If you identified areas where your people need to fix something, make sure you set a date for when that will be done and have an agreed upon way of communicating when it has been done.
  • Recognize Achievement. As much effort should be spent documenting examples of excellence as you spend identifying areas out of compliance. This is part of selling the Why and is much more effective than the stick.

Most of our clients understand these principles well. Their challenge is in implementing a process that reinforces these practices and standards.