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3 Key Factors for Successful Quality Assurance

 

By: Peg Ayers & Turaj Seryafiaan

 

Quality Assurance (QA) is a metric with nearly as many variations as there are companies in the world.  Every company has an idea of what they want quality to look like, and each creates a system they believe will bring them to that standard of quality.  It’s easy when setting up a QA system to make it too complicated.  Everyone involved has something they think is critical to the contact.  When all those things end up in one form, they create a jumble of expectations that frustrate agents and supervisors alike.

 

3 Key Factors for Successful Quality Assurance

 

1)      Simplicity is Paramount

The first key with Quality Assurance is simplicity.  How do you want your customers to feel about dealing with you?  Listen to some calls or read some emails and chats that you believe embody the customer experience you want.  Boil each one down to its essence.  What do they have in common?  How did it happen?  That’s what you want to replicate.  Your QA plan should measure each contact against these.  Where did they match up?  What are the gaps?  What actionable steps can be taken to make each contact more like these?

 

2)      Feedback is Actionable

The second key is feedback.  How your supervisors and QA staff handle the feedback from the monitoring makes all the difference in how it’s received and put into practice.  You’ve created a simple form that agents and supervisors understand.  It shows the gaps between the current contact and the ideal contact.  It’s actionable.  Feedback has to make the desired action clear.  A “drive-by” where the form is dropped on the agent’s desk while they’re involved with another customer is not feedback.  It’s the supervisor just checking a box, and it’s not moving your company and its quality in the right direction.

 

3)      Monitored and Recorded Contacts for Coaching

Contacts can be monitored live or recorded.  Either way, being able to share the recording during the coaching can be useful.  I once had an agent swear his call was not as bad as the resulting QA score reflected.  I told him to bring the recording in and play it for me.  We listened together for less than 30 seconds before he shamefacedly said, “Never mind, I see it now.”  We then had a good conversation about opportunities for improvement.

 

What to Measure

In most cases we design and measure the quality against a predefined set of standards. In this way we can make sure agents are following the right processes and procedures.  We can make sure all the rules were followed and the customers were given the correct information (or if there is an issue, what training and coaching is required).  But this approach ignores the customer point of view.  Were they satisfied with the outcome of the contact? Was the experience effortless for them?  Customers may not be familiar with the internal requirements of a contact, but they are the ultimate judges when it comes to rating their experience with the quality of the contact.  Your QA program must consider the customer’s point of view.

Today’s best practice QA programs consist of two parts: a) Compliance –an internal measurement against requirements; and b) Customer Feedback – an external measurement based on customer experience with the agent and ultimately with the center.

Summary

Quality Assurance is an important part of operating and improving any contact center.  A poorly designed or executed QA program can become more of a liability than an asset.  Following these guidelines will help your QA program accomplish your goals and improve service in all customer-facing channels in your center.

 

2 thoughts on “3 Key Factors for Successful Quality Assurance

  1. Scott says:

    Great, simple guidelines. Having the metrics is one thing, but using them to effectively mentor and improve agent performance is key to getting better results and engaging agents so they stick around. It’s a cycle for success (if handled correctly).

  2. Juliana Diaz says:

    Definitely a good QA Program must consider different factors – there’s no need to make things complicated, you can easily centralize all data from interactions through a QA Platform, therefore giving all parts involved the necessary information to prevent, correct, improve or optimize processes. Administratively there’s data that’s imperative for decision making that can not be left behind. Through a QA Platform feedback is in real-time, no delays or such, which makes performance much more effective not only for agents, but for QA Analysts and team leaders. The ideal QA Program is collaborative among individuals and areas, where not only quality is taken care of, but performance, coaching and learning take place as well.

    It’s true there are millions of metrics that could be applied according to each business, but it’s also true there are ways in which each business’ needs can be met. A QA Platform allows you to design scorecards according to your specific needs, create distinct reports for all areas involved, monitor both individual and grouped progresses and recognize those who have improved or done a great job – let’s not forget motivation is crucial.

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