This article details the results of the most recent QATC quarterly survey on critical quality assurance and training topics. About 70 contact center professionals representing a wide variety of operations provided insight regarding the quality assurance tools and processes in their centers.
The largest number of participants is from call center operations with between 101 and 200 agents. However, the balance is widely dispersed across all ranges. This mix of respondents repressents a broad spectrum of call center sizes. Participants from financial, healthcare, utility, insurance, and “other” industries have the largest representation but there are respondents from a wide variety of industries.
Technology or Format Used for QA
Respondents were asked what technology or format is used for their quality monitoring evaluations. Two-thirds indicated that they use a quality monitoring technology. Sixteen percent each chose Excel spreadsheets or some other technology/format. Only 1% indicated the use of hard copy and manually tabulated scores. Tracking and managing the evaluations is a time-consuming task but it is critical that it be as accurate and timely as possible. While there appears to be a significant use of commercial technologies, there are still many using other methods.
Frequency of Form Updates
Respondents were asked how often quality monitoring forms are updated. One-third of the respondents indicated it is done once per year while 26% indicated it is done whenever the business changes. Twenty-two percent indicated it is updated between 1 and 5 years. It is important to the credibility and usefulness of the process that the form capture the most important elements of the contacts. The need for updates is driven in part by the dynamic nature of the types of contacts and process changes the organization experiences.
Number of Questions/Statements on the Forms
Respondents were asked how many questions and/or statements are on the quality evaluation form. Half of the respondents indicated that they have between 10 and 20 items on their forms. Only 7% indicated they have more than 30 items, but the remaining 43% are evenly split between less than 10 items and 21 to 30. Balancing the focus on the most important qualities of the contact and capturing enough detail to guide coaching is challenging. Too few items make it difficult to identify the root cause of problems and may provide little coachable content, but too many can waste time for the analyst and dilute the importance of the critical items.
Weighting of Items
Survey participants were asked if their questions and/or statements are weighted. Over 80% indicated that they do weight some items to give more value to the most important items. However, 18% do not provide weighting, suggesting that all the items evaluated are of equal importance to the organization.
Respondents were asked what scoring scheme they utilize on their forms. Multiple choices were accepted. The most frequently chosen were the binary choices of Yes/No or Pass/Fail. Approximately one-third of the respondents indicated they use a scale such as 1 to 5. Only 6 do not score their forms.
There are interesting arguments in the industry regarding scoring. Some say that scoring such as excellent, meets requirements, and needs improvement are helpful, especially for new hires. Scale scores are the most challenging to calibrate and the larger the range of the scale the harder it is. However, some items (such as soft skills) defy a simple binary choice and may be achieved to some degree or another. Using more than one scoring option for the items on a single form may provide more useful information than having only one option. Not scoring can take the focus on goal numbers out of the picture and put the emphasis on the text provided to support coaching efforts. It is important to keep in mind the purpose of the QA evaluation and make sure the data provided and the processes support that purpose.
Bonus Points for Excellence
The respondents were asked if they award bonus points for exceptional performance. Only 18% indicated that they do have bonus points. While there may not be a defined bonus system within the QA evaluation process, it is important to identify and reward excellence. Rewarded behavior is repeated behavior.