QATC Survey Results

This article details the results of the most recent QATC quarterly survey on critical quality assurance and training topics.  Contact center professionals representing a wide variety of industries provided insight regarding quality assurance for back office activities.

Number of Agent Seats

The largest number of participants is from operations with between 101 and 200 seats.  However, the balance is widely dispersed across ranges from under 50 agents to over 500 seats.  The industries represented by the participants are widely dispersed as well.  This provides a good representation of all sizes of centers and industries.

Back Office Work Definition

Respondents were asked to define what work they consider to be back office activity rather than contact center tasks. More than one option could be chosen.  Email was the most commonly chosen work type, while chat was next.  The lowest number of respondents chose social media as a back office activity.

Back Office Quality Reviews

Respondents were asked if they review back office activities for quality.  Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) indicated that they do review these activities with another 12 percent considering it for the future.  For those that do not review back office activities, the most frequently reported reason is that the processes are too complicated for standardized quality reviews.  There is also a high incidence of reluctance to have this work analyzed either because there is not enough QA staff to accomplish it or the back office department management does not want it done.

Types of Back Office Work Audited

When asked to be more specific about the work audited for the back office, the responses are highly varied with email and data entry selected most often.  In general, these activities (with the exception of chat) do not have to be completed in real-time with the customer involved in the interaction until it is done.

Who Performs Quality Reviews

When asked who does the reviews of back office activities, the most common answer was the contact center’s quality assurance team.   However, some have QA teams within each business unit or a separate QA unit for the whole organization.  Several respondents chose “other.”  The work done in some back office teams is similar to that done in the contact center, while some work is quite different and specialized so that the QA processes would need to be as well.

Support Staff Ratios

Respondents were asked if the ratio of QA support staff was the same as used for contact center activities.  Just over half indicated that the ratio is the same while 38 percent indicated that there are fewer QA staff for the back office work.  Only 10 percent indicated that they have a higher ratio of QA staff for the back office work.

Form Used for Reviews

Survey participants were asked if they use the same QA form for back office teams as they do for the contact center.  Twenty-nine percent indicated that they do use the same QA form, but 71 percent do not.  This follows the suggestion that some back office teams do work similar to that handled on calls while other teams do work that is significantly different.

How Back Office is Audited

Respondents were asked how the back office activities are audited.  Just over one-third (36 percent) indicated that they use a commercial QA system while 13 percent automate with a home-grown tool.  Spreadsheets (Excel) are used by 15 percent and manual paper forms by 8 percent.  However, over one-quarter (28 percent) of the respondents use something other than the four choices offered in the survey.   The total number using some kind of automated system far exceeds those who reported using the same form for contact center and back office work suggesting that there are separate processes utilized within those automated tools for the different types of work.

Type of Back Office Work Audited

Respondents were asked what types of back office work audited and approximately half indicated they audit the electronic work and most of the rest do both electronic and paper-based work. Only one percent review only paper-based activities.

Audits Per Person/Per Month

Respondents were asked how many audits were completed per person for back office activities. Nearly two-thirds indicated that they complete between 1 and 5 audits per person each month.  One-quarter (24 percent) indicated that they complete 6 to 10 per person with 13 percent completing more than 10.  The situation is similar to QA for call activities in that the reviews represent only a small fraction of the total work for most of the organizations.

Feedback Frequency

Respondents were asked if the frequency of feedback to back office personnel is the same as it is for contact center agents.  For two-thirds of the respondents the frequency is the same.

Review for Needed Corrections

Respondents were asked if they review the work after the audit to ensure that any needed corrections have been completed.  Only 13 percent indicated that they do not do this post-QA review.  For those that do the second review, 39 percent indicated that they do a complete QA review of the second process while 61 percent do not (only looking for the needed correction).


This survey provides insight into the utilization of quality review processes for back office activities.  For most of these respondents, email and chat are considered back office work and the types of work done in these media may be quite similar to that done on phone calls.  For others, the back office activities may be quite different from calls or may be follow-up work for live interactions. Where the work is similar, the QA processes and forms may be the same, but the level of complexity in other back office activities may require very different QA processes to be effective.  Contact center practices such as workforce management and QA are moving steadily into the back office environments and adapting these processes to new kinds of work is necessary.

We hope you will complete the next survey, which will be available online soon.