A Modern Approach to Quality Management

Our quality management processes are disconnected. Agents must go to too many places to understand how they are doing.

Quality Assurance Manager, Fortune 100 Healthcare Company

Sound familiar?

The quality management process is a major key to the success of any customer-facing organization, offering a prime vantage point for insights into customer-agent interactions and identifying training and improvement opportunities. But these processes don’t always deliver the full, potential value. In this article, we’ll take a quick look at some of the QM process gaps, and best practices to turn things around.

The Gaps

“ Supervisors and managers are spending too much time trying to understand where agents need support — and can’t take quick action.”

Director of Quality Management, Global BPO

Traditional quality management processes don’t always deliver the quality of information that operational leaders want, and the gaps can prove an enormous obstacle to optimizing processes and insight. Below are a few common opportunity areas:

A One-Size-Fits-All Approach  

The one-size-fits-all approach is often the standard operating procedure and hinders impact. One example is evaluation forms, which tend to use a single structure and adhere to an unvarying set of protocols and guidelines. Variables aren’t usually considered, meaning that employees with different tenure, experience, performance histories, and abilities are evaluated at the same frequency and by the same set — thus, minimizing optimization and insights.

A Static Process

When quality assurance teams share scores with supervisors, it tends to be a transactional passing of information, with no real recommendations or guidance. Supervisors will use this information to coach the employee, but this, too, is usually one-directional, with no real open discussion or feedback loop, which can lead to time-consuming disputes.

Lack of Transparency and Connection

Many call centers operate on multiple systems — and quality management evaluations can live anywhere, making it tough for agents to proactively examine their scores and understand where they need to improve. Evaluations also tend to lack context around the call and root causes for errors, such as training or operational gaps. When scores lack transparency, agents might question the score’s fairness and feel disengaged and unmotivated. All of this can have a negative impact on engagement, potentially contributing to already-high attrition rates. 

Tedium for Quality Assurance Teams

The gaps in traditional processes also affect quality assurance analysts. Their days are largely spent on transactional and reactive tasks that are disconnected from the rest of the process; essentially, analysts will repeatedly evaluate, note, and submit in a silo. This tedium, combined with the lack of connection to supervisors and agents, can quickly derail motivation and engagement, leading to boredom and potentially, attrition.

Turning it All Around

Quality assurance offers tremendous insight into agent performance and the customer experience. To achieve this, organizations don’t have to rip and replace their existing technology. It is often simply a matter of enhancement. Below are a few recommended practices:

Make QM part of onboarding. As part of their training, let new hires know exactly what to expect from the quality management process. This can be done via a learning module, and perhaps by holding a simulation (complete with a sample evaluation form) with a coach or a quality assurance team member.

Training with Generative AI. Your operations team might identify common mistakes, compliance issues, and/or customer complaints and will want to create new, targeted training materials. Look for a platform that enables your team to leverage generative AI to create these materials quickly, efficiently, and at scale.

Review and update criteria. Evaluate your organization’s quality assurance criteria. Are you using a standard form and guidelines? Are they tailored to call types? Do they take individual agents, their tenure, and performance history into account? A tailored approach will help better evaluate performance and offer much better performance and operational insights.

Be transparent. Transparency is key to success for everyone involved. When scores are easily accessible, and supervisors have clarity into scores and their details, they will have a better understanding of what to address with agents and actionable next steps for improvement.

Make Insights clear and actionable. Provide agent scores in real-time with quality KPIs. If performance is trending down or is below a goal, their supervisor should receive that insight so they can provide timely coaching while the agent receives an automated knowledge boost.

Keep agents in the feedback loop. An agent’s entire workday is steeped in customer contact, making them an excellent optimization resource. Their feedback can help improve quality management processes and provide valuable insight for operations managers, such as process and system bottlenecks, and root causes around common errors.

Coach the coaches. Giving constructive feedback is truly an art form — and it’s not always easy or intuitive. Supervisors might be hesitant when it comes to coaching or might not have the best approach. Training your organization’s supervisors on effective and constructive coaching practices facilitates positive, productive, and actionable conversations, thus paving the way for agent improvement.

Gamify the experience. The application of game mechanics (such as leaderboards, badges, and points) to a non-game context, gamification taps into intrinsic and extrinsic motivators that keep users engaged. By tying gamification into goals for the quality assurance team (such as completing evaluations) teams and supervisors can earn rewards and recognition. Make the experience personal, connected, and engaging by segmenting leaderboards to meet employees where they are in terms of tenure, skill, and other criteria. Adding this element will foster a sense of healthy, fun competition and drive motivation, engagement, and improved performance.

It is no secret that quality assurance is a critical element of customer-facing organizations. But traditional processes are disconnected, static, transactional, and tedious for quality assurance teams — and don’t deliver their full potential value. However, it is possible to create a modern, dynamic, engaging, and productive process that connects quality assurance managers to team leaders and agents, fosters a meaningful feedback loop, and delivers powerful insights. n

This article was submitted by Centrical. Learn more about them by visiting their website at www.centrical.com and requesting a personalized overview. For more information, you may also reach out to sales@centrical.com.