Quality Control Management

Implementing a robust quality assurance framework to ensure consistent standards of customer care

Quality Control Management

1 Overview

A well designed quality management programme ensures that your support operations meet the expectations and requirements of your customers. It enables the following capabilities:

  1. Benchmarking and ongoing measurement of customer care quality
  2. Identify and address critical quality control issues identified in your processes
  3. Set targets for your agents and hold them accountable for achieving consistently high standards
  4. Create a culture of high quality service that incorporates the principles of continuous process improvement

Design your quality management programme with great care. It is important to strike the right balance to avoid negatively impacting the performance of your customer care operations. An ineffective programme may detract your ability to coach your agent and manage your day-to-day operations.

2 Tailoring to your business

A well designed quality management programme should provide a holistic assessment of your customer care operations. It should take account of a broad range of factors, including compliance with internal processes and alignment with brand guidelines.

Your quality management programme should be designed to deliver practical recommendations for improving the quality of your customer care. It should act as a valuable source of direction to agents by providing a customer centric assessment of their performance and working in a collaborative manner to develop optimal solutions.

Guidance Considerations for your business
Align your quality indicators and criteria to specific business problems What aspects of quality are important to your customers? What are your current business challenges?
Select memorable criteria so agents can offer a consistent experience when answering customer queries Can you visualise the core components of high quality interaction? Do your agents truly believe in components of your quality framework?
Determine statistically significant sample sizes and differentiate between thematic and one off issues Are you confident about the results of the quality program? Have your considered tweaking sample size based on agent performance?
Make recommendations actionable to facilitate agent development and to fix broken processes or redundant policies What quality related insights are more critical and need more attention? How to prioritise and weight the different indicators of quality to incentivise the right agent behaviours?

3 Creating an effective quality control scorecard

Requirements for quality control will be influenced by your business strategy, varying considerably across different organisations and markets. However, there are several simple steps that you can take to develop a quality scorecard that meets the unique needs of your business.

Steps:

  1. Define and document the key indicators that constitute a high quality customer interaction (e.g. brand alignment, time to first response, speed of resolution)
  2. Identify key themes and allocate these indicators to MECE (Mutually Exclusive, Collectively Exhaustive) categories
  3. Prioritise the most important indicators by assigning greater weights in your scorecard
  4. Assign a passing threshold that must be exceeded by agents

An example of an agent quality control scorecard is included in the table below. Based on the weightings assigned to each indicator, we can see that accurate and complete solutions are a priority for our hypothetical company. However, it is important to remember that there is no standardised solution for assessing quality. Every organisation will have its own criteria and priorities.

Category Indicator Skill Outcome Score
Listening Paid attention to the customer Active listening Yes / No 10 / 0
Listening Sought out opportunities to make a personal connection Relationship building Superb / Average / Needs improvement 20 / 10 / 0
Ownership Provided proactive verbal assurance Leadership Yes / No 5 / 0
Ownership Communicated all relevant solutions / resources Leadership Yes / No 10 / 0
Ownership Closed the loop on the interaction Leadership Superb / Average / Needs improvement 20 / 10 / 0
Voice of the company Adapted style to meet the needs of the customer Adaptability Superb / Average / Needs improvement 20 / 10 / 0
Voice of the company Demonstrated empathy for the customer Empathy Yes / No 15 / 0
Solution Provided accurate information / solution Accuracy Yes / No 30 / 0
Solution Provided a complete solution, exhausting all possible scenarios Completeness Yes / No 30 / 0
Internal workflow and legal compliance Correct and complete opening / closing Process compliance Yes / No 5 / 0
Internal workflow and legal compliance Followed correct consult escalation, routing and transfer policy Process compliance Yes / No 5 / 0
Internal workflow and legal compliance CSAT response sent and requested Process compliance Yes / No 10 / 0
Internal workflow and legal compliance During calls, check in with customer as per process Process compliance Yes / No 10 / 0
Internal workflow and legal compliance Categorised issues as per guidelines Process compliance Yes / No 5 / 0
Internal workflow and legal compliance Proper authentication before sharing account information Process compliance Yes / No 30 / 0
Internal workflow and legal compliance Maintained professional conduct during the interaction Process compliance Yes / No 30 / 0

4 Tips and Tricks

Your quality management programme can be a valuable asset to your business. Designed effectively, it is a great tool for identifying recurring issues and driving improvements to your internal operations. It is worth keeping the following tips and tricks in mind as you build or optimise your quality management programme.

  1. Keep it objective: At times, it can be challenging when co-workers have to review each other’s work and provide developmental feedback. Having binary (e.g. yes or no) criteria can help to minimise the subjective nature of a review.

  2. It’s not a checkbox exercise: Avoid positioning the framework as a checklist. You don’t want to take away the human element of interactions with the customer. Your agents will need to flex their style to meet the needs of different customers and to satisfy the expectations of different markets.

  3. Hire the right talent: Not everyone is capable of maintaining high levels of attention to detail while reviewing large volumes of calls or written communications. It takes patience, expertise and an eye for detail to evaluate these interactions and produce actionable recommendations.

  4. Keep the programme relevant: Quality assurance can only be effective if your reviewers keep close to your product and the expectations of your customers. Ideally, they should participate in the day-to-day activities of your customer care operations to keep their knowledge up to date.

  5. Standards of quality assurance: It can also be helpful to conduct periodic audits of your quality assurance reviews. This helps to ensure that your quality assurance team are providing consistent standards to assess agent performance.

  6. Quality assurance tools: There is a wide range of platforms available that include quality assurance review processes. This includes automating sample selection based on defined rules, to reporting the results of your quality assessments. Some may prefer more manual processes to select samples, document findings and report on outcomes.

  7. Remember, it’s teamwork!: Quality analysis and agent development are critical components of your customer care operations. The focus of your quality assurance programme should be to drive improvements, not to apportion blame for underperformance.

  8. Agent empowerment: Establish channels of communication between your quality assurance team and customer care agents. Provide opportunities for agents to solicit feedback and to understand the processes applied to conduct quality assurance reviews.

  9. Track the trend: There are valuable insights to be gained by recording and analysing the outcomes of your quality assurance processes. This allows you to distinguish between isolated and recurring issues, assess the effectiveness of any changes and measure improvements in your operations over time.

  10. Increase collaboration: For operations that span multiple sites, quality assurance processes can be invaluable for ensuring a consistent customer experience across regions. It also allows you to develop best practices and share them across your network.