Contact Center Quality Management: Whose Job Is It Anyway

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If I asked you who owns quality management in the contact center, how would you respond? You might be tempted to say, “Quality is everybody’s job.” While I appreciate your winning attitude and certainly believe there’s truth to that answer, I remain a bit skeptical. The intent of this article is to look at quality management from an operational standpoint and talk about specific roles and responsibilities.

As we discuss roles for quality management I’ll first note that titles and responsibilities can vary widely depending on both the size and structure of the customer service operation and the volume of quality evaluations the team is aiming to complete. Let’s look at some key quality management activities and discuss how a team might be structured to handle them.

Form Creation and Definition

A quality form is the set of criteria that you’ve determined is essential for successful contact center interactions. While this may ultimately require sign off from the top customer service, sales or contact center leader in the organization, this can and should be a team effort involving people at all levels of the support organization.

For example, when determining whether an answer given to a customer is accurate and complete, no one should know your products and policies better than your agents, leads and supervisors. Another big one to consider is regulatory obligations such as HIPAA, PCI or the process of authenticating a customer before disclosing sensitive account information. This is the stuff that absolutely cannot be missed and will likely require a consultation with your legal representation to ensure compliance.

As you build out the quality form, I also recommend creating a document that defines the entire quality process, including the form, in more detail. The creation and maintenance of this document can and should be a collaborative effort for the team, but someone, whether a manager, supervisor or otherwise appointed quality leader, should ultimately be in charge of ensuring the document is kept up to date and accessible by the right people.

Quality Monitoring and Coaching

The responsibility for monitoring quality and coaching agents varies widely depending on team structure and size. For smaller teams, the responsibility often falls to a supervisor, sometimes with the assistance of a team lead. Their general cadence will be to review a set of interactions for each agent and then schedule some time with the agents for feedback, coaching and goal setting.

As teams grow and either the demands on supervisors become greater or leadership has more aggressive quality goals, it’s common to form a dedicated team of quality leads or supervisors with the sole responsibility of quality monitoring and coaching. Finding time to conduct QA evaluations can be difficult for supervisors amid a busy contact center floor where agents are flooding them with questions, so there’s often benefit to having a separate team of people who can focus on monitoring quality each day.

Calibration

Quality calibration is a process for minimizing the variations in how everyone responsible for conducting quality assurance and coaching evaluations rate and review interactions. This is common for larger teams with multiple quality reviewers or for companies working with an outsourcer or distributed across multiple locations; it serves to ensure that everyone is evaluating customer interactions the same way.

Much of this process can be facilitated by a supervisor or appointed quality leader who is responsible for selecting interactions to review, scheduling and driving a meeting to discuss the results as a group and making any needed updates to the quality form and definitions.

While they may not often conduct quality evaluations, the head of the customer service operation should periodically join these sessions. This is a terrific opportunity to steer the quality team to focus on the behaviors that drive better customer experiences.

Quality Management System and Reporting

Many of these components in the quality management process can be managed through a complex series of spreadsheets, forms and formulas rather than using a quality management system — and this is a reality for many contact centers. This might include maintaining a form where reviews are completed, a document to track team progress toward weekly or monthly quality goals and generating additional quality reporting. If this describes your technology stack for quality management, the responsibility for system maintenance likely falls to the resident Excel wizard on the team. And, while I’m continuously amazed at the abilities of such wizards, I’m concerned by the time commitment and lack of sustainability of this approach.

A much better, and significantly less time-consuming approach is a fully-featured quality management system. From form creation to quality monitoring, reporting, coaching and calibration, a quality management system makes everything easier and can be administered by any leader on the team, freeing up time and resources for other critical activities in your contact center. Now that I think about it, with the right system in place, quality really can be everybody’s responsibility.

Jeremy Watkin

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Jeremy Watkin is a Product Marketing Manager at 8x8. He has more than 19 years of experience as a customer service professional leading high performing teams in the contact center. Jeremy has been recognized numerous times as a thought leader for his writing and speaking on a variety of topics including quality management, outsourcing, customer experience, contact center technology, and more. When not working you can typically find him spending quality time with his wife Alicia and their three boys, running with his dog, or dreaming of native trout rising for a size 16 elk [...] Read More >

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