Why QA doesn’t work and what to do about it

July 2019

Refocusing on quality rather than compliance.

Traditional contact centre Quality Assurance (QA) isn’t working. You’ve probably had this thought at some point if you’ve managed or worked in a sales or service team in a contact centre. Getting in-house quality assessments right is difficult. And when you don’t get it right, QA is no longer about quality at all;  it’s just another compliance-based, tick-the-box exercise.

This, and other problems with QA can include:

  • Different measures of success: in-house quality teams often focus on process. Yet nuance lies in whether the team member achieved the intent of the process. This can be the difference between a robotic interaction and a humanistic one.
  • Quality as a euphemism for compliance: while team leaders are likely to look at the quality of customer interactions in terms of the benefits and experience for the customer, an internal quality team might be driven by identifying breaches. This focus on what team members are not doing can leave them feeling like QA is only a compliance-based measure. While compliance is critical, a good measure of the quality of the conversation is also essential.
  • Conflict of interest: if team leaders are solely responsible for quality-assessing their people on the behaviours they display, it can create two problems: conflicts of interest and inconsistent assessments. Bias can play a big part in assessments, particularly when bonuses are on the line. There is also the difficulty of ensuring each internal assessor is adequately calibrated against best practice.
  • The importance of coaching: while team leaders shouldn’t be solely responsible for QA, they do need to do conversation quality assessment for the individuals in their teams. Without this, they cannot properly coach their people. So team leaders need to be supported with calibration and training of their own, to ensure they know how to assess the quality of conversations and coach their teams.

As more companies move towards rewarding their people on input (the behaviours they display) and less on output (sales), these problems become more challenging to solve. Caution post-Royal Commission has led to customer conversations becoming less customer-centric and more compliance-based. This change also highlights the challenges of measuring performance on inputs rather than outputs.

QA can be crucial to the way you recognise and reward your people, but it begs the question; does your QA team know what “good” looks like? If it’s not done well and is focused on measuring the wrong indicators, the integrity of your reward and recognition system becomes compromised.

One possible solution is outsourcing the quality component of your QA. Leave compliance with the QA team, train team leaders in good conversation quality assessment, and use an external provider who can calibrate assessments for consistency. Remove the bias, ensure calibration across teams, and genuinely hold up your quality measures to a regulator knowing they are robust and impartial: a single source of truth.

GRIST has analysed over 70,000 sales and service conversations. If you’re concerned about your QA system and would like to learn more about outsourcing options, contact GRIST today for a chat.

[Photo by Charles ?? on Unsplash]

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