In an increasingly crowded and competitive market, the importance of great customer service can’t be underestimated. But despite extensive checks and balances, achieving quality assurance outcomes that are meaningful is still a major challenge for regulated industries such as Financial Services and Utilities. Part of the QA conundrum can be traced back to the fact that QA means very different things to different people within the same organisation. This causes problems when it comes to defining clear QA goals and how they can be measured. In this post, we’ll uncover what Quality Assurance should mean to your company and why:
We recently asked our LinkedIn followers what they thought was the main purpose of Quality Assurance:
The results show everyone has their own interpretation of the purpose of QA. The majority of respondents in our poll classify QA as a means of measuring quality of service. That being said, today’s QA practices are generally geared towards an internal criteria of quality which are assumed to be directly related to a customer’s idea of quality which often is not the case.
Every company has their own process of reaching the best possible standard of product/service for their customers, but we need to get better at defining good quality service as well as how we measure it. We believe that QA should be focussed on the maintenance of a desired level of quality for a product or service, as well as taking into account every stage of the process of delivery or production. Gates are installed to check that products or services are meeting these standards. This can be done with speech analytics to monitor customer service representatives’ performance, making sure that they keep to scripts, minimise hold and waiting time and ensure customers get the best service and outcomes possible.
QA is a very broad area as it often covers functions such as compliance/regulations, customer service, customer vulnerability, conduct risk, customer complaints and more generally L&D. From this, QA then evolves into something that is much more subjective. It makes sense if more precise and transparent views of QA goals are shared from top management to the wider team, as it helps to establish a more open and honest communication of the QA process and assists in minimising surprises. This is because too often companies are focusing on scoring and not the outcome itself. Therefore, it becomes a tick box exercise. QA then loses its value and is less effective. When implemented correctly, QA can be used to review points that are aligned to actions which drive better customer outcomes i.e. technology can allow themes to be correctly aligned and partnered with employee training material .
An example of this is with our software, Aveni Detect, staff can be trained to better manage vulnerability. The software then creates a live feedback loop between identifying vulnerability and agent performance when dealing with your customers.
This is crucial in empowering agents and will give them the confidence to issue complaints as well as narrow the knowledge gap further down the line.
QA should be independent of business functions, and software tools such as Aveni Detect can be brought in to streamline processes and make workflows more efficient. One of the problems many industries face is that organisations combine QA with management which creates conflict and prevents processes from being implemented in a way that meets the needs of the customer. Lack of QA guidance means that QA forms can get in the way of the objectives of such as to identify risk and compliance as well as improve customer experience. This is often time-consuming and seen as a strenuous job, however, if automotion was introduced, agents could spend more time uncovering the reasons behind compliance breaches or poor customer service.
A truly effective QA process should be simple and not confused with areas of overlap such as performance reviews. This will help to ensure that focus areas are given the right care and attention, which will help agents to continuously improve their learning and development in the role and feel appreciated. Also, time can often be a problem that prevents making a meaningful impact. But by leveraging technology, it will mean that it becomes faster and easier to deal with customer issues, making the process more efficient and saving agents and customers time.
Future of QA?
The best way to improve QA is by clearly defining the purpose of QA across the business. Different functional areas should be involved in defining the role of QA, it’s objectives and how they’re measured and communicated throughout an organisation. Standards should be transparent and everyone should know what is expected of them. The organisation should constantly monitor and regulate their processes so that there is continuous improvement of QA and employees are informed about any changes. This will also aid with finding errors in processes earlier on. It’s important that consistent quality is maintained in the QA program. In addition to this, evaluating evaluators will keep management informed and maintaining documentation of all QA definitions will ensure everyone is on the same level of understanding.
The core of an effective QA programme is to ensure everyone is onboard and fully committed. It’s the role of the management to lead the way, but the pursuit to ensure quality is extended throughout the organisation, therefore it’s important that there is buy-in to the QA process at every level of the business.
By creating a strong foundation of what the company regards as QA, it will give a better understanding of what customers deem to be quality and not just for the company needs in order to tick a box for regulation. When done correctly, the QA function has the ability to drive value across the business, as no other team has this level of visibility across customer interactions to deliver insights that can be leveraged across the board. The information should be used to work closely with all other departments,creating a strong ethos around QA for the benefit of all stakeholders.
To learn more about how to integrate technology into your workplace, visit our Quality Assurance page