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Quality monitoring: How to get started

In this call center tip from Donna Fluss, learn quality monitoring techniques and how to create a quality assurance strategy with limited staff.

I was assigned to start up a quality monitoring (QM) department in my company. I have gone through the ground work of developing quality monitoring tools, conducting workshops, etc. There are more than 260 agents in this call center and only two quality assurance (QA) coordinators. We cannot listen to every agent's calls according to best practice standards. How can we work around this to still achieve the value add of quality assurance (QA) while we fight the battle to employ more QA staff to cope with the workload?

First of all, it's a great achievement that your organization recognizes the importance of implementing a quality monitoring (QM) program. For a call center to be successful, it is essential to capture and evaluate how well call center agents adhere to internal policies and procedures and interact with customers in phone, email and chat/collaboration interactions. When quality monitoring programs are well designed and institutionalized, they yield great benefits for customers, enterprises, contact centers and agents.

While you don't mention this in your question, I am assuming that you will be using a quality management or recording application or suite to facilitate the QA process. Quality recording or liability suites incorporate many built-in efficiencies to increase the number of evaluations that can be performed with less time and effort. Additionally, some of these applications automatically score every recorded interaction, identifying calls that do not meet pre-defined quality requirements. Instead of evaluating a random sample of calls, this allows organizations to focus limited resources on monitoring calls with high impact. This is sometimes referred to as precision or targeted monitoring. It also allows a reviewer to select specific call types for evaluation, such as service calls, calls with a sales disposition, dispute calls, etc. (If you have not yet invested in one of these products, you may want to consider doing so. My company, DMG Consulting, provides in-depth coverage of these applications on our Web site.

Another way call centers address QM resource limitations is to split the number of agent evaluations that need to be completed among supervisors and quality reviewers. While it's important to have a dedicated QA team, it's also essential for line supervisors or managers to keep informed about their agents' performance. Evaluating agents is a great way to keep in touch.

Regardless of your approach, it's important to define the number and frequency of evaluations to be conducted. To accurately measure service quality and establish credibility and reliability for the quality monitoring process, evaluations should be performed for all agents on a regular basis. Management must decide how many calls/emails/chat sessions to evaluate weekly and monthly. It's important to select a number that is statistically relevant, but not too onerous for supervisors and quality reviewers—if asked to review too many interactions, they will never reach their goals. For additional information on QA best practices, please read DMG Consulting's Quality Monitoring Best Practices Drive Contact Center Success*.
* Editor's note: Requires registration

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