Call Center QM: The Evolution of “M”

Ask three different call center veterans what QM stands for, and you’re likely to get three different answers. Over the years I have heard several definitions of QM. Here are a few: Quality Monitoring, Quality Measuring and Quality Management. Which is it?

To me, it can be all three, depending on call center goals and maturity. Here’s what I mean:

Quality Monitoring refers to the playback and evaluation of call center interactions for the purpose of agent improvement and business process verification. The question is, what do we do after we evaluate? I often see call centers evaluating interactions with no follow through to gain insights on these evaluations.

Quality Measurement takes monitoring to the next level. This flavor of QM adds to quality monitoring the tools for measuring quality trends and assessing quality improvement over time via reports.

Quality Management: Here, we have the complete process of managing quality in call centers. This QM expands on quality measurement by introducing capabilities for setting targets (how many and which calls to evaluate), providing tools and methodologies for taking actions based on measurement outcomes (coaching, e-learning) and incorporating supervision tools to help ensure that the QM process is running smoothly and in a consistent manner (Web portal, Calibrations).

But wait—QM is being extended once again! I recently visited a call center where QM has a little longer title: Quality Management by Objective or QMBO. Using speech analytics and performance management technology, evaluators automatically focus on the interactions that affect the company’s key business objectives (e.g. first call resolution, customer satisfaction), and utilizing a KPI dashboard, are always made aware of the impact that their quality program has on their company’s objective. I’m not sure if there’s an M-word that can sum all that up but it’s clear that the future of QM is here.

As long as you are closing the loop in your QM process, it doesn’t matter how you call it!

Do you have a different definition for QM? Share your thoughts.

I’ll start with one of mine: QM = Quality Micromanagement… :)

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