The Evolution of Call Centre Quality Assurance
Overseeing call centers in the 1990’s was relatively straightforward, and hitting the critical key performance indicator ASA (average speed of answer) was the result of effective scheduling and force management. At the time, I was overseeing two call centers for a major telco provider in the northeast US. The Quality Assurance (QA) team was managed separately to ensure impartial feedback on employee performance. With a rather narrow focus, the QA team’s main purpose was to give me direction on which employees should be terminated.
The QA team based their decisions on a few randomly sampled recorded customer interactions. Occasionally when we were lucky they would provide good instructional input, although it was always alongside their recommendations for termination. When basing terminations on only a few observations, the union leaders were sure to challenge the decision and occasionally had these terminations overturned.
Fast forward to today and the QA function can be a strategic resource to help drive the overall customer experience. Feedback on performance can be completely outsourced to the ultimate provider: the customer. Fizzback polls customers after interactions with employees and can provide insights to QA for developing targeted training, incentive programs and process improvements. This positions the QA team as an enabler for improvement, rather than just the once-despised “auditor” of performance. The volume of feedback is dependent on the client’s needs and can be geared toward a “census” rather than sampling approach, where every customer is polled.
As for the future, QA may be at the forefront of influencing company strategy. Leveraging key voice of customer input to drive decision making, companies can become more fluid and adaptive to changes in the marketplace. The front-line QA team has their finger on the pulse of the customer, the most important barometer of company performance. But for the sake of us all, please answer the phone timely and don’t let your ASA performance slip!