Quality Assurance Principles: Measure, Monitor and Train…

What are the tools to measure quality and how does this provide a benefit?
When we first set out to create a solid Quality Assurance process, one of the first things we needed to tackle was creating an effective method of measuring agent adherence to expectations.

One of our main priorities for our scorecard/monitoring form was that we be able to do root-cause analysis on expectations not met. It was not enough to simply know if something was done incorrectly. If something was done incorrectly, we wanted to know how it was done incorrectly. When an agent has an expectation to read a disclosure verbatim, there are many ways in which the agent could fail to meet that expectation. It takes a lot of forethought to identify the many ways to miss on an expectation, but it is well worth the investment. With the ability to identify root-cause you could more effectively address the pain points you experience as a company, and measure improvement on specific deficiencies.

We also felt it very important to assign weights or values to expectations. This allowed us to measure Quality with a numeric value. With each expectation being assigned a numeric value, we could determine a score for an agent’s individual monitor, or their monitor session for the month. If an agent has a score associated with their monitor results for the month, you can more easily identify at a high level which agents needed the most help performing on Quality.

It is also important to track how issues that have been identified through Quality Assurance monitoring are addressed. When an agent is identified as not meeting the same expectation multiple months in a row, it is important to be able to go back and see the different levels of remediation that have been taken with the agent. It’s not helpful to the agent or the company if remediation never escalates beyond a training opportunity. Tracking this info is helpful in knowing what the next steps are for correcting an issue.

Lastly, it is very important to have robust reporting. Having robust reporting that allows for both high level analysis and for digging into the minutiae to determine root-cause will be key to the success of your Quality Assurance program.

How do you manage quality and why is it important?
You have to have a good process, and it needs to be documented. If you don’t have a solid, documented process for your Quality Assurance program, what little process you do have will become convoluted and become nearly impossible to manage over time.

A few things to consider when determining and documenting your process:

  • Roles, responsibilities, and accountability – These need to be clearly defined, and a good process will have accountability built into it, from the agent on up.
  • Deadlines – When do monitors need to be completed? How long should it take to address an issue identified in a monitor?
  • Remediation of issues – it can be helpful to as much as possible, standardize your plan for remediation of issues. This will ensure continuity when you have multiple teams, departments, etc.

With a strongly documented process, everyone should know their roles and responsibilities. Breakdowns in process will be easier to identify and correct. Between having a good documented process and affective tools for measuring Quality, your success in managing the Quality Program will be dramatically improved.

Who do you teach QA to and why is it important to train employees on it?
Anybody that has a role and/or responsibility in the Quality process needs to be trained on Quality Assurance.  Everyone needs to know what their roles and responsibilities are as it relates to Quality, and the Quality program. Agents being monitored need to know the expectations they should meet. Supervisors need to know deadlines for addressing issues and delivering feedback. The list goes on and on. The point is, a good process is worthless if the people involved don’t know what is expected of them.

While it is important that everyone understands the what (how to execute), they also need to be trained on the why. The effectiveness of a Quality program can be greatly diminished when buy in is lacking. It’s been my experience that oftentimes staff will know what’s expected, but they won’t know why it’s expected. Knowing what is expected isn’t always sufficient if the expectation is perceived to not make any sense. Employees should understand the potential impact that not meeting an expectation can have, whether from a regulatory standpoint or even your company’s standing with a client. Being transparent and sharing the why behind an expectation goes a long way with developing much needed buy in.

 

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