If you’ve ever worked in a customer service or regulated industry, chances are you’ve either done some form of quality management yourself or you’ve come across a team who has. Quality Assurance or QA teams have never been the most popular area in a business, let's be honest, nobody likes to be told they’re wrong!
We understand the challenges faced by QA teams on changing the perception of quality in customer contact teams. We’ve actually got a blog totally dedicated to that topic here. But we wanted to get it straight from the horses’ mouth and really get to know:
- - the myths associated with QA teams,
- - ways to recognise when these myths are being believed in your team,
- - what you can do to bust these myths and get a better relationship with quality.
So we asked a Quality Assurance team manager to share all the details. Lee Stark has worked from front-line to a QA team manager over the last 7 years. We asked him to share some Quality Assurance myths he's experienced but also how he'd suggest moving forwards once you’ve squashed the untruths...
During my time working in Quality Assurance I've heard several myths and rumours which have given me a chuckle. If people came to speak to me or the team, it was something I was keen to resolve. I’ve got 5 myths about Quality Assurance and QA teams that really spring to mind, and if you notice they’re already heard of in your team, please consider the actions to squash them!
QA myth 1 - 'They get a bonus for every failed score they provide.'
It's human nature that people remember their negative experiences more than their positive ones. Management are also usually quicker to act on failed scores than passed scores, naturally due to the risks involved. This easily creates a vision that QA are always failing people.
Whats the truth?
If this was true and we all got bonuses for failed evaluations I wouldn't have been driving round in an old car and wearing shirts from Primark! In my experience the more failed scores provided overall means more work moving forward.
QA departments normally work on the 'risk to the business'. Usually the biggest risk to a business would be customer facing staff. If there are staff who are constantly failing scores then the QA team may decide to a higher level of checking on them to ensure the quality is maintained... which would mean more work for the QA team.
QA myth 2 - 'They're unregulated and whatever they say goes.'
Quality Assurance is often a department used as a 'get out' card. Whenever a process has changed or if an agent does not agree with something, I've known contact centres to use the phrase “QA have said we need to…..”
Whats the truth?
In any organisation I've worked in, Quality Assurance has always been regulated and monitored by the Compliance team to ensure they aren't only scoring correctly but keeping an independent view too.
While QA may show tolerance to customer facing staff or first line checkers, the same cannot be said for those 'QA-ing' the QA team. A Quality Assurance team should lead the way in accurate and fair scoring and providing assurance of quality of service. For example, in one of the companies I've worked in, not only was the QA team overseen by the Compliance department but the QA Manager also had to provide a level of assurance too.
This extra level of QA tied in with appeals coming in from the first line means the QA officer has a much harder role than many expect.
QA myth 3 - 'They don't understand the role.'
Sometimes there can be strained relations between QA and Contact Centre Management. Quality Assurance teams may be trained separately from the contact centre staff, giving the impression they've not been trained to conduct the role. Also, in a good QA team there's a mix of internal and external staff. This means that some of the QA team may not have experience in the role they're providing assurance over.
Whats the truth?
This may be true to a certain extent. Quality Assurance team members don't complete the roles day in day out, however everywhere I've worked, all QA officers are provided with the same training as those they are conducting QA on. They must have a level of understanding of the role and the environment the agent works in to be able to properly provide assurance on quality. There's also no additional access to any more information or systems (apart of the QA system) than the agents they are providing assurance on.
QA myth 4 - 'They don’t know how to have fun!'
This is a common Quality Assurance myth! QA or Compliance teams are often subjected to this myth. But just because their roles are regulated, doesn't mean they are boring people!
Whats the truth?
A QA team is like any other team, there are always opportunities to have fun, team meals, team bonding sessions or shared interests. I remember early in my QA career I created a snakes and ladders board where every time someone got a 100% pass on their QA they would get to roll the dice and move up the board. The first to complete then got a prize.
When I became a manager I definitely had some of the best times with my team. Any good manager knows that the role of QA can be quite mundane. Listening to recordings or reviewing cases day in and day out takes a special kind of person. However, there's definitely fun to be had in Quality Assurance. This could be sharing unusual scenarios that you come across, sharing best practice or i used open all team meetings with a quiz on a random subject.
QA myth 5 - 'That QA officer is out to get me.'
If an agent is regularly failing scores, for whatever reason, it's easy to blame someone else. The first 'go to' in my experience, is the QA team.
On more than one occasion I've had this accusation thrown at me. The agent saying that I was "out to get" a specific individual when completing their quality scoring. The best excuse I've heard, which still makes me laugh today, was when an agent told their manager that all their calls were perfect and that I had searched out for their one bad call!
Whats the truth?
Who has the time or effort to do this? If you do, then you're not being as productive and efficient as you could be! No QA team will be 'out to get' anyone. As I mentioned above, a poor QA score just creates more work for the QA team. Plus if this were true, the QA team would have to listen to multiple recordings or review multiple cases to find that one bad one.
Any final thoughts?
Overall, I don't think there's a way to fully move away from an 'Us Vs Them' relationship, as I said earlier, nobody likes to be told that they're wrong. However, there are ways to build relationships and it all stems from being open with Contact Centre management. Be an enabler! Work with the agents and not against them. And to those in the contact centre... this applies to you too!
One final tip from me: Make sure your feedback isn't nit picky, keep it accurate and educational. Did you know 65% of employees want more feedback from their manager? EvaluAgent held a webinar on 'How to deliver effective feedback' which I'd recommend you check out.
I've made great relationships by being honest and talking openly with teams about these myths and any other myths there might be. Open conversations should help improve relationships and squash the untruths, leading to a better QA relationship going forward.