Building Your Quality Assurance Program: Breaking Things Down

Although the term “Quality Assurance” may bring with it some fairly sophisticated and far-reaching implications, the concept at the heart of it couldn’t be more straightforward. It simply refers to “an ongoing testing and/or evaluation activity that ultimately provides valuable insights into both the compliance and effectiveness of direct customer and business interactions.”

It’s a viable way to not only test and evaluate the performance of your own efforts, but to do so in a “detective” method that helps uncover valuable insight into those interactions that have already happened. Essentially, you’re learning from your own history to help make sure you’re not “doomed to repeat it.” Mistakes that happened in the past stay in the past, which is exactly the way it should be. Indeed, most QA programs are performed after the customer and business transaction in question has already been finalized.

In other words, quality assurance is a way to find out two very important ideas, both at the exact same time. First, you’re uncovering those efforts you and your people are engaged in that work incredibly well – thus giving you a chance to reinforce them. But more importantly, you’re also getting insight into what ISN’T working as well… all so that you can step in and eliminate those vulnerabilities wherever possible.

The problem with this, however, is that errors detected in quality assurance testing cannot be prevented or repaired. If one of your agents has a negative interaction with a customer, you can’t “prevent” that from happening unless you happen to have a time machine handy. The damage is done – all you can do is use that information to make sure it doesn’t happen again in the future.

From a certain perspective, this is still an opportunity… but at Goodbay Technologies, it’s one that we want to make even more effective use of in the future.

In an effort to maintain our own industry-leading levels of quality assurance at Goodbay, we have created what is known as the Goodbay Quality Charter. As the name suggests, this is a document that outlines the intentions of core team functionality. It outlines how control processes are applied and, crucially, how the QA team operates within the firm’s framework.

This level of cooperation provides the quality assurance team with a wide range of potential benefits. They can both identify trends AND high-risk areas of opportunity in a far more effective manner than ever before, all while utilizing the results from each group in the most forward-thinking way possible.

All of this directly impacts our ability to service our own clients in a number of positive ways, all of which deserve a closer look.

The Importance of Evaluations: What You Learn and How You Learn It

As a part of the Goodbay Quality Charter, evaluations with regards to customer and account interactions are typically handled in three ways, all of which command equal importance but for different reasons:

Individual evaluations are those that are performed on a monthly basis in no less than two review rounds. This is necessary to monitor adherence to not only things like regulatory, compliance and contractual demands, but also customer experience, case handling and professional conduct requirements, too. Individual evaluations aim to review an individual’s interactions and the decisions they’re making as they pertain to customer accounts. In an effort to guarantee that the population reflects interactions that are both current and accurate, two rounds of evaluations are performed in a given month.

Target evaluations are those that are performed on precise, critical business processes or populations WITHIN a monthly review period, usually as requested from the LOB. Each request then outlines the parameters for scope and frequency or, at the very least, as identified by the quality assurance team.

With regards to target evaluations in particular, results are made available to management via the Goodbay Technologies reporting site and are always provided within monthly reporting for maximum convenience. Any and all results provided to operations teams are monitored for potential risks and trends, all of which are determined by the particular request that was submitted in the first place.

It’s also important to note that these evaluations are used to gain insights into specific populations sampled in an effort to determine if there are any potential or emerging issues that need to be addressed within that operations process.

So again – part of the problem with the traditional quality assurance program is that it’s reactive by its very nature. You have to wait for a problem to occur, at which point you can gather information in an effort to stop it from happening again in the future.

With this level of targeted evaluations, on the other hand, suddenly you have access to information about potentially negative trends and patterns that would have otherwise gone undiscovered. At that point, you’re in the best possible position to stop a small problem today BEFORE it has a chance to become that bigger, more permanent problem tomorrow.

The third and final type of evaluation executed as part of the Goodbay Quality Charter are parallel evaluations, which are utilized as an internal control process that is administered monthly to assess the evaluator’s accuracy.

In other words, it’s a critical way to maintain the checks and balances that the entire system was founded upon.

Parallel evaluations are always completed by a team leader, and the designate is subject to one such evaluation during a review period. The frequency of these evaluations are dictated by the team leader and individual evaluations are completed as specified by LOB leadership.

Overall, the results are used to guarantee consistency between QA evaluators and team leader/designate evaluations. If any discrepancies are discovered, organizational leadership again has access to the information they need to correct these issues as quickly as possible.

Scoring and Reporting: An Overview

As stated, the three types of evaluations outlined above are performed by BOTH the quality assurance team and team leaders. The results of the evaluations are scored and are then used as a measurement of success. While it’s absolutely true that every organization defines “success” in a slightly different way, for the sake of clarity a 95% pass rate is used.

Everything is then reported using an average monthly score, thus giving leaders the most complete “picture” from which to work from.

Evaluations that are below the standard measurement will be reported as “fails” and may require action to remediate. Evaluations that are reported above the standard measurement will then be reported as “passes.”

But even though the term “fail” is a harsh one, it’s still an invaluable opportunity just waiting to be capitalized on. The Goodbay Quality Charter is designed to give organizational leaders more information than just “this person is doing well and this other person isn’t.” If someone is coming up short, you know WHY. You know WHAT contributed to those scores and you know that they’re accurate thanks to the sophisticated level of checks and balances at play.

With all of that, you’re able to do more than just get rid of a particular agent or “keep a closer eye” on them and hope the problem corrects itself. You know what specific type of training they need. You know whether they’re having a regulatory and compliance issue or a customer experience/case handling issue – both of which are equally severe but would require two totally different strategies to correct.

But even going beyond that, if you know where you stand as an organization TODAY, you get a better idea of where you’re headed TOMORROW. Even low scores, with the right corrective action, should absolutely be trending upwards over time. So in a lot of ways, the Goodbay Quality Charter is all about eliminating as much guesswork from the equation as possible. You’re no longer operating blindly, trying anything and everything to make up for limitations within your own system.

Instead, you’re shining a spotlight on them.

Goodbay Technologies: Your Partner in Your Current and Future Success

Once you know what specific issues you’re dealing with, you almost immediately know WHY they’re happening. With that level of insight and clarity, the WHAT can’t help but reveal itself – meaning you know exactly what needs to be done to guarantee the improved outcomes your organization needs at this critical moment.

All of this will become even more important over the next few years as customer expectations continue to change and evolve all around us. Never forget that in the tech-based world that we’re now living in, life moves incredibly fast. The hard and firm “best practice” of today may seem woefully inadequate six months from now, to say nothing of how things will continue to evolve over the course of the coming decade.

When faced with that type of disruption, organizations MUST become as proactive as they can possibly be about not only what they’re doing, but how they choose to do it. They need to be able to see where customer experience demands are headed so that they can get there before anyone else, thus carving out a genuine competitive advantage that can guarantee success moving forward.

The creation of the Goodbay Quality Charter is one of the many, many ways that we’ve attempted to help all of our partner organizations do precisely that. It’s a system that will only get more effective over time, and for those businesses who don’t just want to think outside the box but who want to live there, we feel that it’s a very powerful asset to have on their side.

If you’re interested in finding out more information about the importance of a quality assurance program in the modern era, or if you have any additional questions about the Goodbay Quality Charter that you’d like to see answered in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – contact Goodbay Technologies today.