There’s a strong wind blowing through businesses and call centers right now. Can you hear the music? It’s calling QA managers and professionals to study the "best practices" of other QA departments. It’s become quite common for call center managers or QA managers to ask our group how other call centers score their calls. We are often asked for examples of other QA scales and definition documents. The thinking goes, "let’s go out and get a bunch of examples of QA scales from other call centers and then build our scale on best practices."
In general, I don’t have a problem with the idea of studying best practices. However, it’s important when talking about your QA scale to remember a couple of truths:
- Other call centers aren’t talking to your customers. A QA scale should be built with your call flow and your customers’ satisfaction in mind. The guy down the street may have built a wonderful QA scale for his customers – but their satisfaction may be driven by completely different elements. With "best practices", businesses run the risk of standing around complimenting one another and slapping each other on the back while their customers stand outside the ivory tower trying to get their attention.
- Those other QA scales you gather as examples of "best practices" might just be crap. I’m often surprised by the number of people who assume that because the company down the street is large and well-known – they must do it right. In fact, I find that larger companies tend to have more hands in the process, more beauracracy, more red-tape and their QA scales end up as jumbled messes of competing internal expectations. Are you assuming that other companies are doing a great job with their QA scale? How can you tell? Have you identified the basic methodologies that ensure objective, actionable analysis and outcome of your company’s phone calls? Can you tell a quality QA scale from one that will dash your program into the rocks?
Studying best practices has it’s place, and I’m not denying that you can learn from what others are doing. Nevertheless, when delivering sales and service in moments of truth on the phone with your customers, it’s important to stay focused on what your customers expect and what you need to do to meet and exceed those expectations. Be discerning. Another company’s "best practice" may be a siren’s song leading you to impending disaster.