Three Keys to Effectively Managing QA

    I am the father of two teenagers. They’re amazing individuals and I love them very, very much. In fact, I love them so much that I’m constantly focused on helping them learn to manage life. Part of that process is managing them and their choices. While I provide the the opportunity to express their desires and make their plans, I ultimately reserve the right to manage when needed.
    For example, I love that they have an active social life. Hanging out with quality friends is a great thing – but when their social life begins to take precedence over their responsibilities [shocking, isn’t it?], it’s time for me to step in and manage, to say "no", and to set out the appropriate boundaries and accountability.

    QA is often like parenting teenagers. There is a team of wonderful, intelligent people who are analyzing calls and coaching CSRs. But the process still needs a manager. I have watched QA teams struggle and fail because no one is managing the process. Many companies attempt to run the QA by democratic process or by committee. By it’s very nature, QA requires a constant stream of decisions regarding how things will be measured, analyzed and enforced.

Three things I observe in successful QA programs:

  1. The buck stops somewhere. President Harry Truman’s motto was "the buck stops here". I knew a man who worked with every Presidential administration from Truman through Nixon. His favorite President was Harry Truman. "If you needed a decision made," my friend said, "President Truman always gave you his decision and gave it within the time frame you requested." Truman was a great leader and great leaders emulate his motto. QA needs a leader who is willing to listen to all sides of a given issue, make a decision, and be responsible for that decision.
  2. QA Analysts are accountable. QA programs hold front-line agents accountable for their performance. Good QA managers will hold their QA analysts and supervisors accountable for appropriately, consistently applying the correct methodology when scoring calls – and put the structure in place for doing so.
  3. The process is continuously improving. I always remind people that a QA scale is not scripture, and it shouldn’t be the constitution. If something needs to be changed then change it, and don’t make the process as difficult as a constitutional amendment. While constant change can be distracting and work against you – continuous, methodical, timely improvements are required to make QA effective – and they don’t happen without someone managing the process.

Like teenagers need a parent, QA teams need a manger. Managing QA should be a process of leading others to be effective managers themselves. To be a great manager you have to be willing to lead by example, to make decisions and to be accountable for those decisions.

Is anyone managing your QA process?

6 thoughts on “Three Keys to Effectively Managing QA

  1. I agree with your keys to managing QA and believe that a successful QA department needs a leader. Most of the people we hire into our QA departments have worked their way through the ranks. They may have been a super-star CSR but that doesn’t make them inherently a great coach. When I think of the world-class QA departments out there that I know like Starbucks, ShopNBC and Staples, they all have one thing in common. They have a great QA leader that is responsible for coaching the coach and ensuring continuity, integrity and program success.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Connie. You are so right about good CSRs not necessarily being great coaches/managers. There’s a parallel to professional athletes. The best athletes aren’t always the best coaches while athletes that were mediocre in their playing days become amazing coaches and managers. The skill set is different, and not everyone can make the transition.

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