Technology Does Not a QA Program Make

Technology
Quality Assessment in today’s call centers and businesses is an interesting phenomenon because it’s a discipline that emerged out of available technology. In the past decade, technology has made it relatively simple for businesses of all shapes and sizes to capture and monitor the phone calls and computer screens of their Customer Service Representatives. The way it was sometimes stated, the technology promised efficiency and productivity for businesses that utilized it.

Then companies installed the technology and began recording phone calls and computer screens. More than one client called to tell us that our services would no longer be required because they now had the technology to do it themselves. In each case we graciously and sincerely thanked them for their business and told them to call if we could help them in any way.

Typically, the call came twelve to eighteen months later.

In certain cases our clients spent a year or more doing it themselves only to reach a point where they were so embroiled with internal fighting over methodology that the technology was not getting used to effectively train and coach the CSRs. In other cases our clients pieced together QA programs, but they were unhappy with the results. The time and resources expended had not resulted in the productivity and quality improvements they expected. While they were doing it themselves, they knew that they weren’t doing it well. Other companies ended up getting distracted by the demands of the queue and the tyranny of the urgent. They have the technology and still swear that they will use it someday when they have more time.

Today, we’ve assisted several clients in utilizing their QA technology productively. In a few cases, clients have found that it is cheaper to hire us to do call analysis and call coaching for them. In other cases, we’re still available to help when they get around to actually using their QA technology.

The lesson is this. Having the technology does not mean you have immediate knowledge or expertise for how to utilize it effectively. It’s okay to ask for help.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and Rutty.

  1 comment for “Technology Does Not a QA Program Make

  1. August 29, 2007 at 8:34 am

    Once again Tom, I could not agree with you more. So many companies think that the QM technology they purchase will solve all of their customer service problems when in fact; the technology is only one piece of the puzzle. Every organization needs a well thought out and documented guide which includes sections on technology, people and process. With technology I’m talking about issues like who will administrate it, what reports will be utilized, sample size of interactions to record etc. For people it’s about things like who will be evaluating the customer interactions and are do they have the training to be an effective coach? Process includes things like what will be on the evaluation form, how often reps will be evaluated and what’s the timeline for feedback to be given. I would like to see more companies build this into their budgets when purchasing a QM system. Some have the know-how in house but need to allocate the resource to spend dedicated time to see this QA guide through while others must go outside for assistance or it will never get completed… One thing is for sure… the QA tool itself, will not see the possible returns without the rest of the pieces of the puzzle.

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