Gray Areas Need Managers to Manage

Capable managers are crucial. Every QA scale has gray areas. In many cases, a particular behavior could be handled multiple ways and neither is necessarily "right" or "wrong." Take todays calibration with one of our clients, for example. The QA scale called for the Customer Service Representative (CSR) to seek the caller's permission to place him/her on hold and wait for the caller to answer before hitting the hold button. In the call we were analyzing the CSR didn't technically ask the caller to hold. She pretty much told him she wanted to place him on hold while she got the requested information. The customer, however, responded "Sure! No problem!"

The group of supervisors and QA analysts were evenly split.  Should the CSR should be given credit (since the customer did seem to take the statement as a question and responded in the affirmative)? Or, should she should be dinged (since she didn't phrase it the way the company preferred and should be help accountable to do so)? Either answer was acceptable. It just required a decision.

I believe an effective QA program needs a capable manager (or designated team of decision makers with authority) to manage it.  When the decision is left to a democratic vote of all parties in calibration, my experience is that members of the team who got "out voted" will often choose to continue handling the situation the way they see it. When a manager or superior weighs both sides and makes the decision, however, the members of the team are accountable to a higher authority. The key is to have a manager who can capably weigh and balance the priorities of company, customer and Customer Service Representatives.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and aak

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