Throw Away Those Old QA Forms!

More and more companies are wising up to the industry trend of tossing those 10 page QA forms and replacing them with an effective abbreviated form that focuses on critical process contact essentials as well as CSAT.  This makes perfect sense since customers are not likely to be aware or feel dissatisfied if an agent fails to address them by name 3 times in accordance to the QA policy.  Customers are not as concerned whether an agent follows company script as they are in ensuring that their issue is resolved. In fact, most customers appreciate customized contact handling for their specific needs, and frequently disengage when being offered standard scripting.  I for one have found myself cringing at the long drawn out closing scripts that many companies use.  In fact, I’ve hung up on many agents as they’ve rattled off outrageously long closing scripts.  Consider this, if a person feels that it has already taken way too long to get their issue resolved, how open will they be to entertaining a long and poorly thought out closing script that is not considerate of their time?

Most customers are focused on receiving fast, courteous assistance while getting information or issues resolved, so the QA forms used for monitoring should focus on that, with the most critical component being issue resolution, and/or first contact resolution (FCR). Over the past decade as the call center industry matured into contact centers, some of the QA forms that I’ve become privy to have been outright laughable.  They have become overly complex, all inclusive, and have generally yielded no positive lift to QA trends. Most businesses have found themselves stuck in the rut of adding new QA components to an already hefty QA form as the industry, market, and business focus changes, rather than reworking the QA template entirely.  I’ve joked in the past that the only thing missing in some of these hefty QA forms is Santa’s Naughty List.

These comprehensive QA forms have caused unbelievable customer dissatisfaction, organizational turmoil, and reduced agent morale and job satisfaction. The root of these issues is that these QA forms often focus on so many process and QA requirements that they end up posing as distractions from addressing the reason for contact. This should not surprise anyone, as what agent can successfully address the 20 – 30 plus QA requirements that change in some cases monthly, while meeting contact handing goals?  In these environments, the QA form is synonymous to a moving target, which creates the sense of impossibility for agents to be successful. Even more astonishing is that many companies find themselves constantly lowering the QA goal to give agents a better chance at hitting goal rather than simplifying the process completely. One has to laugh at the geniuses who think it’s acceptable to use a QA template that takes 30 minutes on average to complete when scoring a 2 minute contact.  There is something wrong with that picture.

If you want to be a contact center hero, introduce simplicity to the agent and QA experience by revamping the QA form to account for the critical contact components minus all the extra laundry lists of dos and don’ts.  Build the QA form around the following:

  • Professional Courtesy – make sure that agents are remaining professional, offering polite customer service.
  • Speed - make sure that agents are efficient when handling contacts, without keeping customers occupied longer than required.
  • Issue Resolution / First Contact Resolution (FCR) – make sure that agents are resolving issues and confirming resolution with customers to reduce repeat contacts.

The above three items should be considered your critical pass / fail components, and if your company has incorporated an after-contact survey, it’s a good idea to sync the agent-related survey questions into the QA template wherever applicable. The basis of an effective QA monitoring form is to be a few steps in front of your customers, not a step behind. Many QA gurus may be scratching their heads now, inquiring about all the other QA components that have to be assessed - and my response to that is to automate all that can be automated rather than leaving the burden to an agent.  If there are special promotions that need to be communicated, why not incorporate those essentials and deliver the information via instant message, email, or through direct play if the customer has reached your company IVR.  There are so many ways technology can make the QA process easier, so let's give those agents a break!