Is your “Quality” Monitoring process really driving quality?

Being manager of contact centers that are COPC based (which implies amongst others a focus on quality monitoring) this post drew my attention. It reflects my impression that often QM results in bureaucracy in stead of listening to customers and employees in search of continuous improvement!


By MarkBehrens, TriSynergy Consulting LLC

Quality monitoring has become a widely accepted process in contact centers today, and the supporting technologies seem on the road to becoming commodities – just about every trade show will have 20 to 30 vendors offering call recording , monitoring, and analytics tools. Almost every center I visit these days – big or small, B2B or B2C – has a monitoring process in place and many have made substantial investments in supporting audio and video capture technologies. Rapidly expanding use of speech and text analytics are making the analytical potential of these tools even more powerful.

The quality process and supporting tools can be a tremendous source of value to the contact center and to the broader enterpise – but in the vast majority of centers that I visit the value is not being captured. All too often the quality monitoring process seems to have become a box to check – “yes, I monitored 5 calls per agent per month and coached the agent for one hour per month, and we are averaging a 92% score on all of our monitoring!” Feedback is limited to the agent and supervisor and little seems to be done to tap the vast potential wealth of information that is available from the process – instead the focus is on making sure the script is followed and the agent says the customer’s name 3 times. From a leadership perspective the focus is on making sure the monitoring get done and rarely on what is being learned from the monitoring, and what is being done based on what is being learned. As a result, I see very few organizations that are capturing the return that they could receive from the human and capital resources they have invested in their quality monitoring process.

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Our quality monitoring processes seem to have lost sight of the principles of quality. Deming, Juran, and Crosby all recognized what we seem to be re-discovering again: quality is in the eye of the customer. Deming in particular emphasized the need for continous improvement and the idea that in most cases 85% of the opportunity for improvement in quality lies in the system or process that the employee follows – NOT in the behavior of the employee!

There is a role in quality monitoring programs for evaluating and promoting consistency and adherence to policies and procedures, ensuring compliance and risk avoidance, and measuring system knowledge. There is also a tremendous opportunity for assessing customer satisfaction and for evaluating the customer experience. In my experience, these opportunities are often missed completely and rarely exploited fully.

To capture these opportunities we need to step back and ask ourselves whether our quality monitoring processes are truly being driven by measures of quality that matter to our external and internal customers. We need to capture the opportunities for improvement in the process and system as well as in the behavior of the agent. We need to monitor trends to assess tyhe extent to which we are in fact continuously improving. Finally, we need to integrate our quality monitoring process and technologies with other processes and tools to capture the most complete view and understanding possible of the customer experience.

To understand why current quality monitoring processes often don’t achieve these goals we’ll need to look at culture and strategy, people, processes, and technologies. The emeragence of social media as another source of customer insight and also as another, much less controlled, interaction channel to monitor should also be addressed. I plan to take up each of these in a series of discussions here, and hope that we will share experiences and ways to capture real returns and insights from our investments in quality monitoring!

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