Are you familiar with the term Quality Assurance? Does your answering service follow Quality Assurance procedures? First, let’s start with the basics.
What is Quality Assurance and why is it important?
Quality Assurance is a process of checking whether a product or service meets a set standard of requirements and specifications. With a product, a series of procedures is implemented to achieve quality control—testing functionality and features to prevent defect. For services, the process differs slightly in that a series of tasks is put in place to assess, monitor, and improve operations and achieve pre-set goals.
It’s possible you saw or heard the acronym QA being used at some point, since Quality Assurance dates back to World War II, as a process to test and inspect ammunitions during that period. Nowadays, the term is widely used in many industries, including business, medical services, information technology, software, and manufacturing, to name a few.
Besides the reasons stated above, companies implement QA procedures to build credibility and assure clients of the efficient service they’ll receive.
What should you look for?
In an answering service arena, QA focuses on improvement and efficiency. Therefore, you should watch for agents who are carefully selected and trained to meet certain criteria in order to provide the highest level of service to your clients.
The teamwork quality should be measured from the moment of hiring. For instance, at Answering Service Care, the agents receive 13 days of training in which they explore company policies and procedures, systems operations, call management, message management, and customer service.
When the training is over, agents get the help of a mentor who guides them for the next ten weeks until they become a senior agent. During the entire time, besides having the mentor by their side, the novices also receive feedback from their managers. Under the eyes of an answering service manager, employees are evaluated according to certain key metrics that include:
- Talk Time: a talk time of at least 32 minutes per hour.
- Work Percentage: a time the agent is logged into the system, with a score of at least 70%.
- Hold Percentage & Length: a percentage of calls on hold of 12%-30% aimed at 59 seconds.
- Efficiency: delivering the message in a proper way (includes aspects such as proofreading and choosing the right option in the system). The target rate of 99% is the ideal.
For the purposes of Quality Assurance, those metrics are measured consistently and reported weekly. However, on the agent’s side, the QA team reviews their performance every two weeks. The quality assurance team evaluates three call recordings for each agent and follows up with them.
Agents are expected to reach the highest quality standards. When the metrics are not met, individuals are engaged in a program during a set amount of time, which is aimed at improving their performance. Once they reach the deadline, they meet with their managers for re‑evaluation and feedback.
In the end, Quality Assurance is meant to prevent errors and make processes better. With your answering service, the primary focus is on improving the quality of service. You want to give your clients the peace of mind they deserve, and QA does wonders to serve them better.
What are your thoughts about QA? Does your Answering Service have QA procedures in place? Share your comments below.