Implementing staff Quality Assurance Processes can be a challenge for any organisation, but it’s essential for a broad range of reasons, including:
– Delivering against compliance
– Hitting service levels
– Exceeding customer expectations
– Finding ways of improving customer interaction
A good quality assurance programme will highlight team and individual strengths – along with weaknesses of course. But that’s only half of the process – you must then address those areas of performance that need further attention. If not, the whole exercise is a waste of everybody’s time.
Where to begin?
Quality Assurance can be characterised as the objective measurement of a subjective need. In other words, quality assurance processes are put in place to ensure deliverables such as:
– Contractual requirements are adhered to
– Legal requirement is complied with
– The customer experience is absolutely consistent
1. Sharpen Your Focus
The first step is to decide which aspect of your operation you want to check on. This can include any or all of the following:
– A single interaction such as an employee phone call
– A case – this means a number of interactions centred around a common thread
– A process – something which has a measurable output
2. Develop Your Quality Assurance Questionnaire
Once you’ve established a need and a focus, the next step is to construct your questionnaire. This is the tool which you will use to ensure that the desired output is achieved – with agreed checks along the way.
You can deploy any amount of questions for any parts of the process, but bear in mind that the more granular you get, the more work is entailed. However, you also greatly increase your chances of eventually delivering the outcome you want.
Within any questionnaire, there will be a number of areas, or groups, for you to consider. Take the simple example of phone call. There are, at a minimum, three separate elements to be addressed:
– The opening
– The body
– The close
There will obviously be a number questions related to each group. Intelligent grouping means more useful analysis later on, rather than just an overall score. In other words, you can establish if the whole call is failing – or just one aspect of it? Good applications, like bxp software, will also allow you to apply different weighting to different aspects of your process.
At this stage, you might also consider circulating the draft programme among your stakeholders. Different perspectives can prove extremely enlightening and this step also helps to improve operational buy-in.
3. Develop Supporting QA Material
Every question in your programme needs to be backed up by relevant training material. This can be a combination of your internal intelligence as well as links to external sources (so make sure that the software you choose offers this facility).
By way of example, let’s suppose your operations department has a document describing in detail how a process should be performed. You can load this document to bxp eCourse and link it to a question in bxp Quality Assurance. This document now serves as the process template on which training can be based and against which Q.A. can be measured.
Other important benefits of this system include:
– A single central authorised version is created
– The latest version is always available to everyone
– There is an audit trail of its use
– There is an audit trail of its modification
– It can contribute to ISO and other external standards
4. Don’t Forget to Calibrate
Calibration means testing both assessors and assessments to ensure consistency. Assessors can review the material and their scoring using bxp as the central form for capturing responses.
If this centralised Reference and Training Material model is used, calibration becomes exceptionally easy to perform as assessors are given model answers against which to base their assessments. bxp quality assurance modules completes the circle by giving expert feedback to improve the processes overall.
5. Consider the Loading
A number of strategies are now open to you through bxp. The traditional approach of adding records when an assessment is done does not provide Q.A. managers with much visibility as to what else needs to be done.
The Preloaded approach, however, allows you to load up as many assessments as you like in advance. This is a really useful way of making sure that all processes are covered – and that all who should be assessed are assessed.
The Preloaded option allows assessments to be loaded from any of the following:
– The organogram structure within bxp
– Another form in bxp
– An Excel spreadsheet
The more traditional Injected approach allows you to add assessments as required. Finding an approach that suits your business will be dependent on a number of factors, including:
– Who does the assessments
– How often the assessments need to be done
– The accepted approach from the assessors
6. The Assignment Stage
This stage is effectively a new way to perform Q.A., as your workload can now be distributed to other departments. There are three primary approaches.
First Come allows the assessor to go straight to the next assessment and offers the simplest distribution.
Equal Distribution – All uses the same delivery method as First Come, but limits the evaluations per assessor and ensures that the work load is distributed equally. Naturally, assessments can be reassigned if an assessor becomes unavailable.
Pre-Loaded allows for completely custom-allocation patterns.
7. Develop Your Quality Assurance Scoring System
The bxp scoring mechanism has a number of key advantages:
– Scores need not be shown to the assessor, thus removing bias.
– Scoring can be adjusted after Go Live.
– Mass re-scoring can be performed.
– Scores are calculated automatically.
The system does not require all answers to be provided, and this aspect manages answers that are not applicable in all scenarios.
Handling Outright Fails
This refers to those areas that must be got right, such as Data Protection. Commonly, these questions are heavily weighted which skews scoring and can lead to poor training focus. To remove this issue, bxp allows you to use the word Fail instead of overweighting the score. If the total score is above the pass mark, including a Fail, the overall score will remain high, but the outcome will be a fail. This means that:
– Scores are not skewed by negatively weighted scores.
– Outright fails can be tracked and dealt with.
– Overall representation of quality is more accurately reflected.
– Training can be focused on actual issues.
8. Provide the Necessary Support
Addressing areas of weakness that have been uncovered by the assessment process is vital, and the more focused the follow up support, the greater the operational benefit.
In this regard, bxp will help to:
– Reduce training overhead
– Reduce operations overhead
Bxp software also helps you deliver accurate coaching and keeps records that are automatically associated with a user’s account. This provides ‘activity complete’ and ‘performance view’ to be built.
9. Utilise Reporting Capabilities
Trend reporting shows how the individual, the team, the department and the organisation as a whole are doing – all contained within the same report. Individuals, teams or departments can be analysed exclusively, through the same interface.
Status Reporting is more relevant when contractual stipulations mean that it is not possible to score an individual’s performance. bxp quality assurance software can, however, demonstrate collective results with no scores. Status reports provide simple counts – without the individual focus that comes with performance management.
10. Consider SMARTER Plans
A © SMARTER plan uses the training material tied to each question. When an individual scores below the acceptable norm, links to the relevant training (derived from the below par questions) are included in the training plan developed for that person. This means that self-directed learning plans are generated and distributed to the user.
Like to see a live demonstration of our Q.A. software?
We’d be delighted to take you through the full capabilities of the bxp quality assurance software. To arrange a no-obligation demonstration, just call us on +44 207 692 0705 (London) +353 1 429 4000 (Dublin) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.