Photo by Ivan Rigamonti licensed under Creative Commons.

Getting Smart with Quality Assurance (QA)

We live surrounded by data, devices, and smart systems. Our personal lives are ordered by apps and the smartphone has become the centre of our world to the extent that Apple is now releasing tools aimed at helping those who may be using smart devices too much.

I believe that it is time for the enterprise to catch up with the smart technologies people are using in their personal life. Smart organisations should be leveraging data to help quantify issues and opportunities and to develop actions that can lead to sustainable improvement. In terms of the customer experience (CX), the same principles apply and I believe there is a major untapped area inside many companies that requires attention – the QA function.

QA (or Quality Assurance) has traditionally focused on compliance. This is easy to understand in some regulated business areas, such as financial services, where non-compliance can have a very negative effect on a company – look at the PPI scandal in the UK for a great example. While compliance is essential, I believe it’s possible to get more from QA. Why can’t brands create an ‘insights hub’ that focuses on making the brand smarter with a focus on exploring where to improve CX?

With the right tools and technologies, QA can deepen the insight into data and processes, both by listening to ongoing customer interactions and analysing all interactions. This can be enhanced further if the data can identify agent-controllable issues where CX can be dramatically improved through training or coaching – as well as identifying more general issues with business systems and processes.

Why does this matter? If you really want to move the needle on CX and leverage the QA function then your first step is to find the root cause of any issues and to quantify the impact so you can prioritise corrective action. For example, your contact centre agents may be delivering a great service, but each time they direct a customer to return an item, and they then find the returns process lengthy, how do you know there is a problem if all the contact centre metrics look great?

If you don’t have the data for the complete customer journey then you can’t proactively fix problems outside of the area being measured. If your QA function can isolate issues affecting CX then your ability to create sustainable and long-term improvement is enhanced.

Raising the bar on QA creates benefits for brands and customers – and those who work in QA teams. Working with QA as a CX asset rather than just a compliance function turns that team into an insight generator – full of ideas on how to improve CX. The brand creates an improved CX and the customer is happy that their loyalty is valued and their time is respected.

Let me know what you think about a stronger focus on the analytic capabilities of the QA function by leaving a comment here or get in touch direct via my profile.