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Is your quality assurance impartial?

Tue, April 03, 2012

Is your quality assurance impartial?

Last year, recurring headlines dominated the press describing how some of the UK’s largest brands were failing to live up to customer expectations, by mis-selling or failing to treat their customer’s fairly. Quality assurance teams should be in place to ensure that the standard of service does not deteriorate. Dino Forte explores the benefits of outsourcing quality assurance personnel.

It is commendable to have internal quality assurance (QA) personnel in place, but sometimes it’s difficult for them to be completely impartial because they are simply too involved in the business

An independent voice is lacking
‘A friend on the floor’ could mean that conflicts of interest occur or issues aren’t properly identified. In other situations, the nature of the checks and balances are not comprehensive enough to maintain sufficient quality or the team is too stretched, especially during peak periods, to listen to enough calls.

The other glaring drawback is that no one is responsible for measuring how the internal QA team is performing and to assess whether the procedures they have in place are rigorous enough to meet the necessary targets. The question of who benchmarks the quality team remains unanswered.

See both the wood and the trees
For instance, if you operate in the financial services sector, issues such as customer service and TCF (Treating Customers Fairly) can make the difference between keeping and losing a customer. If you fail to have adequate systems and controls to ensure that your representatives are providing suitable advice then you could also fall foul of the Financial Services Authority.

For all organisations looking to excel in service, it’s crucial to know if the work of your QA team is actually making a difference. If you’re unsure or you don’t want to run the risk of alienating new or current customers, then an external Quality audit makes sense.

Outsourced Quality Assurance can provide an impartial health-check of your internal QA. An initial pilot can quickly identify any shortcomings of existing QA procedures and suggest ways in which these can be addressed. The advantage of using an outsourcer to monitor customer service is that this is their core business. They can offer insight and expertise that has been gathered from managing multiple campaigns and clients over many years.

An on-going support system for quality

Whilst this third party benchmarking exercise can help you to hone your internal QA, outsourcing can even form part of an on-going support system, helping you to continually monitor and enhance service standards. Unlike an insider, an outsourcer can put themselves in the shoes of your customer offering objective feedback. It’s the quality of the feedback that gives you the knowledge to attract and keep your customers.