Use a Quality Assurance Program to Improve Your Call Center
Tap a QA Program to Make Quality the Focus for Your Healthcare Call Center
By Peter Lyle DeHaan, Ph.D.
In the last issue, we talked about improving your call center by providing ongoing skills training. Now we’ll continue the discussion by addressing a quality assurance (QA) program.
In the call center industry, everyone’s
talking about providing quality transactions. Quality call center work helps
bring about quality healthcare outcomes, which starts with quality agent
One essential step to keep the
focus on quality is to have a quality assurance process. Most leading call
centers have a QA program in place. Others plan to add one. And some had one
but, in a rush to deal with the urgent, they put the practice on hold, which
they later pushed aside.
Last are those call centers that
don’t have a QA program, never did, and aren’t planning to. It’s time for this to
change. Every call center that cares about its callers needs to put quality at
the forefront of all they do, and a QA program is the surest way to accomplish that.
A QA program is a methodical system
that regularly evaluates calls from each agent. These calls can be live or
recorded. Regardless of the format, a trained quality professional evaluates
each call according to established criteria. They then share the results with
each agent, providing encouragement whenever possible and offering constructive
criticism when appropriate. The goal of a QA program stands to reinforce the positive
and offer corrections to improve the not so great.
Successful QA programs have an established
process they follow without fail. And most programs have dedicated a trained
quality professional to administer the program. Conducting QA evaluations and
providing immediate feedback are generally this person’s sole responsibility.
To start a QA program or restart one
on hold, think small. This might be performing one call evaluation per agent
per month. As the process becomes fine-tuned and the practice becomes routine,
increase the frequency to twice a month and then weekly. Some established
robust QA programs evaluate their agents much more frequently.
In addition to dedicating a person to do QA evaluations, another key is to secure agent buy-in from the onset. This starts before launching the program and continues as a QA professional provides feedback to each agent. The goal of each feedback session is to celebrate what the agent did well. Make it a positive experience that they can anticipate. Then add one area to work on. Eventually, some calls won’t warrant any suggestions for improvement at all. And that’s the goal of a QA program.
Peter Lyle DeHaan is the publisher and editor of Medical Call Center News and AnswerStat.
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9 Steps to Lead Your Team Through Uncertainty
By Kate Zabriskie
An effective leader will lead their
team through change and do so with confidence that will inspire others. Here
are nine tips to help lead your team through uncertain times:
1. Know That the Path Isn’t Always
Linear: As a team deals with workplace change, it isn’t as simple as
announcing it, adapting to it, and moving toward goals. It’s normal for
employees to have shifting feelings throughout the process. Recognize and
address these concerns as they arise is a healthy way to respond.
2. Identify Key Leaders: Identify
team members with true leadership qualities early on. They will be crucial in
helping to instill confidence and keep the team moving together toward the
3. Construct a Solid Plan: Address
changes in processes, products, and expectations of the staff involved.
Creating and sharing a plan with your team will go a long way toward giving
them a feeling of stability as they move forward together.
4. State Goals: Clearly
define objectives and how you will support your team in meeting them. If
employees don’t have a firm sense of what they should move toward, they may
just . . . move on.
5. Adjust as Necessary:
Rumors abound during uncertainty. When your team is unsure, they will
speculate. This can produce confusion, worry, and employees looking for new jobs.
Be upfront and communicate with your team any information you have as soon as
6. Acknowledge the Past: Changes
may mean discarding the old ways of doing things. This can leave team members
who worked on such projects feeling slighted. Highlight those projects and
salute accomplishments, while at the same time leading the team into the new
7. Disclose Challenges: Don’t
hide problems when they occur. Share them with your team. They may have
valuable input and will feel more invested in helping overcome obstacles.
8. Listen to All Concerns: Make
yourself available and truly listen to your team. Sometimes, simply venting
about the changes will help someone deal with what is going on. And other
times, their insight could be invaluable.
9. Restate Performance
Objectives: Clearly state any changes in performance objectives and
reviews. Employees will want to know exactly what’s expected. This will allow
them to focus on their own objectives and give them confidence as they move
Summary: Change can be
scary, full of surprises, and extremely challenging. But, if you have a plan,
communicate effectively with your team, and move towards new objectives with
confidence—and have a team that is committed as well—you can survive and even
thrive in the new environment.
Kate Zabriskie is the president
of Business Training
Works, Inc. She and her team help businesses establish customer
service strategies and train their people to live up to what’s promised.
[Read Kate’s full article to learn more.]
Healthcare Call Center News
TriageLogic Offers Remote Patient Monitoring: TriageLogic applies its thirteen years of telephone triage experience to the emerging remote patient monitoring (RPM) market. As monitoring technologies continue to gain traction, the healthcare industry views RPM as a tool to help control the cost of care for those with chronic diseases such as congestive heart failure, COPD, asthma, and diabetes.
Monitoring devices collect enormous amounts of patient data. Each device has its own algorithm that flags abnormal conditions. Results from these devices appear on dashboards provided by the device company. A physician or their staff that’s monitoring multiple patients with multiple conditions spends a significant amount of time regularly reviewing every dashboard. This is time taken away from face-to-face patient care. “Most physicians don’t have the time or resources to monitor dashboards for multiple devices,” said Ravi Raheja, M.D., TriageLogic medical director and CTO. “TriageLogic’s resources allow physicians to do what they’re best at—spend quality face-to-face time with those who truly need medical intervention. We work closely with each physician group to ensure we understand their preferences and custom care plans for patients with chronic disease.”
Email us updates about your healthcare call center for the next issue of Medical Call Center News.
A Thought for Today
“Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion.” -Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel