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 communication.
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.
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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 stated goals.
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 you can.
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 direction.
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 forward.
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.
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.”
Send us your healthcare call center articles and news 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