Simple Guidance for Designing Your Quality Monitoring Program (8 Steps)


Are you designing or redesigning a Quality Monitoring Program for your organization right now? Need some guidance on how to develop and execute a quality program that is robust, fair, and that your employees buy-in to – and one that doesn’t make your supervisors need to sip wine just to get through a coaching discussion with employees?

I have help for you. Here’s the 8 Step Quality Program we use at Myra Golden Seminars.

1. Define the Problem You Need to Solve
2. Determine Outcomes – What you want your employees to do, do differently as a result of quality monitoring
3. Develop Standards and Objectives for Customer Experience
4. Determine Monitoring Method and Frequency
5. Design Coaching Strategy
6. Develop Calibration Strategy
7. Introduce Quality Program to Employees
8. AAR Discussion – After Action Report – What was expected to happen? What actually occurred? What went well, and why? What can be improved, and how?

I explain each of these steps precisely as I use them with clients below.

1. Define the Problem You Need to Solve

Sit down with your team and determine precisely what you want your new (or revamped) quality program to do. Are you trying to improve consistency in interactions? Equip employees to create positive conversations with challenging customers? Pre-empt escalations? Improve the sound, flow, and feel of communications?

When you’re clear on your goals for quality, you’ll align to execute with a lot less frustration, and you’ll implement your program more quickly.

2. Determine Outcomes

What do you want your employees to do or do differently as a result of quality monitoring? Don’t skip this step. When I’m launching a new quality program, I usually determine outcomes by asking my client, “Imagine it’s 90 days from the take-off of your new Quality Program. What’s different? Describe for me in detail what you hear in calls, read in chat/email/text, and what feedback are you getting from customers? What’s morale like? How are supervisors feeling?”

Knowing what you want to accomplish with your quality program will guide the development of your standards and objectives, and your coaching strategy (steps three and five).

3. Develop Standards and Objectives for Customer Experience

This step is where the roll-up-your-sleeves work begins. It’s also when frustration and ego try to creep in. Know that developing standards and objectives will be a lengthy, challenging exercise. You have to align your goals with the problem you’re trying to solve, and you have to get to consensus on what these standards and objectives are with your team.

A lot of people don’t realize standards and objectives aren’t’ the same things. Standards are the rope you want all employees to climb, and you want everyone to use the same methods and movements to climb. Standards can look something like this.

Uses standard greeting
Identified self by name
Uses customer’s name at least once
Proper hold procedure

Objectives are different for everybody. Think of objectives as a dish you have a dozen chefs make, but that you understand that each plate will look and taste different, depending on the chef’s skill level and creativity. You give everyone the same ingredients to work with, but the final presentation will vary greatly, and uniquely among your team. Objectives might include:

Builds rapport
Conveys empathy
Makes connection
Demonstrates a sense of urgency

It’s harder to score objectives because you have to factor in the uniqueness of the interaction and the employee’s style. Calibration (step six) is a necessary step to help you review objectives fairly. I’m covering objectives and standards development in a webinar on quality I’m hosting on August 9th. 

4. Determine Monitoring Method and Frequency

Things get more comfortable with this step. Based on your desired outcomes and the problem you’re trying to solve (steps one and two), you work out how often you need to monitor interactions and how you’ll do this. Your frequency can be as often as weekly, and it can be as seldom as monthly. Method for monitoring phone interactions includes side-by-side listening, reviewing recorded calls, and listening in on live communications.

5. Design Coaching Strategy

A “have-to” when working with me for quality is coaching employees. You can’t review calls and give employees a score without talking things over with them and providing guidance. Yet, many supervisors and managers do jus this – hand employees a scorecard and say “Good job” or “Do better.”

Your employees deserve your time, discussion, feedback, praise, and guidance. I use a 9-Point Coaching Strategy, but there are many approaches to coaching. Decide what’s best for your employees, customers, unique business, and for those who will give feedback. Commit to a coaching strategy and have everyone use it consistently. (If you need help with your coaching strategy, jump on my August 9th Quality webinar.)

6. Develop Calibration Strategy

Calibration keeps everyone who monitors and coaches consistent and fair. This consistency gives the quality management team credibility, and it saves everybody lots of middle of the forehead aches. To calibrate is to gain consensus, as a team, on what a quality contact (phone call, email, or chat) sounds like, looks like, and feels like so that every evaluator is rating the calls/contacts the same way. Make sure you know how to calibrate, and that you schedule regular calibration meetings. I walk you through exactly how to calibrate in my August 9th Quality webinar.

7. Introduce Quality Program to Employees

Now that all that’s done, it’s time to roll out your quality program to employees. Take care to explain to your team that your program is about helping them be the best they can be. If you offer incentives for excellence, it’s easier to create buy-in. But there’s a strong argument for not incentivizing employees for merely doing their jobs. Creating buy-in without perks is possible through the positive positioning of the program and, of course, your precise calibration.

8. AAR Discussion – After Action Report

When I work with clients to design or redesign quality programs, I always come back six or so months later to have an After Action Report discussion. We go back and look at steps one and two (the problem we’re trying to solve and desired outcomes) and compare these objectives to what’s actually happening. I set aside two hours for this discussion, and I ask:

What was expected to happen?
What actually occurred? What went well, and why?
What can be improved, and how?

I suggest having AAR Discussions annually after the first meeting.

Final Words

Allow your team at least four to six months to design your Quality Program. Using these steps (ALL of them), you’ll launch a quality program that positions your organization to improve the soft elements of service – the sound, flow, and feel, so that your employees are fully prepared and inspired to express the soul of your brand, and assured in their ability to handle challenging customers.

Continue the Conversation with Me?

On August 9th, I am hosting a webinar, Quality Form Development & Coaching. In this webinar I discuss exactly how to hold focused, fast and effective calibration meetings, I share my famous template “9 Steps for Coaching Customer Service Employees,” I provide sample monitoring forms I have designed for my own clients, and we explore scoring, and the best monitoring methods. If you want to get Quality Monitoring Right, join me for this exclusive webinar. Even if you can’t attend, get the recording. We send it out the very next day.

Here are the details of this webinar.