QA Challenges: A Philosophical Approach

statue of philosopher, Plato who understood challenges

QA Challenges: A Philosophical Approach

“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”
Epictetus 55-135 CE


Today it may sound like an overused phrase from a motivational speaker, but the Greek philosopher Epictetus made a point that is still valid today in life and in business. Customer service QA challenges don’t have to ruin KPI. Instead, they can be a call to action.

“Knowledge, if it does not determine action, is dead to us.”
– Plotinus 204-270 CE


Tracking is important to maintaining quality. You can’t improve something you can’t see.

There is both a time-saving element and a motivational element to allowing agents to monitor their own performance. It has a positive effect as indicated in this Zendesk article:

“Agents who are told by a QA specialist what they are doing right and wrong may feel like the outcome of their work is out of their hands, to be evaluated only from an outside perspective. On the contrary, agents who are entrusted with the task of monitoring their own work and making goal-oriented improvements will feel more in control of the outcome, and thusly be more motivated to put forth effort toward this end.”

“He who will not economize will have to agonize.”
– Confucius 551-479 BCE


It is also important to effectively track with an economy of tools. Too many pieces of software that do not integrate well drain agents’ time and focus.

Identify the tools that are most useful to your individual business and industry. Time taken to understand what a program offers and how it blends with your current structure will save you from costly errors.

“Everything flows and nothing abides, everything gives way and nothing stays fixed.”
– Heraclitus 535-475 BCE


Like people, businesses and industries are constantly evolving. It is good to stay on top of trends without being waylaid by them.

When a new method or tool becomes available the salient question is, does it benefit your business? The newest crop duster is of little use to a hair salon.

Ty Givens, Founder of The Workforce Pro, has over 18 years of hands-on customer care. She builds customer service teams for businesses. Ty has this insight on incorporating new changes without interrupting customer service work:

“I sometimes read up on things and think ‘We should do that with (said Client)!’ and I wholeheartedly mean it, but I have to remember that any new idea I have directly impacts many people. To keep from interrupting the work, I look at the value that the change would have and I decide if it’s worth it before proceeding.”

Spend time and money on the tools which are most likely to save you time and money.

“Twice and thrice over, as they say, good is it to repeat and review what is good.”
– Plato c 427 BCE


Training is the backbone of your agent’s effectiveness. When there is high agent turnover it impacts the quality of data available to monitor and cost of training.

Reduce turnover by addressing agent needs. Having a company culture in place that supports the agents’ work and their well being prevents churn. Don’t wait until the ship is sinking and pull out a teacup to bail it out.

Make training solid and ongoing. An athlete trains regularly, not just on game day. Keeping your agents’ skills up to date and sharp prevents errors and improves resolution scores.

The whole is more than the sum of its parts.”
– Aristotle 384- 322 BCE


The QA team is strongest when acting as a united front. Your QA professionals may each have individual opinions and methods which makes comparing their results challenging.

Bring the team together:

“In QA, text analytics is a huge deal. Businesses are now creating ways for us to hone in specific engagements to ensure the best overall experience. This is amazing, but if I’ve never told the team which words to avoid or always use, these analytics won’t help me in the short term. The best way to introduce new concepts, ideas and changes is to provide context. This cures disruption and gives the team the opportunity to understand the core of why you’re doing this work, the expected outcome and impact. If we keep one common goal: repeat buyers, any work done to support that isn’t disruptive. It’s supportive.” –Ty Givens, the Workforce Pro

“Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy”
– Lao Tzu 601 -531 BCE


How much money is budgeted to QA in your center? What is the breakdown of that budget? Is there a dedicated QA team or are QA duties falling to supervisors?

QA is necessary for consistency and growth. Being clear about what can be budgeted toward it can manage expectations. If supervisors have the QA load the number of contacts they can realistically monitor is fewer than a dedicated QA pro.

The training aspect of the QA budget is dependent upon the industry and depth of knowledge required.

“There is no path to happiness: happiness is the path”
– Gautama Buddha c 480 BCE


Happiness has a trickle-down effect. When your staff is happy they share that happiness.

Creating a positive company culture is one step toward customer satisfaction. This Salesforce article makes a good point about treating your employees as ‘internal customers’:

“Great customer service permeates every aspect of your company and depends on every single employee, vendor, and leader, whether they interact with your customers or not.

You don’t need a customer service plan. You need a customer service culture, one that:

-Makes happy customers a priority above all else
-Supports and empowers your team to deliver that service
-Offers everyday examples of great internal service that members of your team can’t help but pass on to your customers”

Customer service is problem solving and prevention. Agents handle the fallout from a problem. Eradicating the cause eliminates the problem. To do that you need to trace it to the source whether it is a faulty part or a poor policy decision. Make sure your QA process incorporates all facets of your company.

Take tips from the great philosophers and enhance your QA process with wisdom. Your customers and your business will benefit.

When challenges appear, how will you react?