Quality investments are like Granite Countertops


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Have you ever built a new home? They say building a home is one of the most stressful activities you can ever undertake in life. I agree. It was one of the most stressful endeavors I ever had!

There is a seemingly infinite number of decisions to be made. It’s not at all like taking the romantic notion of “let’s build the house of our dreams” to completion. Adhering to the construction budget, while actually sticking to the main point of the project, is difficult to do.

Your idea of quality in building a home may be more like $295/sq. foot when you can actually afford $225/sq. foot. But you have to understand the value of your investment to be wise.

It’s a terrible idea to not understand the impact that value will have on your budget. Once your kitchen is roughed in, do you want the laminate countertops or granite? To make the right decision that is not driven by emotion you must consider the additional cost against the impact to the total value of the home.

If it’s worth it to increase your quality of life and have a higher resale value in your home, the granite countertops are going to be your choice. But you need to offset other costs to remain in your total budget. While you do need to understand costs, you must understand the value in your new home.

Use this test on contact center quality investmentsQuality investments are similar

Doesn’t the same concept apply to your contact center quality investments? To understand Quality Assurance Return on Investment, the ebook 29 Quality Assurance Mistakes to Avoid asks the first part of the equation – “Do you calculate the cost of quality in your contact center?”

Your automatic answer may be “yes, I know how much we spend on quality monitoring so we do calculate the cost of quality.” Wait. The Internal Quality Monitoring, or the call monitoring process, is too narrow a focus and does not entirely answer the quality investments question.

The cost of quality must include a fully loaded calculation of:

  1. People
  2. Process
  3. Technology

Getting maximum value from quality investments

To obtain maximum value from your quality investments, it’s best to use the Impact Quality Assurance (iQA) methodology. As seen in the below graphic, quality has many dimensions and costs need to drive greater performance in these core areas for it to translate into customer-centric outcomes.

Your quality investments (cost of quality) should be generating value in your:

  1. Internal Quality Monitorng (iQM)
  2. External Quality Monitoring (eQM)
  3. Metrics Management (KPIs, Analytics, Actionable Insights)
  4. Emotional Intelligence (Greater customer rapport, empathy, referrals)

Another way to build

Consider this. There are two sides in the cost of quality equation. One is the summary of all costs to execute the activities that determine quality. The other side is the value to customers of said investments. It’s simple; you spend budget on actions to deliver an outstanding customer experience and the yield is the perceived customer value. Think about this just as you did in your granite countertop decision. Invest an additional $5,000 in granite to gain $10,000 in home value and have a great kitchen with higher resale value is a good investment.

Are you able to determine the impact felt by your customers of your quality investments in training? If you cannot answer that question with the dollar impact to your budget, the cost of quality is not being calculated correctly. More than likely you are underspending or wrong-spending in training and getting very little value for it.

Proving the quality of quality

In essence, the question really is “how do you prove the quality of quality?” The answer is not to spend less money and control costs or to spend more and not know the impact.
For those that are doing it correctly, the answer is to shift resources to do Quality Assurance differently. They have realized by understanding quality investments better, a redistributed QA effort meets today’s modern needs.

Take the concept of resolution, for example. Customer-defined quality is largely related to First Contact Resolution. FCR is difficult to improve upon with only an internal definition of resolution. Your Voice of the Customer program must reveal insight into the previous behavior of repeats and future likelihood of repeats in order to generate value out of your quality investments. Are you getting those insights?

best-thing-learn-buttonAn effective Voice of the Customer program is one tool that can create enormous value from your quality investments. But it’s not as simple as putting questions together.
What the customer thinks about a particular interaction AND WHY is tantamount to all of your quality investments. If customers do not experience the value from all of your quality investments, then all of your costs are wasteful.

The goal for quality investments is not to increase or decrease the cost but rather to increase the value of the investment. In order to do that, you must have the quantitative skills to do it.

If not, your laminate countertops will be installed soon.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jodie Monger
Jodie Monger, Ph.D. is the president of Customer Relationship Metrics (CRM) and a pioneer in business intelligence for the contact center industry. Dr. Jodie's work at CRM focuses on converting unstructured data into structured data for business action. Her research areas include customer experience, speech and operational analytics. Before founding CRM, she was the founding associate director of Purdue University's Center for Customer-Driven Quality.


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