Published: July 14, 2011 | Comments (6)
The Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA) operates in a demanding environment. Each day, CMPA's agents talk to the organization’s physician-members, giving them advice and legal assistance and risk management education. As you can imagine, then, CMPA's Quality Assurance program is critical – and it gets a lot of focus, both for the customer experience and the bottom line.
LOCATION: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
HOURS OF OPERATION: 8:30am-4:30pm EST, Monday to Friday
NUMBER of AGENTS: 26 agents + support staff
PRODUCTS/SERVICES PROVIDED/SUPPORTED: The Canadian Medical Protective Association provides advice, legal assistance and risk management education to more than 81,000 member-physicians. It has been a major provider of medical liability protection in Canada since 1901 and is governed by an elected council of physicians.
CHANNELS HANDLED: phone, email, web, fax and mail
NOTABLE: for 2010, CMPA's Membership and Contact Centre Services (MCCS) received ICMI's 2011 Global Call Center Silver Award for Quality.
"Best-in-class quality is an attainable goal for all organizations: It is derived from focusing on the right behaviors and can only be delivered by employees who are highly engaged and accountable for improvements and results," says Michelle Jousselin, CMPA's director of Membership and Contact Centre Services. "Improving quality will lower costs; and significantly improve resolution and customer satisfaction."
Let’s look at CMPA's guidelines for a world-class QA program.
Revisit and Assess Your Quality Assurance Program
In 2010, CMPA embarked on a major project to assess and reconstruct its contact center’s quality audit program and form. The team consisted of dedicated and contributing resources as well as four frontline agents from the Membership and Contact Centre Services department. "With the direction provided by the Steering Committee -- comprising our director and management team, the Quality Review team based the new system on COPC standards, best practices and our frontline to create a new quality audit form," says Eugenie Dore, CMPA's manager of Membership Services.
CMPA established weighting for each category as part of the review determined that a basic met/not met/bonus structure was the preferred option. The team created a quality standards document with scoring criteria and concrete examples for each of the established categories. Finally, calibration sessions were organized and maintained on an ongoing basis to ensure consistent application of the standard, and to identify new and upcoming training topics.
Get Agents Involved from the Get-Go
"Our quality program begins at the recruitment process," says James Watson, who manages CMPA's Contact Centre Services division. “We have the best quality in the world, in part, because we have the best team in the world."
Ultimately every team member has contributed to the success of this program, and CMPA gives its employees a voice in a process, which involves them. "As long as the direction is clear and we have the team's buy-in, we will continue to produce quality and member satisfaction results in the mid- to high-90s," says Watson.
Getting agent buy-in on quality monitoring isn’t always easy for call centers, and CMPA was no an exception. "Upon initial exposure to the new quality audit form and the call recording process, there was definitely some anxiety initially expressed by the team. Customer service has consistently been a primary focus at the CMPA and keeping this in mind, we maintained the focus on the interaction and improving the service to our members," says Watson. "By providing both positive and constructive feedback, we were quickly able to have our team members recognize the value and support the change." And since every level of the team – including agents -- was involved in the creation of the new QA form, agents saw first-hand that their opinions were incorporated, promoting strong buy-in to the program.
CMPA's agent scorecards are fairly weighted, as well, with the majority of the score weighted around contact efficiency and accuracy.
Build Good Quality Practices and Teams
CMPA monitors eight calls per agent each month, quite robust for a small center. "Using COPC standards, we determined the number of monitors that would be required to produce a statistically valid sample based on our volumes," says Watson. Dedicated resources (a quality analyst and a quality assurance coordinator from Membership Services and a quality coordinator from Contact Centre Services) complete the bulk of the monitoring. However, CMPA also has operational resources (two supervisors, a senior representative and a training coordinator from Membership services, and two senior membership administrators from Membership Services) assigned to each team that assist in ensuring that targets are reached on a monthly basis. "Due to the short call duration (3.25 min), the target of 8 calls monitored per month was deemed both productive and realistic," says Dore.
Watch the Right Metrics
In addition to strong overall quality scores, CMPA's first-call resolution is in the top performance range, considering that they use multiple tracking points. The call center links those results directly to its QA program.
"First-call resolution is currently a key metric within our new quality audit form," says Watson. He says the quality audit form contributes to improved FCR in several ways:
- Individual feedback and tracking -- based on individual FCR results the agent could receive coaching or additional training/mentoring.
- Team feedback and tracking based on team FCR results, reminders regarding specific processes and procedures may be provided or additional training may be provided to the entire team.
- Identified areas of opportunity -- these are areas that the team does not currently support based on their skill set -- identified areas of opportunity are brought to CMPA's FCR team for assessment and, if successful, will be implemented by using a change management process, demonstrating, says Watson, the call center’s commitment to our members and our internal stakeholders.
The performance scorecard for the MCCS team is unique in that it does not provide a "score," says Watson. "Instead, the focus is on trending, by comparing the agent's historical performance to that of the team. The MCCS Performance Scorecard here is a small example of the six key metrics that are reviewed as a member of the call team. Within each of these metrics, areas of opportunity and strengths are identified and discussed.
In addition to its recent ICMI award for quality, CMPA's MCCS has received the following team and individual awards from the Ottawa Regional Contact Centre Association (ORCCA):
- 2011 Best Contact Centre (25-100 employees)
- ORCCA Gold Award for Agent Excellence: Jeff Lauzon
- ORRCA Silver Award for Manager of the Year: Eugenie Dore and James Watson
- ORCCA Silver Award for Support Excellence: Christine Sly and Irina Dascalu
- ORCCA Silver Award for Agent Excellence: Louise Lagace