The Cost and Value of a QM Database for the Bio-pharma Call Center

Monitoring and scoring inbound and outbound calls are not a new concept. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find a call center which doesn’t have some sort of quality assurance program designed to assess the customer and agent interactions—companies recognize it’s important to know how effectively their agents are handling these essential interactions.

Even so, there are many companies that view each monitored call as an individual entity. This may be too narrow of a view of call monitoring. There are broader insights to be gained not only about individual agent and team performance, but also about company practices that may be attracting or alienating customers.

In order for a quality assurance program to provide its greatest value to call center leaders, the QM/QA program must include a database which tracks overall scores by agent, by team/work unit, and by the entire department.  In addition to standing on its own, that data must be able to be correlated with individual measurement elements (e.g. proper opening, active listening skills) and groups of elements (e.g. customer service skills, regulatory requirements).

3 Critical Database Attributes

Companies can choose to build a database, or to buy from one of the vendors who specialize in this technology. Whatever the approach, our experience tells us that 3 database attributes are critical for bio-pharmaceutical call centers:

  • Ability to easily develop customized monitoring forms
  • Ability to easily create standard (dashboard) and ad-hoc reports, using any combination of collected data
  • Ability to efficiently and appropriately validate any forms, fields, or records that may contain regulated data (e.g., potential adverse event or product quality complaint)

There are other features which are nice-to-haves; for companies just starting with a quality assurance database, these could be seen as Phase 2:

  • Recordings exist in the same database as the monitoring form(s)
  • Automated email alerts of pre-established critical issues (e.g. rudeness, HIPAA violation, complaint about a company policy)
  • Standard reports pushed to mailboxes of management
  • 90-days storage of completed forms for immediate accessibility

Database System Costs

System costs come in all sizes.  Some fully integrated telephony and monitoring systems can run into the tens of thousands, others can carry a start-up of about $10,000 – $15,000 with a monthly fee per license of  $45 – $100. At Centerfirst we’ve created a bio-pharma specific Quality Monitoring database on the Intuit software platform Quickbase®. The Centerfirst Online Monitoring and Evaluation Tool (COMET™) comes free with Centerfirst run QM/QA programs and can be purchased from Centerfirst for internal use for less than $100/license plus start-up of $5,000 to $8,000 depending on program size and training.


Customer calls are a treasure trove of information that can serve to improve individual, team, and company performance. If you are not using a QM/QA database, or you are not happy with the performance of your existing database, consider contacting us to learn more about COMET™, the only QM/QA database created specifically for the bio-pharma call center.

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