9. November 2021 Blog

Call Center Quality Assurance: Benefits & Best Practices

Customer satisfaction is the cornerstone of all call centers. It can either make or break your business. That is why you should constantly monitor your team to ensure you're always providing the best possible services. According to ContactBabel's research, more than 90% of organizations that do quality assurance consider this practice very or fairly effective.

Also, 55% of customers expect more from support agents than they did a year ago. Even if your call center has a great reputation right now, you can't afford to stop improving the quality of your services. Unless you leverage QA to its fullest potential, you are missing out on growing revenues, increased productivity and an improved customer experience.   

In this blog, we gathered useful call center quality assurance tips about how to measure and boost your performance.

What is Call Center Quality Assurance?

Quality assurance is a process of observing and analyzing agents' interactions with customers. It makes sure your services are of the best possible standards. A well-executed call center quality assurance audit can identify weak points, prevent mistakes and highlight areas for improvement

It will also help you make informed decisions, for example about training strategies, recruitment or other internal processes. QA also reduces costs, since it empowers productivity. 

For conducting quality assurance, you may use various call center software methods. You can listen to call recordings and observe agents' attitude in action, as well as use clients' emotion analytics or statistics.

Main criteria for observing agents' performance:

  • Solution: Here, you measure how effective agents are in solving customers' issues. Follow metrics like a first call resolution. 
  • Empathy: A measurement of the attitude your agents have towards clients. Focus on reviews and survey scores from customers.
  • Efficiency: Check how fast your agents are in solving customers' issues. In this case, notice mainly your average calling time. 

3 Quality Assurance Methods

QA is a complex process that may become overwhelming. Making a specific framework eases the pressure. It acts like a guideline for setting call center quality assurance metrics and criteria.

First, you have to decide on following:

  • What data do you want to collect?
  • How will you score and evaluate interactions?
  • How will you act upon your findings, based on your company goals? 

#1 Operational Method

Each call center should begin with this method, since it's the simplest one to create. It works on a micro-level, showing how well your call center performs daily tasks

During the operational method, you collect data through daily goal monitoring, as well as periodic evaluation of your performance. This usually happens on a monthly basis. The main aim is to monitor whether or not you meet the quotas you've set for your business. 

The operational QA method is mainly useful for identifying poorly performing agents who could use more training. 

Actually, according to the ContactBabel Survey, 45% of contact centers consider quality assurance a very effective method for monitoring training requirements

Operational call center quality assurance framework is a good way to start. Though it only scratches the surface of how your business is performing. You can see real-time, short term results, but no data for long term improvement. 

Summary

Operational framework answers these questions:

  • Who are the weakest performers? 
  • What are potential ways of improvement?
  • How well are you meeting your quotas? 
  • What can you do to achieve them?

#2 Tactical Method

This framework offers a mid-level solution, using monthly or yearly data. It evaluates a bigger picture. What affects customers on a larger scale? 

The goal is to improve quality of service by recognizing the deeper, root causes of low performance. 

Tactical call center quality assurance focuses on the underlying reasons responsible for workflow blockages and knowledge gaps. It also attempts to reduce employee turnover, as well as improve client retention. It accomplishes this, mainly, by prompting investment in better training. 

The tactical method goes a bit deeper than the operational one. It doesn't only evaluate the performance of individuals. Rather, it looks at the team as the whole. It monitors their workflow to make it stronger, with a long term improvement goal.

To execute a tactical method, you can use a real-time dashboard software tool. There, you can monitor the call center's overall activities.

Summary

Tactical framework answers these questions:

  • What is the cause of non-satisfying performance?
  • What can be done about it?
  • Where are the knowledge gaps that cause the bad performance?
  • Can the root cause of a problem be the organizational workflow?

#3 Strategic Method

This is the highest stage of quality assurance evaluation strategy. Its goal isn't to deal with daily, monthly, nor yearly objectives. The strategic methods evaluates company-wide plans. How are your teams aligned with you business' overall goals? 

The method tries to understand the impact of customer service quality on sales, using QA as a differentiator to drive long term customer loyalty. Therefore, it improves customer satisfaction measurement scores, such as NPS (Net Promoter Score) or CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Rate)

Strategic framework also motivates teams to build a culture of mutual trust, respect and understanding. One way it does this is by making room for and listening to agents' feedback

Summary

Strategic framework answers these questions:

  • What might be your long term business goals? 
  • How customer service fits into them?
  • How can customer service improve customer loyalty and brand reputation?
  • How is your employee success defined and rewarded? 

Benefits of Call Center Quality Assurance

QA has a lot of advantages that make agents fulfilled and customers satisfied. Let's take a look at the most significant ones.

#1 Better Employee Experience

Call center quality assurance can eliminate the notoriously high employee turnover that customer service companies often suffer from. For example, if equipped with the right tools — such as easy-to-use software with all useful features on hand — agents are faster and more motivated. 

Also, as we indicated, QA easily identifies areas of possible training improvement. You can therefore equip your agents with constant opportunities for growth and the filling in of their knowledge gaps. That gives them more self confidence in communicating with clients. 

#2 Fast Data Collection and Analysis

Continuous monitoring of call center quality assurance metrics makes it easier to gain valuable data. Searching for what doesn't work and implementing changes helps you come up with guiderails that'll make work easier for your agents. In conclusion, it provides a better experience for your customers. 

Collecting and analyzing data is especially easy with software that allows automatized and detailed data collection in order to gain information more efficiently. You can use features like emotional analytics, real-time call statistics or agent reporting

By putting all of this data right at your fingertips, quality assurance results help uncover clear and actionable insights. 

#3 Reveals What's Important for Your Business

The point of call center quality assurance metrics is to show you how successful you are. Naturally, it can also provide insight as to where your business is heading. That way, you may decide what you actually want to accomplish. 

After having this cleared out, QA can further guide you towards where to start. It also uncovers what are the possible ways to move towards your goals. Quality assurance helps you to put things into perspective, and shows you how to further improve those things that you are already good at. 

Quality assurance also provides an overview of your future possibilities. In case your business goals change. This way, you will have a detailed guideline of what you can use to successfully execute your new journey.

You can, as well, more accurately present your long term goals to employees. They will perform better with a clear understanding of the company mission.

#4 Ensures Regulatory Compliance

Today, there's a lot of international, national or regional regulations that companies must follow. Such as PCI-DSS, Consent to call monitoring, Do Not Call registry (DNC) or the well known GDPR. Most of them are connected to data security and customer privacy. They have to be taken into account carefully, since violation can have serious consequences.

Analysing call center quality assurance metrics may reveal potential security breaches. Ones that would otherwise lead to a massive loss of income, or even termination of your business. It also helps you prove your compliance in case you are ever investigated. 

Thanks to QA, you can also identify areas where your agents need more training on regulation policies.

Call Center Quality Assurance Best Practices

Now, after we discussed the benefits of QA, we have some tips on how to make the most of it

Here are 6 crucial call center quality assurance best practices.

#1 Boost Customer Satisfaction and Retention

You will not benefit from frustrated customers. That is for sure. Nor from frustrated agents. That is why your call center should have its ways to provide a consistently positive experience

Customers need to feel that the company sincerely cares about their issues. Be there to help them. Effectively. Without wasting their time by putting them on hold. Surveys repeatedly show that first call resolution plays the most important role in customer experience

Understand the need for faster resolution time and find a way to do so. It will improve brand loyalty, and, therefore, boost profit

An effective strategy to assure high call center quality is to create guidelines for customer interactions. Standardize things like greetings. Give examples of positive attitude phrases that your agents can use. This may not only support the employees, but also strengthen your brand identity

PRO TIP: Although guidelines can help, don't go too far by writing exact scripts for your agents. Otherwise, they may sound robotic. Customers are individuals and so are their needs. Let your employees improvise a little. It will personalize and humanize the interactions. 

#2 Share Knowledge With Your Team

Quality assurance offers a lot of possibilities to involve the whole team. Agents' collaboration is a key point of smoothly running QA processes. 

In fact, around 72% of executives agree that employee engagement is critical to their company's success. It is directly related to better business performance. 

The more teams work together, the more they learn from each other. This helps them understand what their contribution brings to the company. It also shows you as a transparent employer

What's more, every single person brings specific knowledge to the table. Each agent is handling completely different calls. Answering a colourful pallet of sometimes tricky questions. Incorporating agents into the quality assurance process is a great way to gather all these various information and share them with everyone. 

For example, you can create a knowledge base. One unified source of up-to-date information for each team member to easily reach. 

Knowing who has the deepest knowledge in certain topics may be of use for call center software features like skill-based routing. You can route specific inquiries to agents, most knowledgeable in a given field. 

#3 Be Strategic and and Hire a QA Process Manager

First recommendation 

Always have a clear quality assurance strategy. Set precise expectations right from the beginning. Think of how exactly you define the quality of your team's performance, since that is a highly subjective question. Further, put down a plan on how you will measure it. How often are you going to make QA and how will you incorporate the findings

You may define specific call center metrics for company goals. Some commonly used are NRR (Negative Response Rate), RCR (Repeat Contact Rate), or mentioned CSAT and NPS. After you define how to measure QA, review your findings. For example, on a monthly or quarterly basis. If you aim for real-time results, do so each week. 

Second recommendation 

Don't try to be too independent. Doing everything on your own may turn out counterproductive. Constant QA monitoring is a tough process. Mainly for those who have lots on their plate already. 

You can hire a person experienced in call center quality assurance best practices to land you a hand. Of course, you will still participate. But this way, you release some weight from your shoulders.

#4 Provide Regular Feedback

One way to utilize your QA foundings is regular feedback for your agents.If you want to assure the quality of your call center, you have to provide evaluation. Equally to everyone. By using QA scores as a part of agents' appraisals, you show tangible markers of performance. 

But don't only talk about what can be improved. Feeling constantly criticized will lead to a call center anxiety, which can eventually cause a professional burnout.

Be sure to offer positive feedback as well. Yet, don't fall into the trap of being too positive. The feedback needs to reinforce, but also improve agents' performance. Provide praise together with some constructive criticism where needed. 

Here's an example of what a manager might say to his or her agent:

“Jane, I'm happy to see that our clients are truly satisfied with your services. Good job on that. Yet, I noticed that you don't always use our established company greeting. Here is a copy of a script as a reminder.”

#5 Work on Proactive Scheduling

There are two aspects of call center scheduling. 

First aspect

Develop a schedule for the overall QA program. Determine when you want to carry out tasks, such as evaluation and calibration.This should happen on a regular basis, in order to monitor as many interactions as possible. Make sure they are measured with consistency

Second aspect

You need to make sure that agents also adhere to their assigned schedules. Schedule adherence is a percentage of the working day when an agent is available for calling. This is crucial for overall performance results

You should establish a benchmark figure to set schedule adherence. Don't be “too ambitious”. Reaching 100% is unrealistic. Not to mention quite uncompassionate. Since your agents are human, you cannot expect them to take calls every minute of the working day. Cutting breaks and assigning overly long shifts will only frustrate them. Therefore, your performance will decrease

Also, we don't recommend setting precise quotas, such as “You need to take 200 calls each day”. That leads to serious call center stress. Just tell your agents what are your overall goals and trust that they will do their best. 

#6 Use Integrations

Use integrations to gather and explore data easier. By integrating your call center software with CRM, you boost efficiency. It automates unnecessary tasks. Every interaction is automatically synchronized to both systems

This not only makes it easier for you to monitor performance. It also assures that your agents' work is simpler, more efficient and more enjoyable. By eliminating monotonous tasks, integration can double team productivity. That leaves more time for focusing on customers. 

If you are seeking a user-friendly call center software with dozens of useful features that make your call center run smoothly, we can offer a lot. CloudTalk has over 50 + different tools and a rich portfolio of integration possibilities.  

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