Are you maximizing the use of quality assurance in your call center? Most often, quality managers use quality assurance for four or five things, which isn’t bad. Then sometimes, other departments in the call center use quality assurance for one or two additional purposes that fit their needs. But this barely scratches the surface of the powerful functions of QA in the call center.
Unless you’re leveraging quality assurance to its full potential, you’re missing out on ways to grow your revenues, increase productivity, enhance agent performance, and improve the customer experience.
Call center quality assurance (QA) is the process of monitoring and evaluating customer interactions to ensure that predefined standards are met. By reviewing calls, emails, chats, and any other channels of communication, you can maintain and improve the quality of your call center’s customer service.
So, how do you maximize your use of quality assurance in the call center? You have to understand how QA functions and the benefits of those functions.
Typical contact center QA objectives include improving customer satisfaction, maintaining service standards, ensuring regulatory compliance, identifying training opportunities, and improving operational efficiency. Effective QA can also boost customer retention and drive business growth.
90 percent of customers believe that organizations should provide the ability for customers to provide feedback. Unfortunately, even with this feedback, many call centers struggle to align what they think is good customer service with what their customer thinks is good customer service.
Matching up your quality assurance scores and feedback via customer surveys is the best way to assess whether there is a difference between your perception and your customers’. The key is the ability to combine internal and external sentiment in one dashboard. By viewing your CSAT and NPS scores directly beside your QA scores, you can measure productivity, effectiveness, and the customer experience for continual improvement.
Evaluating agent performance is one of the most common uses of call center QA—for obvious reasons. QA in the call center grades the quality of the service delivered by individual agents. In fact, call quality metrics were voted as the most popular way of assessing agent performance.
Just make sure that your evaluating agent performance on actionable items. What this means is developing a deep understanding of what you need to assess and why. Ask yourself what behaviors lead to successful outcomes, and then associate KPIs (business-critical, customer-critical, and process-critical) with those behaviors.
Many call center and QA managers keep QA at the top level and don’t take the time to dig deeper. But one of the most valuable functions of quality assurance in a call center is the ability to complete root cause analysis and identify gaps in performance and knowledge.
For this, you need both high-level QA scores and detailed reports that provide insight into advanced information about every interaction. The more detail you monitor, the more likely you are to spot discrepancies, opportunities, and pitfalls. From there, you can get to the bottom of causation and determine correlation—where it exists.
Quality assurance provides training managers and coaches rich feedback on individual agent performance—where they are struggling and high-performance areas. This insight can be used to shape coaching sessions and develop tailor-made training.
The truth is that the most frustrating aspect of a poor customer service experience is an agent that lacks the knowledge or ability to solve a customer’s issue. Rather than assuming what your agents need to learn, QA in a call center can help you identify exactly what you lack, so you can design and deliver an appropriate training program. Then, you can use QA, just like a coach, to track progress and analyze if everyone has obtained the training and the intended skills.
It’s an ever-evolving process that should be directly related to your organization’s goals, resources, and your agent’s needs and based on routine performance reviews.
Regulatory compliance is an area where your call center should mitigate risk. One mistake can result in steep fines—up to $100,000 a month. For example, telemarketing service Infocision was recently fined $250,000 by the Federal Trade Association for lack of compliance.
In the U.S., call centers have to remain compliant when it comes to:
All of this equates to an increased demand for regulation and compliance checks as well as a process that follows corrective actions. Compliance checks can easily be an integral part of quality assurance in a call center. You can implement strong control measures (including breach alerts, pass/fail rates, and compliance failure details) to reduce your vulnerability.
“We use Scorebuddy’s compliance component; it allows us to separate out the DPA fails from the Compliance Fails fairly effectively. It is massively important that we are tracking all of the requirements put in place by the FCA and allowing for a great customer journey.” - Aimee-Leigh Currie, Training Development and Quality Assurance Manager, SafetyNet Credit.
Using insight from call center quality assurance in other parts of the business is the most underutilized function of QA. It’s easy to understand how this happens considering the myriad of contact center metrics in use today, but it doesn’t have to be the case.
Quality assurance in your call center can provide a myriad of business benefits related to customer satisfaction and increased revenue. When done well, QA can reveal:
Remote call centers are becoming more common than ever. Even if you have a central call center, you probably still have remote agents who rely on the cloud. QA in your call center is vital to monitoring your remote situation. It’s especially valuable for helping you determine if your remote agents are set up with the collaboration tools, productivity tracking apps, and environments they need to be successful.
Remote QA is one of the easiest and most effective ways to monitor your remote agents and make adjustments to your process as needed.
77 percent of CEOs say their main focus is to create operational efficiencies and drive revenue growth. QA in the call center is not a one-way traffic flow; supervisors and managers relay their assessments of performance back to agents and other stakeholders and gather feedback from them. This can reveal problems that prevent higher performance, and by using this information, internal process improvements can be made.
The key is to use your quality assurance process to better understand your call center workflow. You need to be able to develop an organizational chart that can help you determine:
Using QA for audit purposes applies to interactions where a failure is recorded. This is especially important for highly regulated industries.
An audit assesses what corrective action was taken when a failure was flagged. A good quality assurance system will flag and track these corrective actions, reducing manual paperwork. You should even be able to alert agent’s via email of their recorded QA score, and combine that with a recording of the actions taken and associated dates.
“Being able to send notifications to the agents that they have been scored is great because it minimizes paperwork and fulfills audit requirements at the click of a button. It’s simple but effective. Scorebuddy is crucial for recording dialogue and remedial action which plays into the audit trail too.” - David Woodhouse, ADMS Europe.
With call center QA, you can quickly measure how good you are at providing positive customer experiences. And you can look at the details operationally, tactically, and strategically. By using QA to drill down into every customer interaction, you can carry out root cause analysis and then use that knowledge to make changes to identified problems and therefore improve customer experience.
You can also use QA to identify the complete anatomy of a good customer experience—including tone of voice, active listening, rapport, effective questions, empathy, etc.—and then craft guidelines for effective interactions. In this way, from the moment you bring on an agent, they know exactly what they need to do to deliver customer success.
Quality assurance in a call center is more than just telling you what you did wrong or right. It’s also your opportunity to track what’s going on by providing you with a history of your quality monitoring that you can mine for insight. By quickly being able to retrieve past data and compare it to your trajectory for the future, you can discover:
The key is to use call center QA to track both the hard (tangible) gains as well as the soft (intangible) gains. This allows you to delve further into the “why” of your call center’s purpose.
You cannot underestimate the value of QA in a call center. With the right processes in place and the right knowledge to make the most of your monitoring, you can evaluable every agent and every channel—from emails to phone calls, social media responses, customer service tickets, and more. And from there, you can gain a complete picture of your call center outcomes, so you can maintain the quality standards your customers want, while adhering to compliance.