Customer service teams play a strategic role in any company – they are the face of the company. In fact, according to Delloitte, customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than companies that don’t focus on customers.
However, not all companies understand the importance of a good customer experience. In 2021, a report by Qualtrics XM Institute showed that poor customer service was costing businesses more than $4.7 trillion a year.
This is where call center quality assurance comes in. A QA program can help control and consistently improve your customer service.
Without it, conversations are just isolated acts and no data is collected for better call center performance – which ultimately means more sales and more satisfied customers.
Quality assurance is a control process that ensures excellent customer service. The QA program goes through every aspect of customer service – from one conversation to another – identifying best practices and finding opportunities for improvement to ensure customer success.
On the plus side, there are great data recollection tools available. Conversation intelligence software can provide useful quality control features.
In this article, you will learn what call center quality assurance is and why you need it, the most common challenges you will face while dealing with it, how to perform call center quality assurance and how to constantly improve it.
What is call center quality assurance?
Quality assurance is a term that comes from the manufacturing efforts to produce better goods or services – these started as early as the Middle Age but took shape with the Industrial Revolution.
Influenced by Lean concepts and the Toyota Production System, William E. Deming developed the Total Quality Management Movement in the 1980s, which proposed a proactive, iterative, and preventive process to ensure all the right steps are taken to fulfill the clients requirements for quality.
In a call center, Quality Assurance is an operational framework that can help ensure a continuous flow of processes to provide a customer interaction that complies with company standards of quality.
Quality assurance is:
Focused on defect prevention
A proactive approach to quality
A managerial tool
Why is quality assurance important for call centers?
Call centers can benefit from quality assurance in several ways. It can help:
Establish customer-centered quality standards: Understand the requirements of your client and establish internal processes to ensure quality.
Improve call center processes: Quality monitoring helps identify areas of improvement to meet customers’ quality standards, establish and share best practices, and train employees on quality assurance standards to be a successful call center.
Prevent human-factor mistakes: Identify weak points in your interactions and establish processes to avoid them. After all, preventing defects is much cheaper than correcting errors.
Make data-driven decisions faster: Call center quality assurance provides visibility of who your high-performers are, which are the best practices, weaknesses, and much more – which can help you make quick decisions on the go to improve your sales performance.
Boost accountability and agent engagement: Having standardized processes that everyone knows and has to follow makes people self-aware of their performance, understand their areas of improvement, and thrive to do better.
Most common call center challenges and how quality assurance can help overcome them
Call centers face multiple challenges. We would like to mention three common ones which can be addressed with a QA program:
Challenge #1: Unmotivated employees and high turnover rate
According to Quality Assurance & Training Connection, turnover rate in call centers ranges between 30-45 percent. While most call centers offer little or no opportunities for growth within the company, low salaries, and alarmingly high levels of stress, call center employees struggle with a lack of motivation and burnout.
Not only do unmotivated employees have lower performance, but also training new representatives over and over again has a huge impact on costs.
A good quality assurance system can help identify high-performing employees and reward them accordingly – a great motivational tool to tackle this challenge.
Challenge #2: Overwhelming data
Call center software gathers a lot of data – this is true. But how efficient is the use that call centers do of it? While making good data-driven decisions should be a top priority of any call center, having a data analyst in the office is not yet a common practice.
Quality assurance can help process the information by providing thorough reports that not only include QA scores but also insights on the call center´s performance.
Challenge #3: Higher customer expectations
90% of leaders report that customer expectations have increased (Hubspot, 2022).
People expect a faster resolution of problems and about zero wait time in their phone calls. No doubt agents are having trouble keeping up with customers´ expectations.
Quality monitoring systems can supply useful information from each customer interaction. For example, understanding which the most frequent customer support cases are can help prepare the answer templates, FAQ sections on the websites, product tours or send the replies to the most common questions automatically, without the need to use a human operator.
This, in turn, will help customer support agents react faster and dedicate all of their time and effort to the unique cases – which will end up resulting in a more positive customer experience.
How to perform call center quality assurance
As said, quality assurance is a systematic approach. If you want to implement quality assurance in your call center, you can get started with three simple steps.
1. Identify KPIs
What are your company's quality standards? How will you measure them? Choose the right contact center key performance indicators and set goals for quality performance.
For instance, these could be your goals for quality performance:
an average speed of answer (ASA) of 20 seconds or less
a first call resolution (FCR) of less than 70%
a customer satisfaction score (CSAT) of at least 75%
an average handle time (AHT) of 6 minutes or less
an after call work time (ACW) of 6 minutes or less
an average wait time of 45 seconds or less
2. Define monitoring and evaluation process
How will you measure your key performance indicators? How will you analyze the data? How often will you make decisions based on data?
Decide which tools you are going to use, and the frequency of reports. For example, if customer satisfaction (CSAT) is one of your KPIs, will you be using an automated survey to gather customer satisfaction ratings at the end of the call? Also, get sure you have the right contact center AI tool and automate data tracking and reports.
3. Design you Call Center Quality Assurance Framework
Create your QA framework to summarize all important aspects of your quality assurance program. Some important points your call center quality assurance framework should include are:
Major quality drivers
Reason behind involvement
How to improve quality
How to measure success
4. Create training and feedback plans
For Quality assurance to be effective, everyone in the customer service team needs to be on board. Some important things you need to do to get QA processes going are:
Schedule coaching and training sessions to ensure managers and agents understand the quality standards of the company
Establish a feedback process and self-evaluation practices
Share QA dashboards to provide visibility of the overall performance and each agent's performance
How can you improve quality assurance?
Quality assurance is based on Lean Manufacturing’s concept of constant improvement. The key to constant improvement is measuring, experimenting, learning, and improving in short cycles.
Some practices that can help improve quality assurance are:
1. Encourage agent self-assessment
Self-criticism and self-performance awareness can help agents improve without the need for constant input. It is also a great source of data and it will encourage a culture of continuous improvement.
2. Utilize scorecards
Measure performance by scoring each conversation according to quality standards. Scorecards can help understand which agents are performing right and which aren't, identify areas of improvement, and gather examples of best practices.
3. Give frequent feedback
Quality assurance is all about proactive customer care. This means you need to prevent issues before they turn into bigger problems. And the only way to do this is through constant feedback. But how to do this without having your employees feel they are being micromanaged?
Self-assessment and scorecards are great for this, as they raise awareness of performance without the need for external input. Another great tool for real-time feedback is automated notifications for critical issues.
It is also important to reward agents who are performing well.
4. Identify low performers
Call center QA standards are also great for performance management, as they set the bar for the call center´s performance and provide tools to assess agent performance and take action.
So, how to identify and measure low performers? Are those the agents who did the least number of replies? No (what if they managed the most complex cases?) The key is to evaluate each representative against your previously defined (and shared) KPIs.
Performers who constantly fail to meet quality standards might need to be included in a training program – or, if the situation doesn't change, might even need to be removed.
Remember call center agents are the company's voice and you cannot risk missing the mark.
5. Rely on technology to boost your results
Conversational intelligence and speech analytics can help analyze conversations instantly. Some things you can do with an AI tool:
track the performance of your agents in real-time
provide personalized feedback by automatically highlighting words and phrases in the transcription
collect best sales examples
build easy-to-share custom reports
Customer service is a critical area of any company and providing a positive customer experience should always be a priority. Establishing Quality Assurance processes can help ensure you provide top-notch service, make data-driven decisions faster, and enhance agent performance.
Get your quality assurance program going with three simple steps. First, identify the right KPIs. Second, choose the right tool and processes to measure performance and conduct quality monitoring. And, finally, create training and feedback plans for maintaining quality assurance and correcting mistakes asap.
Empowered by AI, Ender Turing is the software you need. With automated speech recognition and real-time feedback, you can get critical notifications immediately, analyze customer interactions easily, and make use of self-coaching and feedback tools.
Are you ready to try Ender Turing? Click here and book a free demo.
Why is quality assurance important in call centers?
Quality assurance is an important tool in call centers as it can help:
Establish customer-centered quality standards
Improve call center processes with quality monitoring
Prevent human-factor mistakes
Make data-driven decisions faster
Boost accountability and engagement
Provide better customer experience
How can quality assurance improve call centers?
Quality assurance can boost sales and ensure customer loyalty. Being a control process that ensures a standardized level of quality, it can help identify best practices, find opportunities for improvement, and standardize quality-level processes.
What is a quality assurance analyst in BPO?
A Quality Assurance Analyst – or QA Analyst – working in a contact center or Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is the person responsible for maintaining the quality of work and ensuring the service that is provided complies with the company's standards of quality.
QA specialists play a key role in contact centers and are responsible for all tasks related to quality management, which include:
Defining quality standards, KPIs, and a QA process
Designing a call center quality assurance program
Quality monitoring and reporting
Training and coaching center managers on quality processes and standards
Leading a QA team (on occasions)
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