What is Quality Assurance For Call Centers?
Call center quality control improves the customer experience and the achievement of organizational goals. It ensures that the agents are equipped to respond to the callers with the help of key performance indicators (KPIs).
This post talks about what quality assurance means for call centers, the frameworks that can help in achieving this, and the practices to uphold.
What is Quality Assurance in a Call Center?
Quality assurance (QA) in a call center is a procedure that checks your performance based on organizational standards. The process is actualized by evaluating and monitoring the call center team based on the already set key performance indicators (KPIs). Different organizations are built on varying goals and so this affects the set KPIs as it has to be in alignment with the organizational goals.
It involves call monitoring which is an important part of running a successful call center in an organization. The quality assurance call center specialists and managers are responsible for monitoring the call center to ensure a great customer experience.
Why is Quality Assurance important in Call Centers?
Quality assurance ensures that customers are given a remarkable experience when they call in. Customers are more likely to return when they have a great experience while talking to a call center agent.
Call centers can also use the results and data collected during quality assurance as a training manual for new agents. It saves the cost of getting new materials while also providing real-time experiences to learn various skills.
As an organization, the calls can help identify areas that need to be improved in the products or services offered. Research has shown that 94% of those who rate an experience as very good returns.
Types of Quality Assurance Framework for Call Centers
Here are some of the frameworks available for Call Centers:
Operational QA Framework
Several call centers begin their quality assurance from the operational framework as it is the easiest to create. The framework can assist managers in measuring their QA as a regular and daily organizational activity.
Ordinarily, managers do their evaluations every month with the intent of meeting a set quota of scores. However, this allows them to easily identify agents who have performed remarkably and those that require more effort.
The disadvantage of the operational framework is that it covers only a basic level of QA. It barely provides time for your organization to do a deeper level of data analysis. Thus, this should be just the beginning of the analysis and build a basis for another framework.
Tactical QA Framework
For the next level of quality assurance, the tactical framework comes in handy. It combines information gotten from either monthly or yearly trending data. The data assists QA teams in adapting to particular variables included in the QA process.
As a mid-level solution, it is concerned about tactical self-awareness while aiming for growth and scalability. It focuses on the reasons for poor customer service which could include knowledge disparity and blocked workflows. The results are used in training the agents for better customer retention.
The data is often collected and organized with the help of a dashboard and it focuses on not just how individuals fare. It looks at the workflow and also at the teams in charge.
Strategic QA Framework
This is the highest stage of QA frameworks and it doesn’t need to deal with daily, monthly, or yearly organizational objectives. It aims at achieving more long-term goals by using a top-down approach. The strategic framework focuses on actionable behavior that can be used in improving your Net Promoter Score (NPS).
The framework highlights how customer service affects sales by using QA as a way of gaining customer loyalty. It demands a culture of mutual respect and understanding by incorporating feedback from the agents and enabling them to work without needing to be micromanaged.
As a business, you can work your way up to the strategic stage as the tactical and operational frameworks are also crucial.
Benefits of Quality Assurance for Call Centers
Quality assurance is crucial to call centers as they provide the following benefits:
Customer Engagement Retention
Ill-thought practices at call centers can lead to customer frustration which is not the best for your organization. The quality of interactions the agents have with customers is definitive of your customer engagement retention.
With an effective quality assurance program set in place, the agents can consistently provide a more positive experience. The callers should feel like your organization is attentive to their needs and can competently fix their problems. The result of this is brand loyalty and more organizational profits.
For QA, you can provide guidelines for interactions on whatever channel they take place. The interactions should include positive phrases, standardized greetings, and professional support.
Better Employee Turnover
Call centers are known to have a higher employee turnover than any other department which necessitates quality assurance. It creates a more relatable experience for the employees. Thus, there is a need for employees to have the right management and tools which make them more productive by keeping them happier.
When done right, QA can create an atmosphere of trust and cooperation where employees are taken through coaching programs. Call recordings are a suitable avenue to find those training materials. Constructive and regular feedback is also crucial as it teaches while being accommodating.
It is important to explain the reason why they are often measured as it keeps them feeling part of the process. Better employee retention rates can be gotten when they are kept in the know of impacting activities.
Development and Productivity
QA programs can improve productivity by streamlining call center workflows. The process uses certain metrics to measure performance and it makes it easier for the agents to be more efficient and productive.
It encourages continuous development by setting strategic and ongoing training even when the employees are already high-performing. The average handling time (AHT) and first-call resolutions (FCR) are used as KPIs to determine those that need assistance.
They also maximize productivity by relying on scripts to keep the conversation on track while resolving the problem at the optimum time. It ensures compliance and consistency when answering calls.
Data Collection and Analysis
Quality assurance makes sure that all the calls are recorded as part of the data used in future decisions. The data is then analyzed to identify areas that need improvement in the organization. This makes it easier for the agents to do their jobs and also improves the customer experience.
Instead of listening in to all conversations, there are data collection tools that are set with keywords. They identify catchphrases and use them in providing actionable insights into the conversations.
With tools like the dial pad’s speech analysis and sentiment analysis, it is easier to know what the callers are talking about. The responses recorded can also be used to create a pattern for scripts.
Conducive Workplace Culture
The quality assurance tools measure performance and how customers are treated which creates a basis for developing a workplace culture. It normalizes the reception and incorporation of feedback in the workplace without enabling a culture of unprofessionalism.
The practices involved in call center quality management requires trust and cooperation which is critical to team building. The employees would learn to work together as a team.
How Do You Ensure Quality in a Call Center (Best QA Practices)
There are certain call center quality assurance guidelines that help ensure the right practices. So, here are some quality assurance tips for call centers:
QA provides an opportunity for the whole call center team to be involved when it comes to planning, evaluations, and improvements. Collaborative teams find it easier to learn from each which reduces the time used in training them.
QA managers must find a way to ensure that every team member has access to all learning materials and learn from each other’s input.
Set an Accountability Manager for the QA Process
There should be QA managers and evaluators monitoring how the agents are performing and directing workflow operations. You can hire someone directly for this role with the experience to get the best out of the process.
Constant and Timely Evaluation
Always set schedules for evaluating your team and inform them of how it is going to happen. Using a calibration session to get everyone informed would help you measure how the evaluators are scoring the interactions.
Ideally, at least one call should be calibrated per day and with continuous measurements, it becomes easier to make accurate and fairer assessments.
Provide Regular Feedbacks
Apart from getting and implementing employee feedback, those given to agents are also important. Providing regular feedback ensures consistency of performance. These feedbacks also have to be constructive for it to achieve its intentions without upsetting the agent.
If the QA managers are not trained in providing constructive feedback, they should be provided with such training.
Set Criteria and Scorecards
Setting call center quality assurance is as important as the process itself. There should be proper documentation highlighting what each criterium means and aims to achieve. This would enable the agents to know exactly what they are expected to do.
Also, note that different circumstances should have different criteria to ensure fairness and accuracy.
Develop a Schedule
The first step is to find out when each evaluation and calibrations are to occur without compromising the QA process. These evaluations should be regular and are to be measured using consistent standards. It is better to have them done shortly after an interaction to make sure the details are still fresh.
Ensure the agents adhere to the schedules assigned as it is normally a part of the day when an agent is available for a call. This is important in their overall performance and there could be a set basis for the adherence level.
What Are Some Challenges of Call Center Quality Assurance?
Some of the challenges that may be experienced when achieving call center assurance include:
Developing KPIs and Metrics for Measurement
It can be hard to determine the metrics and KPIs to use in measuring your agents’ performance. Dealing with this challenge requires checking the organizational needs and then using them as a guideline.
Monitoring, Measuring, and Analyzing the Metrics
The metrics may be hard to measure without the right tools, but there are ways to monitor and analyze these data. You can use paid surveys, manual recording or monitoring sessions, scorecards, or telephone mystery shoppers.
These days, there are available call center providers that offer such services automatically as part of their package.
How to Improve Customer Interaction
Once data has been collected, the appropriate steps are necessary to ensure better customer interaction. This can be done by organizing training programs with professionals to help coach the agents.
Final Thoughts on Call Center QA
Quality assurance is necessary for call centers as they help improve the service offered and ensure customer retention. They are deliberate efforts that are enabled by tools that are dedicated to this cause in a call center.
Have you set up a plan for your call center quality assurance? Also, try out the cloud solutions offered by ULATEL to help provide features like call recording for data collection.