Is your call center quality assurance lagging?
Many companies struggle to get QA programs off the ground—or to make meaningful improvements to quality once the program is launched—because QA requires:
- significant planning and human resources
- knowledgeable team leads to monitor and evaluate interactions
- regular and consistent analysis and monitoring to gather accurate data
- data analysis that generates key insights and feedback
- regular processes that distribute feedback back to agents
QA processes require many moving pieces and aspects of your team to work together seamlessly in order to be really effective—a task much easier said than done.
So how can you improve your call center QA processes to improve quality and service levels? Here’s our key techniques and strategies.
Key Elements of Call Center Quality Assurance
First, although it sounds obvious, you need to define what quality actually is, especially in the context of your call center, industry and brand. After all, how can you achieve quality service if you haven’t yet defined what quality looks like for you?
It should be noted that quality should—and does—look different for different brands and industries. For some companies, social media response time isn’t too important, for others, it’s paramount. In some industries, responding to emails within 24 hours is considered great service, whereas in others, all incoming communication needs to be responded to within a few hours at most to meet consumer expectations.
If you’re working with an outsourced call center, they should be able to provide you with industry benchmarks by which to gauge your current level of quality and set realistic goals to improve.
But knowing what success looks like is just the first step. Other key elements of the call center QA process include:
- adequate and efficient monitoring and recording systems
- effective feedback to agents and team members
- continuous training and quality improvement
- ongoing iteration and development of the QA program
All of these elements must work together seamlessly to create a QA program that truly improves service quality. In the next section, we’ll give you our tried-and-true strategies to make these elements functional and effective in your own program.
Strategies to Improve Call Center Quality Assurance
With decades of experience operating call centers and improving quality for brands in a variety of industries, here are four key strategies we’ve used time and again to improve call center quality.
- Implementing efficient monitoring systems.
Ultimately, you can’t have a QA program at all without effective monitoring. A common mistake we see companies make is choosing an inappropriate number of conversations to monitor: either too few or too many. In order for your monitoring to be both efficient and effective, you need to select an appropriate sample size. If you monitor too few conversations, you won’t get a representative sample of quality, and if you try to monitor too many, it will become cumbersome and unwieldy to review and collate data from all of them.
Instead, you need to find an effective number, method and time scale to monitor. That is:
- an appropriate sample size of conversations, across all channels (i.e. not just phone lines!)
- a software or monitoring method that works effectively and ideally, without much human resourcing needed
- a time scale that makes sense—will you review the recordings on a daily, weekly or monthly basis?
Once you’ve implemented a monitoring system that accurately reflects the scope of your customer communications, and records or monitors them efficiently, you’re ready for the next step.
- Use technology to enhance quality control.
QA processes are a great opportunity to support your staff with automation and other technological resources. Since many QA processes are both repetitive and need to be completed at scale, technology can help speed up these workflows and make them more efficient.
For example, using sentiment analysis tools can provide agents feedback in real-time on their customer conversations, or help them to more quickly understand what customers want and need, creating better customer service in less time. AI quality assurance tools can also monitor calls and written communication based on established QA rubrics, allowing your team to monitor a larger sample of calls with the same amount of human resources.
With enhanced feedback and increased scale supported by modern tech, your team reaps the benefits of enhanced insights, data and monitoring to improve your quality across the board.
- Cultivate a culture of continuous learning.
Of course, all of this effective monitoring does nothing if you don’t implement the learnings and results into your call center processes. To do so, make learning and training—and your QA process on the whole—a whole-team approach. Instead of directing it from the top-down, allow agents and other team members to provide feedback on processes and your QA program, and learn from one another.
You should also ensure you provide feedback from QA analysis regularly and promptly to agents. The shorter the gap between conversation and correction, the more likely the agent is to learn from the experience and integrate that correction into their next call. This is why continuous learning—rather than scattered “QA review sessions” every few months—is so much more effective.
In addition, when new agents come on, you should introduce them to your team’s QA process early, and empower them to start reviewing their own calls, as well as successful calls from others on the team. By providing training and support, while also encouraging autonomous learning, you can strengthen your team’s culture of learning and development while improving your customer service.
- Incorporate customer feedback into QA processes.
Finally, while you should absolutely be recording and reviewing calls and other communications internally, there’s another key influence in your quality that you might be overlooking—and that is your customer’s feedback.
For a well-rounded quality assurance program, be sure to ask your customers for feedback on their service and experiences regularly. This could take the form of NPS surveys, CSAT surveys post-call, quick feedback pop-ups on your website or self-service pages, or longer surveys that go out to your most engaged audience.
Whatever it is, get the data on how customers are experiencing their service interactions, and incorporate that feedback into your goals, initiatives and QA feedback to agents.
Case Studies: Successful Quality Assurance Improvements in Call Centers
Working with an outsourced call center provider can also be an effective way of implementing quality assurance programs and improving service quality overall.
For example, at ROI CX Solutions, we’ve worked with clients across a number of industries to improve service levels, achieving results such as:
- attaining service levels of 90%, exceeding client goals by 10%
- increasing CSAT by 15%
- bringing the team’s total tickets handled up by 48%
- tripled the amount of quality appointments set
- and more!
See how our work with Hospitality, Education and Automotive clients has strengthened service levels and improved QA processes.
Challenges in Enhancing Call Center Quality Assurance
Whether you maintain a call center in-house or with an outsourced team, quality assurance improvements can be challenging. The biggest challenge teams typically run into is that of balancing quality with efficiency.
Of course you want your call center to provide quality service. But with 80% of consumers citing speed and convenience as key aspects of good service, your service also needs to be fast and efficient. Companies can balance quality and efficiency in a number of ways, including:
- implementing AI and automation to speed up processes without reducing quality
- focusing on both experiential and operational quality metrics (i.e. CSAT as well as AHT)
- providing additional training to agents so they can offer better service in the same amount of time
- improving knowledge bases so agents get quicker access to policies and company knowledge
- increasing self-service tools to provide quality assistance to customers they can access on their own terms
Call centers who want to enhance quality also need to overcome resistance to change. Regardless of how important or beneficial the change is, most change is hard for organizations—and the larger your team is, the more difficult it will be. Rather than just enforcing new quality assurance policies or programs, make it part of a company-wide culture and initiative, allowing all team members to weigh in and become invested in delivering quality experiences.
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The Future of Quality Assurance in Call Centers
As modern technology—and customer expectations—continue to advance, quality assurance programs should as well. Today, the biggest change facing QA programs in call centers is that of AI and automation.
Today’s automation tools allow teams to support QA processes by monitoring, and even evaluating, higher volumes of calls and interactions more efficiently. With larger sample sizes, you get larger data sets which can yield more accurate and useful insights. In addition, AI tools can help your team analyze those data sets to deliver insights more quickly and get feedback to your team in a timely manner. With stronger data analytics, you get more insights into what’s working, what’s not, and where to improve.
Automated customer service or virtual agents can also be a quality support, and can help implement some of what you uncover in your data analytics. With automated customer service options, such as AI live chat or other self-service options, you can provide more consistent quality for customers with simple questions and straightforward solutions. Virtual assistant agents can also support agents during their customer interactions to provide consistent knowledge and policy information, improve quality, speed up resolution rates and improve FCR rates.
Improving quality assurance is easier said than done—but doing so yields outsized rewards when it comes to customer satisfaction, call resolution times, and overall service levels.
Want support strengthening your customer service levels and quality? Our team at ROI CX Solutions has worked with clients across a multitude of industries to improve service levels, implement quality assurance programs, and increase customer satisfaction across the board.
Reach out to an ROI CX Solutions’ expert today to see how our teams can help you improve your call center quality.