In a survey, 97% of consumers revealed that customer service plays a crucial role in retaining their loyalty.
Providing lousy service to your customer is enough to chase them away, even if it occurred only once.
As a call center manager, you can’t afford to overlook the quality of interactions your agents are offering.
In other words, how you treat your customers and handle interactions across your call center will determine your business success.
Customers today have high expectations of resolving their issues in the first call itself. While aiming for quick customer service, you also need to maintain the quality of all your calls.
This is where quality assurance comes into the picture.
What is call center quality assurance (QA)?
Call center quality assurance is the process that ensures the quality of your customer interactions is aligned with your business goals.
It is the method of monitoring and analyzing your agents’ call with respect to customer’s expectations and requirements.
With effective call monitoring, managers are able to identify and discover issues within their teams, if any.
Why is QA important in a call center?
The process of QA is designed to help you enhance the quality of your customer support team. Its ultimate aim is to increase the overall efficiency of the contact center and reduce wasteful spending.
It is rightfully the foundation of all call centers, which allows you to stand out from your competitors.
If you are still not convinced, here are the benefits of ensuring QA within your contact center.
1. Boosts customer experience
The process of analyzing data to gather actionable insights is a typical roadmap to customer success.
When customer service is seamless, and all their issues are resolved quickly, it creates a long-lasting impression on your customer’s mind.
QA is there to ensure that the call center maintains a consistent service level throughout the customer journey.
2. Maintain call quality standards
The contact center is a quality touchpoint for your customers in most businesses. The behavior of your call center agents can influence relationships with your customers.
Many people judge a business by the way their agents interact with them.
Quality monitoring practices ensure that agents learn the best approach to solve important queries, handle irritated customers, and acknowledge feedback.
The entire process is standardized to maintain consistency of the tone while addressing the customers.
3. Reinforce customer retention
A 10% increase in customer retention can improve profits by 25-30%.
Customer support quality is directly tied to your customer loyalty. If you want to retain your customers, you need to provide them a seamless experience.
In fact, it costs five times as much and is 10 times more difficult in attracting new customers compared to retaining an old one.
Thus, call centers ensure that quality is maintained and delivered to the customers so that they don’t switch to your competitors.
QA puts customers’ needs on the highest priority list, thereby gaining customer loyalty.
4. Adhering to compliance
There are certain guidelines that every call center needs to follow while handling customer interactions.
Failing to adhere to the laws set by the government, such as data protection compliance, can result in a hefty fine. These laws are set by the government to ensure customer privacy and security.
As a part of QA, call monitoring ensures that agents are maintaining strict compliance standards while making sure that all data is secure.
5. Better call center QA metrics
Measuring call center metrics is an essential aspect of call center quality assurance. It helps measure customer experience and the overall performance of a contact center.
However, a call manager should know which metric is going to grant actionable insights. QA metrics are there to help you determine the center’s productivity over time.
Some of the most common and vital metrics are average handle time, customer satisfaction level, listen to talk ratio etc.
6. Help to clarify company values and goals
The QA process helps you determine your department’s goals and values.
Without this clear objective in mind, agents may have difficulty understanding and providing an excellent experience to its callers.
While defining QA standards, there are specific questions that need to be answered.
What kind of problem do you aim to solve?
How will you define customer experience?
What is the main purpose of your customer service department?
This will help your call reps understand what the brand stands for and the quality of work expected of them.
7. Identify shortcomings in customer service
Another reason why call center QA is important because it helps identify any flaws in your customer service.
Monitoring every call helps pinpoint areas where your agents are lacking, and with proper training, you can coach them to address their shortcomings.
If your customers aren’t happy with your service, they may not think twice before searching for another reliable company.
Call Center Quality Assurance best practices
Now that you know the importance, let’s look at some of the best practices of QA that can help you provide the best-in-class service.
1. Recruitment and selection error
At the onset, recruitment and selection of agents may not seem like the responsibility of the quality assurance team.
But it is highly crucial that you hire the right and appropriate profile for the type of service they will provide.
QA team can work in line with the HR team to help them understand what kind of candidate would be the best fit for the operation.
2. Provide early and regular training
One major mistake most companies make is that they end up putting their new hires to work even without giving them proper training.
Indeed, companies are always swamped with work, facing tight deadlines. But putting employees into operations without even showing them around how things work will only further create more problems.
The best approach is to train them on your customer service expectations and how to exceed them. Only then should they be allowed to interact with customers independently.
3. Involve agents in the development of the QA program
The concept of QA can have a negative connotation for agents. To remove the perception of call center QA as punitive, you must include everyone in the development of the QA program.
Agents can work alongside QA specialists to develop benchmarks for their performance level.
This is crucial because it will help agents understand what is included in the scorecard and why adhering to them is important.
4. Providing feedback to agents
Providing regular feedback to agents plays a crucial role in shaping your employees’ performance and motivating them.
While evaluating, make sure to jot down specific notes and be as detailed as possible. It will help them understand where to improve precisely. But don’t just pinpoint out their negative points.
Make sure that while giving them feedback, you appreciate them for their good work too. Also, you should give them pointers for coaching and training so that they can improve.
5. Quality assurance scorecard
Without a well-designed scorecard, all your efforts to ensure quality will go waste.
Here are a few things to keep in mind while creating a QA scorecard-
- Evaluate the performance by concept, i.e., excellent, good, regular, and bad. This will help you separate the best agents from average; and coach the average ones through proper training.
- Assign different weight numbers to different items in the list. The idea here is that the item with more weight will have more importance while measuring the quality of the operation.
6. Ensure problem resolution
The process of QA is also responsible for ensuring that the percentage of call resolution metric is high.
The agents should take full accountability for the call and try their best to resolve the issues.
If need be, they should transfer the call to another department.
7. Agent engagement is a must quality evaluation process
Agents must have a clear knowledge of all the metrics that are being evaluated.
Set a realistic target for evaluation to ensure quality monitoring and assessment. They should be aware of what a quality interaction constitutes.
Ask them about the difficulties they are facing and provide them regular feedback to help them improve.
8. Think like a customer
When creating your feedback form, the best approach is to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and think like them.
This will help you understand things like — why do customers call, what is the first thing they look for while calling, how they think, and other things.
Identifying these topics will help you list items on your scorecard to evaluate, and you can assign appropriate weights to each item.
Most important is to empathize with your customers; don’t consider them as crying babies. Instead, understand that they have a genuine problem which is impacting them, and your role is to solve it in the best possible way.
9. Agents must do self-evaluation
You should promote self-assessment in your call center. Allot a period of time each week where agents evaluate their own calls.
They will listen to the calls and analyze them based on customer satisfaction and service quality.
Self-assessment will help them identify their own mistakes and improve their communication skills.
10. Include all contact center supported channels in the QA program
A QA program should evaluate interactions with customers from all service channels, including email, social media, and others.
This is because a bad interaction on any channel can ruin your company’s reputation.
11. Use gamification as positive reinforcement
Employ gamification tactics to recognize and reward agents for a job done well. This will not only motivate agent engagement but also promote loyalty.
This game mechanism adds a fun factor, and agents are motivated to achieve their organizational goals.
12. Allow for growth
Have a long-term strategy to allow growth within the company. This will help you retain the best talents in your company.
Design a career plan for your service team that will help them improve and grow as an individual.
13. Do not let customers feel agents are reading a script
Scripts act as a guide to call center representatives as they interact with customers. Staying adhered to the script ensures the quality of the call.
However, it is also important your agents are given the liberty to go-off script when the situation demands. Otherwise, they might end up sounding like a robot.
14. Customer contact plan
Devise a contact plan for reaching out to your customers in cases like when they leave a bad review. You can talk to them to understand what went wrong and how you can improve it.
Or you can even make a post-purchase call to see if they are facing any difficulty and how you can help.
Always put your customers first if you want your business to succeed.
15. Think like an agent
While evaluating an agents’ performance, it’s important to put items on their list within the limit of their skill.
You don’t want an agent to solve a problem about which they don’t have any knowledge.
While giving them scores, you should see if your agents performed well or not regardless of your customer satisfaction level.
16. Focus on low-performance employees
Best agents are already well aware of the standard of the call center service program. That’s why divert more attention to low-performing employees — provide them with feedback and all necessary coaching and training to increase their quality.
Call center quality assurance continuously measures operational and organizational effectiveness.
Set up a QA scorecard that reflects your company’s values and goals.