Call center quality assurance - Tips and tools to improve QA

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A top performing agent on a call rated by the company's call center QA

Making sure your call center is providing quality support for your customers is essential to maintaining a good relationship with them and keeping a positive reputation amongst your clientele. This is why having an effective call center QA framework is crucial for any business.At its core, call center QA addresses one major concern:

How to improve call center efficiency.

So let’s take a look at what call center QA is and how it can improve your call center. We’ll also check out some tips on how to build your own QA framework, as well as some noteworthy tools you can use for your strategy.

A call center QA specialist coaching an agent based on data from RingCentral Live Reports

What’s call center QA?

Quality assurance (QA) in call centers is a process that ensures you’re performing according to the standards of your company. This is done by monitoring and evaluating your team based on the key performance indicators (KPIs) that you have set. Different businesses have different goals, so you have to make sure that your KPIs are aligned with your particular goals. It’s also referred to as quality management by some companies.

What’s the importance of call center QA?

Quality assurance is critical to any call center because it allows organizations to continuously improve their service. Let’s look at the ways quality assurance can improve the way call centers operate.

  1. Strengthening your support team - QA helps you find areas of improvement for your team and, allowing you to strategize effectively when coming up with coaching and training sessions.
  2. Improving customer experience - With a stronger team, your call center will provide your clients with better assistance. That results in better interaction with customers and higher retention levels.
  3. Refining business goals and processes - With consistent QA, you’ll be able to anticipate the needs of your customers, allowing you to adjust your business goals and procedures to accommodate them.

What are some challenges of call center quality assurance?

Call center QA is not without its difficulties, but it’s an essential part of any business. Here are some common problems that QA specialists and compliance managers encounter when they conduct quality monitoring.

  • An overwhelming amount of data
  • Misinterpretation of data
  • The amount of time needed to monitor and analyze calls, emails, or chats
  • Pushback from agents who enjoy their privacy
  • Outdated software that doesn’t offer a lot of useful features

It’s also common for businesses to outsource their call centers. That’s a valid option, but it does come with its own set of challenges.

The most important thing you have to establish is:

What’s quality for BPO?

BPO (business process outsourcing) companies have different ways of defining quality. When choosing a BPO to outsource your call center to, you need to make sure they’re living up to your own standards. Although the specific metrics would depend on your needs, you can keep these general factors in mind as you look for the best partner for your business:

  • Reliable – Can the BPO deliver on their expected key performance indicators?
  • Effective  – Can the BPO resolve customer concerns effectively?
  • Prompt – Can the BPO maintain deadlines and keep to a consistent schedule?

Of course, there are more concerns to consider, but most of them fall under these three. The ideal is for the BPO company you’re choosing to align with your business goals and hold themselves to a high standard.

Creating a call center QA framework

A QA framework is the system used by a call center to collect performance data and measure their quality of service. Creating a QA framework involves establishing the metrics that define good quality service for the call center and determining the methods for collecting data on how agents are performing against these metrics.

Let’s have a look at the things you have to consider when creating a QA framework.

To create a useful QA framework, you need to answer these three questions:

  1. What KPIs and metrics do you measure your agents against?

    Look at the needs of your business and determine the KPIs you need. There’s no “one size fits all” when it comes to choosing KPIs.

    For example, a call center that receives hundreds of calls per day might be inclined to focus on the average handling time (AHT) of a call center agent. Another might prefer to prioritize customer experiences, so they will likely focus on first call resolution (FCR) or customer satisfaction scores (CSAT).

    Of course, the best call centers aim for a well-balanced framework that takes both speed and service into account.

  2. How will you monitor, measure, and analyze these metrics?

    You can employ any number of methods to monitor your performance and analyze your data.In the early days of call centers, managers had to rely on manual methods to collect data and measure performance. Some of the usual methods include:

    • Paid surveys
    • Custom scorecards
    • Telephone mystery shoppers
    • Manual recording and monitoring call sessions

      Obviously, these are not easy to maintain consistently. But nowadays, products like RingCentral Contact Center come packaged with quality management and analytics tools that automatically collect data and present them in a simple, easy-to-understand summary. With this, you don’t have to rely on third-party QA software to do your analysis for you.

  3. Based on the data you’ve collected, what steps will you take to improve customer interaction?

    Once you’ve collected and analyzed the data, use that to implement a strategy that would improve your customer service.

    Do your agents have a high AHT? They might need further training to develop relevant skill sets. Do your customers prefer to contact your business through other channels? Employing omnichannel contact centers like RingCentral is the way to go.

Types of QA framework for call centers

There are three types of call center QA frameworks that you can base your own model on. These are not mutually exclusive, however. Good call centers use a combination of all of them to manage QA on different levels of the organization. Let’s look at each type to help you see how you can implement these in your call center.

Operational QA framework

An operational framework deals with QA on the day-to-day level. It measures how well your call center is performing at their daily tasks. These are the common issues that an operational QA framework tries to address:

  • Who are the weakest performers, and what systems can be implemented to improve them?
  • Are quotas being met? If not, what can be done to achieve it?

Usually, data is collected through periodical evaluation and daily monitoring of goals. The downside of the operational QA framework is that solutions are only on the micro-level. It can show immediate short-term results, but it has low potential for long-term improvement since it doesn’t address root causes.

Tactical QA framework

A tactical framework looks at the bigger picture type of concerns that affect customer service. It’s concerned with improving the overall quality of service by identifying and addressing the root causes of low call center performance. Some of the issues tackled by a tactical framework include:

  • What’s causing low performance, and how can it be improved?
  • Are there any knowledge gaps in the system?
  • Is there a problem with the organizational workflow of the team?

The solutions to these issues are on the mid-level. It requires restructuring and retraining your team. You may not be able to observe the effects as immediately as you would with the operational workflow, but it can make your team stronger in the long run.

Strategic QA framework

The strategic QA framework is established at the top-level of the organization. Its primary concern is to make sure that your call center team aligns with your overall business goals and helps improve your net promoter score (NPS). Your NPS measures how loyal your customers are to you and how likely they are to recommend your business.

To improve your NPS, here is what a strategic framework focuses on:

  • What are our business goals? How does customer service fit into those goals?
  • How can we improve customer loyalty and brand reputation with customer service?
  • How is employee success defined and rewarded in our call center?

These questions are very broad, and they define the culture, standards, and goals of your company. This is why a strategic QA framework is used for finding long-term solutions to organization-wide problems.

Tips on improving call center QA

Creating an effective call center QA framework can seem like a difficult task, but there are some specific guidelines you can turn to in any situation that will make your life easier.

Here are some basic tips for ensuring that you are making the most out of your QA system:

  • Monitor goals and performance consistently. Stick to your agreed-upon evaluation metrics and schedule.
  • Use contact center software features like call recording and monitoring, live reports, and analytics to efficiently track your team’s performance.
  • Personalize coaching sessions with your team to address their individual strengths and weaknesses. 
  • Establish a consistent penalty/reward system to encourage good performance and discourage poor performance.
  • Provide your team with regular training sessions.

These are only some general standards you should hold call centers to. Always keep your standards in mind and stay consistent.

Using RingCentral’s Quality Management features to optimize your contact center’s workforce

RingCentral Contact Center’s Workforce Optimization Pro comes with powerful quality management features that can elevate your QA strategy. Here are only a few of those tools:

  • Voice and screen recordings - this allows an administrator or supervisor to record an agent’s interactions with a customer. It can also record interactions conducted through other channels such as chat, social media, or email, allowing for a more holistic view of the customer’s concerns.
  • Customizable dashboards - this lets you organize your dashboard to display the most important information to you first. With it, you’ll be able to quickly review your team’s performance and quickly identify your highest and lowest performing agents or campaigns.
  • Scoresheets - Once you have your recordings and have selected an agent to review, you can use the scoresheets tool to quickly assess an agent’s performance. You can customize these QA scorecards according to your team’s KPIs.
Interface of RingCentral Contact Center’s scoresheets tool.

These are only a few of what you can do with RingCentral Contact Center. There are also performance management and analytics tools that can give you firmer control over the quality of your team’s service.

How can you get the best call center quality assurance?

Your business goals determine the best call center QA solution for you. Positive customer experiences are always the desired outcome, but every business has a different way of going about it.

You have to consider some things, like what your business does, what you want to do for your customers, and the best way to do that. When you consider your choices for QA, keep some of these questions in mind:

  • Does your call center QA framework cover all of your areas for improvement?
  • Do your metrics and methods align with your business goals?
  • Are customer stories about and responses to your brand improving through your current QA framework?
  • Does your call center QA framework have robust data security?

These questions cover the basics. Your business will have different specific needs that you have to figure out. Try to consider what kind of experience you want to provide for your customers. Then, put yourself in their place and imagine what they would need to get that experience.

Having a good contact center software can also be a massive help to your QA process. If you’re looking for an omnichannel customer engagement platform with robust analytics features, click on the “View Demo” button below to check out all of RingCentral’s QA features and offers.