Call Center Quality Assurance: What It Is, Why It Matters, & Best Practices for your center

Learn all you need to know about call center quality assurance, including how RingCentral can help you get it right.

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

The level of support and overall experience your call center provides customers is vital. It’s essential to maintaining a good relationship with them and keeping a positive reputation amongst your clientele.

How, though, can you continually ensure that the quality you need is delivered at every touchpoint? How can you be certain that all your agents are meeting the necessary standards? That’s where call center quality assurance comes in.

Having an effective call center QA framework is crucial, but before you can get there you need to know the fundamentals.

So, let’s take a look at what call center QA is, why it matters, and how you can get it right in your call center.

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

What is quality assurance or QA in call centers?

First things first; what is call center quality assurance? QA in call center operations is the name given to all the processes involved in ensuring you’re continually meeting and improving performance standards. 

QA in a call center, then, typically involves 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 objectives. 

QA vs QC and QM

When looking into quality assurance for call centers, you’ll probably also come across a couple of other similar phrases—quality control (QC) and quality management (QM). So, what’s the difference?

As mentioned, QA relates to monitoring and improving customer interactions to ensure the highest standards are maintained and KPIs reached. QC, meanwhile, relates to tracking operational activities. So, think about things like agent attendance and punctuality or the efficiency of internal workflows. 

QM, meanwhile, is sometimes used as a synonym for QA, but can also refer to the combination of both QA and QC in a call center.

The importance of quality assurance in call center operations

Asking “why is QA important in a call center?” is like asking “why is quality important in a call center?”. Quality assurance is critical to any call center because it’s the only way to continuously improve the service offered to customers—and consumers will always expect the best. 

Let’s look at the ways quality assurance—when you get it right—can improve the way your call center operates:

  1. Strengthening your support team - QA helps you find areas of improvement for your team and allows 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?

While vital, quality assurance in a call center is not without its difficulties. Here are some common problems that QA specialists and compliance managers encounter and have to overcome:

  • 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 when it comes to maintaining QA.

What’s quality for BPO?

First of all ,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:

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

Creating a call center QA framework

The first step in ensuring effective quality assurance in a call center is to build a QA framework. A QA framework is the system used by your call center to collect performance data and measure quality of service. 

Creating such a 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.

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 most relevant KPIs. 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 traditional methods included:

    • 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 RingCX from RingCentralcome packaged with AI-powered 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, consider what steps you could take 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 an omnichannel contact center solution like RingCX 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 teams are 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 framework, 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.

Call center quality assurance best practices

Creating an effective call center QA framework and learning how to improve quality assurance in a call center in general can seem like a difficult task. Given its importance to your business and your customers, however, it’s worth the effort. 

To help you on your way, here are some call center quality assurance tips and best practices to abide by:

  • Monitor goals and performance consistently.
  • Use the right call center quality assurance software.
  • Hold regular, personalized coaching sessions with your team.
  • Establish a consistent penalty/reward system.

Monitor goals and performance consistently

Don’t create a QA framework and then sit back, thinking your job is done. Effective QA is a continuous and iterative process. You need to ensure that your call center stays ahead of changing market trends, increasing consumer demands, and your competitors.

When you did create your framework, you’ll have decided on your KPIs and how and when to track them. Make sure you stick to the plan. Regularly monitor calls and other customer interactions and continuously look for ways to improve.

Don’t, however, be afraid of updating or tweaking your goals themselves. Call center operations are fluid, and you may find that the objectives—and therefore the metrics to track them—set down in your framework become less relevant. Adapt and improve your QA framework accordingly.

Use the right call center quality assurance software

Continuously monitoring performance across your call center as part of the QA process may seem like an onerous task. 

Once upon a time, that was certainly the case. Supervisors and managers could only monitor their agents' calls by sitting next to them as they handled them, for instance. Fortunately, modern call center quality assurance solutions have changed all that.

With the right call center quality assurance solutions, you can trust your system to record all your calls automatically, and to give you a range of call monitoring options. And thanks to the recent evolution of artificial intelligence (AI), the ways in which the right software can support QA don’t stop there. 

RingCX, for example, has RingSense AI built in, meaning you can get automated scoring, transcripts, and summaries of all customer interactions. In short, everything you need for efficient ongoing call center quality assurance.

Hold regular personalized coaching sessions with your team

Quality assurance for call centers isn’t all about software solutions and data. There is, of course, a crucial human element in the shape of your agents and teams. They should never be overlooked or underestimated. 

To ensure standards are met and KPIs achieved, regularly train your agents to give them everything they need to perform. 

Thanks to the insights you can draw from built-in analytics, like those available from RingCX, you should be able to pinpoint individual strengths and weaknesses of each agent. Build your coaching sessions around these and you’ll have the recipe for success.

Establish a consistent penalty/reward system

As well as training your teams, you also need to reinforce with them the importance of maintaining standards. That’s where establishing a consistent penalty or reward system comes in.

You need to incentivize good practice and discourage bad across your teams. One way to do this may be to offer prizes like extra time off or even a cash reward to your top performing agents. 

When establishing your system, what’s important is that it’s consistent and fair for everyone. Being able to rely on the accuracy of your measures of agent performance, then, is paramount. Fortunately, RingCX can help you here, too, thanks to reliable and automated agent scoring powered by AI.

Using RingCentral’s quality management features to optimize your contact center’s workforce

We’ve already talked about many ways in which RingCX, RingCentral’s omnichannel contact center solution can help with quality assurance in call center operations. 

That’s not the only solution RingCentral offers, however. For enterprises with more comprehensive contact center needs there’s also RingCentral Contact Center.

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

  • Voice and screen recordings - These allow 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 - These let 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 examples 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 it. 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 the right call center quality assurance software is vital 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.