A Complete Guide to Call Centre QA To Optimise Your Workforce
Quality assurance is a central process for all businesses, and call centres are no different. Quality assurance (or QA) is the process that ensures call centre team members consistently perform well – according to the standards of their company.
This is particularly important as more and more businesses offer omnichannel services to their customers and stakeholders. It’s crucial for agents to perform consistently across platforms including phone, email, social media and live chat.
In other words, QA is all about maintaining high levels of service for customers and improving internal operations so that employees have the opportunity to flourish. But how can you go about achieving this? Stay tuned to find out.
What is call centre quality assurance?
Call centre quality assurance is the process of ensuring that customers’ requirements are met. Typically, this involves observing agents’ calls to make sure that call quality and customer experiences remain consistently high.
Quality assurance is imperative for the running of a successful and reputable call centre. As well as protecting the interests of customers, a good QA team will also oversee the smooth running of operations and keep costs to a minimum.
All in all, contact centre quality assurance is about nurturing customer satisfaction by monitoring and improving agent performance on a consistent basis. Effective quality assurance allows call centre managers to spot any problems within their teams before they get out of hand.
Luckily, there are lots of tools out there that can help busy call centres improve quality management. RingCentral’s scoresheet tool, for example, makes it easy to give feedback and coaching sessions to agents based on handy screen and voice recordings of real customer interactions.
Benefits of QA in a call centre
Prioritising quality assurance in a call centre is hugely advantageous. Call monitoring helps call centre managers evaluate agent performance across channels to ensure that customers are receiving high quality service, successful call outcomes and top-notch compliance quality standards.
Let’s take a look at some of these benefits in more detail.
Enhance customer engagement and retention
First thing’s first, prioritising quality assurance does wonders for customer engagement and customer retention. After all, happy customers stick around, right? The better your customers’ experiences, the more likely they are to keep giving you their custom. A strong QA programme will support call centre agents in providing customers with consistently positive experiences.
If your customers interact with service agents and/or office staff daily, then you’ll want to know that your team is following processes. Optimising your quality assurance programme is the best way to gain insights into how your business is running and ensure that your customers are receiving the best level of service possible, every time.
Improve employee experience
Quality assurance programmes aren’t just about making experiences better for customers, they also benefit employees. In an industry famed for its high staff turnover, that’s seriously good news. Running a call centre isn’t easy, but implementing and maintaining rigorous QA standards will help your agents succeed.
Workplace quality assurance software helps keep employees engaged and supported with comprehensive training, feedback and coaching options to improve agent performance. With RingCentral, you can improve interactions by recording calls and screens, creating and managing evaluation forms and calibration reviews, and selecting calls to review.
The best QA programmes aren’t just about quality monitoring. They’re about actively improving call centre workflows. As well as evaluating individual agent performance and employee engagement, QA gives us the opportunity to support improved workplace efficiency by analysing key performance indicators.
Monitoring business metrics helps centres see which agents need extra support and which processes need streamlining for improved customer outcomes and more first call resolutions. In other words, a QA revamp should never act in isolation. Rather, think of it as part of your overall call centre optimisation strategy.
Data collection and analysis
Data collection is fundamental to quality assurance. It’s one thing to monitor the quality of your centre’s calls, but it’s another thing entirely to make the necessary changes to improve that quality. The most effective way to make consistently positive changes is to support your business decision making with real-time data collection and analysis.
The best way to achieve this is to use software that automatically collects and analyses data from your call centres for you. This will make it super easy for you to get an overall snapshot of how your call centre is performing. You’ll be able to monitor KPIs, like customer satisfaction scores (CSAT), net promotor score (NPS) and overall QA scores.
RingCentral’s analytics portal supports teams in gaining valuable insights into their call centre system, enhanced with real-time, actionable data. For example, with RingCentral, you can track calls and use the data from these calls as an analytics platform that will help you follow your customer journeys more closely and optimise your marketing channels for higher conversions.
Call centre QA methods
How can call centres actually go about maintaining QA standards day to day? It’s time to talk about methods. There are three core QA frameworks for call centres, each of which focusses on a different aspect of call centres and performance management. Let’s take a look at each of these core methods in some more detail.
Operational QA is the baseline QA framework for most call centres. It involves ensuring that quality is maintained across an organisation. In other words, operational QA is about measuring quality assurance as one of your core business processes.
This often involves monthly performance evaluations. During these evaluations, a call centre manager will check whether individual agents and sales teams are meeting their quotas and identify any individual agents who might benefit from a training programme or extra monitoring.
After successfully tackling operational QA processes, most call centres will move on to assessing their tactical frameworks.Tactical QA involves identifying process improvements that can then be implemented into a call centre. It involves periodic data analysis focussed on finding ways to adapt variables in the quality assurance process.
More specifically, tactical QA focusses on measuring variable aspects of call centre performance – for example, to identify process or service improvements or business goals. The focus here is achieving long-term scalability by identifying the underlying causes of common issues, like workflow stagnation, employee turnover and poor customer service.
For example if it becomes clear that your sales team is struggling to deliver first-time call resolutions consistently, a natural conclusion would be to consider investing in an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) feature to improve call routing and assistance outcomes.
The third core QA method is the strategic quality assurance framework. Strategic QA is a more advanced quality assurance practice and shifts the focus from short-term to long-term business goals. The aim is to trace the impact of customer support on sales.
Call centre managers and team leaders can work out which actionable behaviors they can foster amongst their sales reps to differentiate themselves from competitors, increase revenues, and encourage increased customer loyalty.
What are the best practices for call centre QA?
You’re almost ready to go out there and start optimising your call centre quality assurance methods. Here are some best practices to keep in mind along the way. These techniques will help you get the most out of your teams and ensure that customers consistently receive excellent levels of service.
Share knowledge with the team
Quality assurance isn’t a solo enterprise. Getting the whole team involved will ensure they embrace improvements. It also means the whole company will be more likely to adopt the changes. So make sure that you’re collaborating with your call centre agents throughout the entire process.
Collaboration fosters progress. Ensuring that your QA programme is accessible to everyone involved will help you generate better results, faster!
When it comes to monitoring agent performance, finding a way to help your sales reps deal with those more challenging calls is imperative. With RingCentral, you can get a deeper look into agent performance with customisable dashboards and generate data to help inform your customer service strategy from every angle.
Hire a QA process manager
For best results, it’s worth hiring a dedicated QA manager. You can try outsourcing or hiring internally. A quality assurance process manager will oversee your entire quality assurance operation including staff training, strategic development, implementation and testing.
QA managers are responsible for evaluating agent performance and optimising business workflows so that you can always get the most out of your team. Call centre managers already have too much to do, so hiring a dedicated professional to administer all of your quality assurance processes is a win-win.
There are many benefits associated with hiring a dedicated QA process manager. They will manage your teams daily, supervise all QA processes and documentation, try out different testing activities, analyse relevant data and conduct employee training. With a specific person responsible for continuous improvement and QA assurance, that promises improved quality of service, reduced costs and fewer errors all around.
Quality assurance isn’t a one-time fix. Maintaining high quality workflows and customer service levels requires constant evaluation. Your call centre manager or QA process manager should be evaluating team performance on a regular basis. This is the only way you’ll be able to get a representative impression of how your call centre is performing.
Every call centre should be running a range of evaluative processes on a consistent basis. Most importantly, ensure that you’re regularly monitoring calls, producing performance reports and generating customer feedback through surveys and scorecards.
Next up, once you’ve conducted your assessments, it’s time to provide the necessary feedback to your agents. It’s important to provide agents with regular feedback, including actionable strategies to help them improve (after all, there’s nothing worse than confusing and contradictory feedback).
The best feedback is balanced and constructive. Instead of tirelessly finding fault and playing the blame game, provide your employees with constructive criticism and reflect on ways to help employees perform at their best. That could be with improved training opportunities, active support or simply by creating a trusting environment in which employees feel safe to ask for help.
Introduce clear criteria and scorecards
Before you start measuring the quality of your calls and workflows, it’s essential to lay out your unique business criteria. Identify a few core KPIs that you want to assess and measure your outputs against these benchmarks specifically.
As well as monitoring quality in relation to your own business goals, make sure that you’re also assessing wider industry compliance. For example, you’ll need to ensure that your call centre is complying with the do-not-call registry and legal requirements for informing customers of call recording practices. It can help to put this in writing and distribute it company wide.
With RingCentral, you can stay on top of service quality and keep records of agent performance with feedback forms, speech and text analytics and agent scoring functions. By enabling scoring on an online form, customers can give the agents that they have interacted with a score, which will be displayed as a percentage. Managers can view these quality scores and define different score ratings into categories (e.g. excellent, very good, or poor) for assessment.
Last, but not least, think about scheduling. To keep your quality assurance processes ticking over nicely, you’ll want to create a detailed schedule for your QA programme. Your schedule should account for evaluations, feedback sessions, team meetings and everything in between. Setting up recurring sessions is a great way to ensure that your quality assurance monitoring is regular and consistent.
As well as scheduling your overall QA process, make sure that each agent has their own workflow schedule. This will ensure that your agents have a reference point for performance each day, week or month. Monitoring agent schedule adherence will help ensure that levels of customer service remain high and that agents remain proactive in their roles.
Schedule adherence is so important for workforce planning and overall call centre performance. Luckily, with the right software, this is a metric that you can track along with your other KPIs. Call centre schedule adherence is a performance metric that indicates whether agents are adhering to their assigned schedules whilst taking into account variable factors (e.g. time spent on calls, average handling time (AHT), breaks, activities, meetings, and training sessions).
Get started with call centre QA with Ringcentral quality management
Call centre QA is an important consideration for any sales team. Luckily, there are so many tools out there that can help call centre managers and QA specialists keep on top of quality assurance standards and maintain a regular QA evaluation schedule.
RingCentral’s quality management features do just this. With schedule adherence functions, a robust analytics platform, customisable dashboards, call recording, review forms, feedback and coaching functions at your disposal, you’ll be equipped to keep on top of your call centre’s QA standards with ease.
Originally published Jun 26, 2022, updated Feb 13, 2024