Why it’s time to ditch paper-based quality assurance and move to automated checks in your contact centre

Author: Simon Black | Date: 24/08/2023

As the frontline team for many businesses, contact centres play a pivotal role in delivering a great first impression and exceptional customer experiences. But with this responsibility comes a lot of expectation.

Customers expect agents to get it right fist time, deliver first call resolutions, and be quick with their solutions. All while meeting challenging call targets and ever-changing regulatory requirements.

Over the decades, technologies like IVR and call recording have been developed and deployed to support the drive to deliver a ‘customer first approach’. But amidst the evolution of new software to support improvements, one aspect of contact centre management seems to have lagged behind in terms of automation: the quality assurance (QA) process.

In this article, we discuss why traditional QA is a challenge, why it has lagged behind in the modernisation race, and why automating your QA will improve a wide variety of metrics.

The challenges of manual quality checking

If you’ve been part of contact centre management for any length of time, then you’ll know how challenging, but essential it is to have QA processes that work. QA is a crucial component of any contact centre. As a vital cornerstone to the operational approach, QA helps to ensure agents are meeting standards, delivering the correct information, and providing a positive customer experience.

Despite this new age of automation and data-driven insights, many contact centres continue to rely on manual processes for quality checking. Handpicking interactions to assess, listening to calls, reviewing transcripts and scoring them against a spreadsheet checklist often leads to subjective judgments about their representativeness across the wider contact centre.

It’s hugely time and labour-intensive. Resource constraints force contact centre QA teams to selectively check only a fraction of interactions, often as low as 1%, raising questions about the accuracy and fairness of the process.

Subjectivity in scoring also compounds the challenge. In scenarios where the aim is to measure customer satisfaction, two quality checkers assessing the same interaction may arrive at vastly different scores. This variability hampers the consistency and reliability of quality checking outcomes and also runs the risk that areas of poor performance may go undetected.

The manual approach also limits the potential impact of quality checks on agent training and development. With only a handful of interactions reviewed compared to the total number handled, insights lack the level of detail needed to provide individualised agent coaching and development.

So why is QA so far behind in the automation journey?

Human judgment: Some contact centres prefer to stick with manual QA practices because of the belief that human judgment and contextual understanding are essential for accurately assessing customer interactions. Contact centre agents often handle complex conversations and manual QA processes enable analysts to exercise their judgment in evaluating the interactions, considering various factors that they don’t think would be captured accurately by automated systems.

Flexibility: There is a belief that manual QA offers a level of flexibility and adaptability that you can’t achieve with automation. Scoring criteria can be adjusted based on evolving business objectives, changing customer needs, or specific campaign requirements. QA teams who are manually checking can easily adapt to new scenarios, adjust scoring criteria, and incorporate subjective factors that they believe AI would struggle to capture.

Customisation: Contact centres have specific quality assessment criteria tailored to their industry, brand, regulatory requirements and customer base. It is sometimes assumed that automated AI systems would oversimplify the evaluation process and fail to account for more complex criteria, leaving the contact centre open to compliance and regulatory risk.

Whilst these concerns were relevant 10-20 years ago, the truth is that the power, innovation and capability of today’s contact centre AI is unrecognisable from where it started out. Automated QA can now integrate context, emotional analysis, and customisable criteria, offering a more sophisticated approach to quality evaluation.

Five reasons why it’s time to ditch paper-based QA and move to an automated platform

1. Your QA team’s resource is freed up enabling them to focus on strategic initiatives

Automated QA removes the need for repetitive administrative tasks, enabling the team to focus on strategic initiatives. Their expertise can instead be channelled towards driving improvements, optimising contact centre operations and identifying process bottlenecks.

2. Check 100% of all interactions

With automated QA, you can check 100% of interactions in real time. This means your QA team can identify areas for improvement as soon as they happen and take corrective action immediately. It also means you’ll have insights that give you the full picture helping you identify where widespread change is needed the most.

3. Identify individual training and coaching needs.

Automated QA provides detailed insights into each agent’s performance. This information can be used to identify specific areas where they need additional training or coaching. Automated QA can identify the specific areas where the agent is struggling, such as their ability to listen actively or their ability to de-escalate a situation. This information can then be used to develop targeted coaching.

4. Customisable and flexible QA criteria

Modern automated QA is not a case of one-size-fits-all, instead providing complete customisation and adaptability to meet every element of QA criteria, regardless of industry. These platforms are equipped to evaluate against complex requirements, KPIs, and processes and the ability to implement immediate adjustments eliminates the need for prolonged waits usually associated with software fixes.

5. Contextual understanding driven by AI

Automated QA does more than just check for process and compliance breaches. It can decipher emotions, sentiments, and context in every customer interaction. It analyses voice and speech patterns to identify subtle cues that reveal customer satisfaction levels, frustrations and potential issues even if they haven’t been verbally expressed by the customer.

How easy is it to deploy automated QA?

With the right provider, it’s incredibly easy to deploy automated QA. In fact we’re able to get our clients up and running in less than a week. Here’s a quick overview of our solution to demonstrate just how easy it is to work with, even though it delivers incredibly in-depth and actionable insights:

  • Build

First, we design a bespoke system aligned with your KPIs and processes. Then, we help you create scorecards based on the specific keywords and phrases you want to see (or not see). These intelligent scorecards enable you to replicate and scale your manual scorecard process and is based on what you want to monitor. For example, you can set up scorecards that check and score for communication skills, politeness, professionalism, adherence to compliance, and more.

  • Integrate

Our platform ingests up to 100% of your customer interactions. That means phone calls, email, social media, live chat, SMS, website analytics and more.

  • Instant upload

For many clients, as soon as a customer interaction ends, the data is pulled into Awaken and analysed automatically. You can auto-highlight key moments from accurate transcripts and uncover key moments in conversations, such as brand mentions, complaints, fraud detection, reasons for contact – whatever you’re interested in monitoring. Plus, you can search and find key terms and phrases in call transcripts and simply click to listen saving your teams from having to listen through entire calls.

  • Compliance triggers

You can set compliance triggers that notify managers when compliance is at risk or has been breached. For example, say only 7% of agents mentioned the call was being recorded – this immediate feedback enables your team to take swift action.

In-depth analysis and outputs

You can discover what customers think of you and understand why people are calling, fully automating your QA processes. We’ll also get you set up with custom dashboards so you can visualise all this data in a way that makes sense for your business.

As the evolution of contact centre operations continues to evolve, the adoption of automation and AI is no longer a futuristic notion – it’s a necessity. While embracing automated QA may seem like a leap of faith, it’s a leap towards efficiency, accuracy, and empowered QA teams.