What is Call Centre Quality Assurance?

Author: Wil Sokanovic | Date: 29/04/2022

Creating your own QA framework

Call centres tend to be customers’ first human touchpoint with a brand, and if this experience isn’t up to scratch, you could lose valuable customers — with 58% of consumers admitting they would switch companies due to poor customer service.1

Moreover, organisations that provide excellent customer service are more likely to attract and retain loyal customers:

  • High-quality customer service increases the chances of repeat purchases2 
  • 77% of consumers are likely to recommend a company to their friends after a positive experience3

In short, exceptional customer service can translate to a competitive advantage for your business. But that doesn’t happen by chance. To deliver a consistent service at a high level, you need to implement a quality assurance (QA) framework.

Today, we’re going to delve into the call centre quality assurance process and look at how you can implement a QA framework in your call or contact centre.

Suggested reading: You can learn more about transforming call and contact centre outcomes in our free eBook — Your Contact Centre Could Operate Better. A Lot Better

What is a call centre quality assurance framework?

A contact centre QA framework provides critical metrics and success factors that help you measure, review and improve customer service. Your QA framework acts as a guideline of excellence, empowering people to understand what ‘great’ looks like and how to achieve it. 

Based on tangible key performance indicators (KPIs) that stakeholders can easily understand, your framework should also use data and feedback from customers to drive continuous improvement.

There are a variety of things you need to consider at the outset of your QA journey, including:

  • What data should I measure?
  • How will we monitor our agents’ communications?
  • What tools will we use to analyse communications data?
  • What does ‘good’ customer service look like?
  • How will we assess the sentiment of our customers as they engage with us? 
  • How will we turn our data insights into actionable improvements?

One thing that these questions make very clear is that the right digital tools are central to a great QA framework. In the time-pressed call centre environment, it’s impossible to manually review all agent-customer conversations and provide feedback. 

Instead, managers and team leaders need an analytical solution that listens and reviews conversations, generating insights that can easily be compared against predefined metrics. 

The importance of Quality Assurance in call centres

QA can inject new life into your call centre. By enhancing your approach to performance management, you can finally unleash the potential of your employees and boost customer satisfaction. 

Some of the additional benefits of implementing a QA framework include:

  • Harnessing the power of data to gain a deeper understanding of your people’s performance and improve it
  • Increasing operational efficiency through internal process improvements
  • Elevating customer experience at a strategic level

The three types of quality assurance framework

There are three primary levels of quality assurance framework within call centres. These are:

  1. Operational 
  2. Tactical 
  3. Strategic

More often than not, organisations will start at the operational level, which lays the groundwork for the tactical and strategic frameworks. As you develop, you can progress through to the strategic framework.

Let’s take a look at each of these frameworks in detail.

1. Operational QA framework

The operational QA framework is like ‘level one’ — the first step on the quality assurance ladder. It involves creating a baseline, customer-centric QA strategy, whereby your call centre can:

  • Evaluate QA through defined metrics on a daily basis
  • Identify and monitor low performers using this data
  • Create monthly KPIs that your agents are expected to reach
  • Hold monthly evaluation meetings to discuss these KPIs

Implementing an operational QA framework helps employees understand what is required of them. However, this framework is inherently focused on short-term processes and often fails to look at the bigger picture — when you only analyse data at monthly intervals, you end up focusing on short-term issues rather than deeper trends.

2. Tactical QA framework

A tactical QA framework enables you to set and achieve medium-term goals. While an operational framework is focused on consistency, a tactical framework empowers you to focus on improvement. 

This is less rigid than an operational framework, allowing you to adapt and evolve your QA processes based on the data and insights you gather, whereby you: 

  • Make an effort to understand the underlying root cause of poor performances
  • Modify workflows and processes based on data analysis
  • Improve customer loyalty
  • Improve agent performance through personalised training 
  • Gain a deeper understanding of performance trends over time

Furthermore, by utilising conversational analytics in your call centre operations, you can start to see patterns emerge that highlight the strengths and weaknesses of your approach to customer service. This data will help you to identify process improvements that elevate your customer service levels at scale. 

3. Strategic QA framework

This final QA framework works to align your call centre operations with your company’s broader vision, and benefits significantly from the utilisation of cutting-edge call centre technology. 

Where once you had a sea of unstructured customer data, the latest call software can provide access to an intuitive interface that enables you to see the big picture, facilitating analysis, interpretation and sharing of data around strategic goals and objectives. 

With this framework in place, you can:

  • Increase customer loyalty over the long-term
  • Gain visibility into the impact that customer service levels have on sales and revenue
  • Enhance your net promoter score (NPS) by understanding how customer sentiment, customer service, and QA intersect

A strategic QA framework is the holy grail for call centres, enabling you to garner actionable insights from your data collection. Innovative call centre technology can deliver this by bringing together conversational analytics, call centre scripting tools, agent guidance data and analysis of phone system performance and web analytics. 

Done well, this can give you an unparalleled level of visibility into the customer experience, helping you to drive positive change throughout your operations.

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How to start building your QA framework

Every call centre is unique. Your approach to QA will depend on your budget, resources, culture and operational goals. However, there are some best practices that all companies should follow to guarantee the delivery of a successful QA framework.

Identify metrics and KPIs

To deliver excellent customer service, you need to know what it looks like. This is where effectively utilising KPIs becomes crucial. You should share KPIs across your team and explain why they matter, so everyone understands what is expected of them.

There are several useful KPIs for QA. Here are some of the most common:

  1. Quality Scores
  2. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
  3. First Call Resolution (FCR)
  4. Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  5. Agent Satisfaction (ASAT)
  6. Average Handling Time (AHT)

Keeping track of KPIs manually is tricky, but the right call centre software platform can provide access to unique QA scorecards for every agent. These QA scores should combine critical KPIs to give you a granular overview of performance, helping to identify areas for improvement where agents could benefit from additional coaching sessions. 

Pinpoint your areas of focus 

The metrics you choose will vary depending on what you want to achieve through the QA. That’s why you will need to look at the big picture and identify the key focus of your operation.

For example, what is it you’re looking to improve? Is it: 

  • Sales
  • Service
  • Support
  • Or something else

Set objectives

Next, you need to determine your specific objectives and define how your quality assurance programme will help you to meet these goals.

Things you should consider are:

  1. Are your customers satisfied with the service they receive?
  2. Are call centre agents performing at their best?
  3. Is your call centre of strategic value to the organisation as a whole?

From there, you can gather insights about how your customers and agents are feeling and use this to identify where improvements need to be made.

Other best practices

QA is a well-trodden path, meaning there are a number of things you can learn from organisations that have started the journey before you. Consider these useful best practices as you build your QA framework:

  • Use a specialist platform: QA doesn’t have to be a complex undertaking. With the help of comprehensive software platforms, you can automate the data analytics process and generate useful insights in real-time.
  • Keep stakeholders involved: If you present your colleagues with a sudden onslaught of new rules, they may feel slightly reluctant to follow them blindly. On the other hand, if you involve your people in creating a QA programme, they will understand QA more and, therefore, be more likely to follow new procedures.
  • Complement your framework with customer surveys: Customer surveys are a quick and easy way to get real-time feedback to improve quality management procedures.

Take QA to the next level with Awaken

With the right software solutions and technology in place, you can demystify the QA process and start incorporating the power of data insights into your processes and workflows.

At Awaken, we believe customers deserve a frictionless experience, whether they reach you by live chat, telephone, email or social media. We also believe that technology provides the answer. That’s why our solutions are designed to help call centre agents reach their full potential.

By working with us, you can quickly climb the QA ladder — moving rapidly from operational to tactical and ultimately onto the strategic level. At the same time, you’ll be able to:

  • Help your agents to progress in their careers
  • Improve customer loyalty
  • Contribute to your business’s strategic mission

Book a demo with us today if you’d like to see for yourself how Awaken can revolutionise your contact centre quality monitoring and ensure consistently excellent customer service outcomes.

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