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25 tips for optimizing your contact center's QA practices


The Team at CallMiner

June 10, 2021

Contact center QA
Contact center QA

Quality assurance is integral to the sustained growth of any contact center.

As contact centers around the world handle ever greater numbers of consumer conversations and questions, the need for established standards and processes agents can use to guide their actions grows. Quality assurance does more than ensure regulatory compliance, it keeps contact center staff grounded in producing the best possible outcomes for customers who need them.

Leveraging quality assurance best practices and striving for continuous improvements in quality monitoring enriches the entire organization and can even inform larger business decisions.

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To get started with optimizing your contact center's quality assurance practices, it helps to have a checklist handy. The following should set you off in the right direction:

Implementing a Contact Center QA Checklist

A general checklist for improving quality assurance at your contact center could look like this:

  • Choose appropriate data to measure.
  • Determine how communication will be monitored.
  • Set goals for analytics and KPIs.
  • Define action steps for improvements derived from quality insights.

However, jumping in with just the above in mind could cause you to miss out on major details a focused framework can provide you with.

Plotting out the steps your contact center needs to take to keep quality consistent across all touchpoints is a complex feat, but not overly so once you have determined which QA framework suits your needs best. Three common frameworks exist and they each apply to specific goals.

  • Tactical QA: A tactical approach to QA centers around self-assessment.
  • Operational QA: Operational QA deals mostly with efficiency and consistency.
  • Strategic QA: This final QA framework marries the two approaches above and refocuses your center's efforts on understanding the impact of procedural changes and emerging trends in performance.

Creating your own framework that goes even further than the ones above is also possible, but it helps to fall back on these at first. Keep reading for tips on how you can apply such call center QA frameworks right now.

Tips for a Strategic QA Framework

1. Leverage speech analytics software for valuable QA insights. “QA metrics can be a challenging beast to tackle, especially when it comes to tracking them. Luckily, technology is working to make this challenge easier, with robust interaction analytics software.

“This kind of software is designed specifically for contact centers, and allows you to establish parameters for data collectionsource from any types of data (ex. emails, chat, audio calls, surveys, CMS messages, etc.), auto-analyze these interactions for established metrics, and then provide multichannel analysis with immediate insight into your data.” - Robert Stanley, What are QA Metrics? Examples of QA Metrics for Call Centers, Aligning Metrics with Your Goals, and Best Practices, CallMiner; Twitter: @CallMiner

2. Get the entire organization involved in the process. "Build processes and systems to share information across the business: Share Voice of the Customer feedback with other departments." - Top 20 Call Center Quality Assurance Best Practices, BPA Quality; Twitter: @BPAQuality

3. Consider how QA affects employee morale. "Did you know that a well-employed QA program can be a great source of pride and motivation for both the company and its employees? When your call center agents know what to do to contribute to the company’s success because they are well trained, employee morale is bound to improve." - Call Center Quality Assurance: The Secret Recipe for Success, Call Criteria; Twitter: @callcriteria

4. Allow agents to try new things and find out what works best. "Solely relying on a QA scorecard can lead to adverse outcomes for customer interaction. A QA scorecard should only be used to assist with achieving a minimum standard of call. All team members should be encouraged to go above and beyond in delivering a positive customer experience even if that directly contradicts a scorecard." - Erick Brent Francisco, Call Center Quality Assurance (QA), SafetyCulture; Twitter: @iAuditorbySC

5. QA should become a part of every facet of the contact center. "Quality can’t be an afterthought and has to be ‘baked in’ to the process. I think that this needs to be one of the key shifts in training development and coaching. We need to make quality a part of the design process, the training process and the way we do things." - Two Trends in Quality Assurance- What’s Ahead for Call Center QA, The Taylor Reach Group Inc.; Twitter: @taylor_reach

6. Assess agent behaviors by relative impact on your organization. "Not all performance metrics are relevant to an organization. For example, an outbound call center will look more into an agent’s persuasiveness while an inbound call center will look into an agent’s product knowledge or problem resolution ability. The aim is to measure what has the highest impact on the organization." - Amit Kachhawa, Functions & Tasks of a QA Team in the Call Center, Etech; Twitter: @EtechGS

7. Engage your agents with your QA strategy for continuous improvement over the long term. "Quality assurance (QA) is a high-value application for contact centers, particularly when combined with a methodical process that continuously measures operational and organizational effectiveness. Impactful QA programs actively engage their agents at all stages of the program, including development, roll-out, calibration, and continuous improvement." - Lauren Maschio, 15 Best Practices for Quality Assurance in the Contact Center, ICMI; Twitter: @CallCenterICMI

8. Use QA to gain customers’ trust. "All in all, a quality assurance system is meant to increase customers’ confidence and a company’s credibility while improving work processes and efficiency." - Malcolm Rogers, Tips To Consider Before Outsourcing Quality Assurance to Call Centers, Tweak Your Biz; Twitter: @TweakYourBiz

9. Bolster quality assurance improvements through targeted training. "To ensure agents understand quality policies, provide training for new recruits and existing agents. Explain the aims of the quality program, and run sessions to demonstrate techniques for improving quality during calls. Provide individual coaching to new hires or agents unable to meet the standards." - Ian Linton, How to Implement an Effective Call Center Quality Assurance Program, Bizfluent

10. Start with a good script and build it into your QA strategy. "Make sure that you are working with a solid call center script and presentation before you create the telemarketing quality assurance guidelines. Listen in to calls beforehand and get feedback from the agents and the supervisors.  Make sure that you are paying close attention to the program as a whole." - Heather Dubas, Telemarketing Quality Assurance: Lessons Learned, Quality Contact Solutions

11. Make your QA monitoring process more transparent. "Try monitoring right next to the agent, in a process called ‘side jacking.’ This allows for immediate feedback to an agent right after a call is completed. Because the agent remembers the call, it is easy to explain the high points and opportunities for adjustment, and then you are right there to listen to a few more calls to ensure the agent understood and modified their process appropriately." - How to Leverage Quality Assurance Programs to Improve Your Customer Service Call Center, The Connection; Twitter: @TheConnectionCC

Tips for a Tactical QA Framework

12. Look to agents for critical insights. "Your top agents can provide valuable insight and feedback on the quality assurance process. Their experience dealing with customers makes them a prime resource for rewriting scripts that will resonate.

“They can also help your team leaders and managers get a better understanding of how your quality assurance framework impacts them day-to-day. Better still, they can offer up ways to improve the framework!" - Jacinda Santora, 4 Best Practices for Call Center QA to Optimize Customer Experience, Voxjar

13. Align improvement efforts with a predefined vision for your center's future. "Before you rush into analyzing your call center interactions you should have a clear vision of what you want your customer service to look like. Some companies aim to provide a high level of support to all users across all platforms, while others put their focus on specific customers or channels. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the latter ones are lazy or doing it wrong." - Merit Valdsalu, Call Center Quality Assurance: Guidelines, Klaus; Twitter: @klausapp

14. Keep tangible goals in view at all times. "First, you need to evaluate which areas of your call center need improvement. What standard do you hope to reach? Without a clear idea of what you want, you cannot hope for an effective quality-monitoring strategy. Think in terms of what you should START, STOP, and CONTINUE doing." - Lola Barbier, Call Center Quality Assurance 15 Best Practices to Boost Customer Service, Aircall; Twitter: @aircall

15. Treat QA as an internal assessment. "Regardless of the metrics used or the person who conducts the QA evaluation, what remains clear is that a contact center employee is judging the customer’s experience, not the customer." - Quality Assurance Call Center Best Practice, SQM Group; Twitter: @sqmgroup_

16. Keep agents motivated by highlighting the positives. "Don’t make QA and agent feedback all about the negative. Put your greatest hits on display. Share positive feedback. Reward all your agents for contributing to your call center’s quality assurance process." - 8 Ways to Improve call Center Quality Assurance, LeadDesk; Twitter: @leaddesk

17. Don't forget to assess your assessments. "While company management may do their best to evaluate each individual without bias, there are questions that surround this. Are there really no biases coming into play when that manager has certainly built relationships with their employees, for better or worse? Does the manager have time to really put in the effort to do that type of analysis on all employees? And is there a documented way that is consistently used to evaluate each employee’s performance?" - Call Center Performance Evaluation Best Practices, Call Center QA; Twitter: @CallCenterAQorg

18. Make sure QA is a means and not an end. "One of the potential issues with quality assurance is that it can become the sole purpose of processes. QA should never be the end goal; it should be inherent in processes to ensure the outcome is positive." - What Is QA and Why Is It Important in a Call Center Environment?, Ameridial; Twitter: @ameridial

Tips for an Operational QA Framework

19. Address technological constraints. "Few contact centers have the data collection technology, skills, and time required to dedicate to managing contact center performance and quality. In fact, for 37% of companies, lack of time to collect and analyze data is the biggest struggle when it comes to QA." - Dick Bourke, How to Create a QA Framework for Your Call Center, Customer Think; Twitter: @customerthink

20. Go for quality as much as quantity. "The more the calls, the better for your business. But don’t emphasize a lot on quantity as it can deviate the agents from focusing on quality and the overall customer experience." - Chanchal, Call Center Quality Assurance: The Ultimate Guide, Software Suggest; Twitter: @SoftwareSuggest

21. Unify omnichannel data for better applicability. "A more personalized approach to service can help customers feel valued by the company, rather than just another faceless drone. Unifying customer data pulled from multiple touch points (phone calls, live chat, email) equips agents with key information during interactions, and minimizes the need for customers to keep explaining their history or details." - Why is Quality Assurance Important in a Call Center?, Playvox; Twitter: @playvoxcx

22. Improve test quality to improve performance insights. "QA testing is often resource intensive and inefficient. In fact, most contact centers suffer from poor testing coverage, long test cycles and marginal test quality. Companies have an opportunity to improve efficiency and reduce costs by aligning proper QA testing processes and resources." - Hammer On-Demand QA Testing, Empirix; Twitter: @Empirix

23. Make regulatory compliance a priority through effective QA. "Call center quality assurance programs play a vital role in ensuring compliance with regulatory frameworks concerning data security and customer privacy. Through call monitoring and training, companies can ensure that call center agents are adhering to scripts and protocols that are in compliance with a variety of regulations." - What is quality assurance in a call center?, Spectrum Enterprise; Twitter: @SpectrumEntUS

24. Take the time to thoroughly document your QA approach for best results. "Documenting your QA guidelines helps ensure all your agents are on the same page. Another benefit of documentation is that it improves transparency and clearly outlines what is expected from each call." - khoshant, 10 Best Practices for Call Center Quality Assurance, CallHippo; Twitter: @CallHippo

25. Make an effective schedule and stick to it for consistent improvement. "Stick to your QA schedule. Daily, weekly, and monthly quality assurance are helpful in establishing regular, positive interactions between your agents and customers." - Best Practices for Call Center Quality Assurance, TeleDirect; Twitter: @Tele_Direct

Contact Center Operations EMEA North America Quality Monitoring Speech & Conversation Analytics