If you want to enhance your contact center's customer experience, you are not alone.
93% of executives have made improving the customer experience one of their company’s top priorities. And since 40% of customers prefer a phone call for fixing their complex issues, there’s no doubt that your contact center is at the forefront of customer satisfaction.
Call center quality assurance (QA) can help you improve the efficiency and efficacy of your operations and deliver a top-tier customer experience across every channel. As such, there are few essentials more vital to the success of your call center than quality assurance guidelines.
What are Strategies for Developing Call Center Quality Assurance Guidelines?
Call center QA gathers the fundamental feedback you need to provide the best customer experience possible. It’s an evaluation system based on pre-set criteria that you can use to identify trends, train and motivate agents, and promote high-quality customer service. What's more, strategic QA results in greater agility, improved transparency, reduced operational costs, and better decision-making.
But how do you develop effective quality assurance procedures?
Call center QA guidelines must emphasize the specific actions and overarching approaches your contact center agents should embrace. They should also encompass past behavior and future engagement with customers. Below are some strategies to help you get started.
1. Determine Where You Are Right Now
Before you can develop call center quality assurance guidelines, you need to assess your current state by answering questions like:
- How do your existing customers feel about your service?
- How do your agents feel about their work?
- How do your managers and supervisors measure productivity?
- How does your contact center fare against the competition?
Perform market research and feedback evaluation (from customers, agents, and managers) to gain an understanding of your business’s strengths, shortfalls, and gaps. Use post-call and in-house surveys, evaluation forms, a QA team, and even third-party consultants to evaluate the current state of your contact center. The better understanding you have of your current situation, the easier it will be to figure out how to improve.
2. Set Actionable Metrics
The goal of any contact center QA framework should be to make incremental improvements every day. To do this, you’ll need to identify what needs to be improved and how you will measure that improvement. To start, work with leadership teams to decide on the relevant KPIs and metrics you’ll use to set attainable, measurable goals for your contact center.
Establish call center KPIs that your teams can easily act upon. Metrics such as Net Promoter Score (NPS) and CSAT will help you determine customer satisfaction, while schedule adherence and first contact resolution tie back to overall productivity. To set these actionable metrics, ask yourself:
- How productive and responsive are our agents?
- Is our call center efficient?
- Are my customers satisfied? Why or why not?
- Do all of our agents have the tools and data necessary to perform their jobs?
- Are my agents and managers happy and motivated?
- How financially efficient is my call center?
As you set call center KPIs, remember to account for every channel your customers use to contact you. Your agents interact with customers through email, live chat, SMS, and social media, so your QA framework needs to ensure high-quality customer care on every channel where you operate.
3. Use “Best-in-Class” Benchmarking to Develop Your Call Center Quality Assurance Guidelines
It is one thing to compare your highest performing agents to the average in your call center, but how are you doing compared to other contact centers?
Look at how the “best in class” contact centers perform against external industry benchmarks. Some examples include agent absenteeism and agent attrition as well as:
- Call Abandonment Rate: The average abandonment rate for call centers is 12%.
- Time in Queue: Customers often drop a call within two minutes of being stuck in a queue.
- First Call Resolution: The industry standard FCR rate is between 70% - 75%.
- Average Handling Time: The industry standard AHT is 6 minutes and 3 seconds.
Once you see what other call centers are doing, you can establish quality assurance guidelines for your own business. You should revisit these external benchmarks periodically to help maintain a best-in-class call center as customer needs and industry best practices evolve.
4. Develop a Customizable QA Form to Evaluate Progress
To monitor your contact center daily, we recommend developing a call center quality assurance form that you can use to evaluate your progress based on your business priorities. This form should evaluate:
- Agent soft skills, including professionalism, the ability to gain customer trust, problem-solving, communication, and product knowledge.
- Contact center processes that help agents stay efficient, productive, and process-oriented. Exact processes can vary but typically include using a call center script, updating the CRM, call handling, and compensation.
- Compliance helps your contact center avoid risk and negative regulatory ramifications through credit checks, identification and validation, and handling vulnerable customers.
- Outcomes, which measures the result of each customer interaction to see if your agents are meeting goals. Some outcomes include creating positive experiences, shifting customer mood, and follow-up.
As you roll out your new QA scorecards, you can also let agents review their call recordings and score themselves. Self-scoring familiarizes agents with the call center QA guidelines and makes for very engaged one-on-one reviews down the line. It also helps agents set self-led goals for their daily customer interactions.
5. Engage Call Center Agents in the QA Process
To implement your new call center QA guidelines, look for opportunities to engage call center agents in the process and transition from a “catch them doing something wrong” mentality to one where agent development is central.
Involving your agents in developing a list of QA goals will motivate them to embrace your new framework readily. You also may find that your employees have insights about improvement opportunities that you may have missed. These engaged agents can help your company become 21% more profitable and 17% more productive while reducing their risk of making an error by 60%.
For example, instead of listening to calls and pointing out where they went wrong, supervisors should listen to call recordings with the agent and ask them what they thought worked and what could be improved. This allows the agent to take individual responsibility and ownership of their work.
And keep in mind that, according to a study published in the Journal of Business Research, self-assessments boost the quality of customer service and can increase your NPS by 5%.
Quality Assurance Guidelines Take Work, But They Are Well Worth It
By implementing quality assurance guidelines in your call center, you help your agents take pride in their work. Highly motivated agents are often better at their jobs, stay in their positions longer, and give your customers the service they deserve, producing a better outcome for your call center.
Looking for a more comprehensive guide on how to improve call center quality assurance? Check out our step-by-step guide to defining, measuring, and improving call center QA.