Every customer service contact center has the same message for callers: “For quality and training purposes, this call may be recorded or monitored.” But what does quality monitoring mean for a call center, and how do managers use it to provide the best possible quality service and training for call center agents?
It’s about obtaining an accurate and fair picture of what happens during every interaction between staff and customers. And then, getting to the root causes of how and why the interaction went well or poorly. Only with that data can you adjust your call center processes, training, and practices to provide the highest level of customer satisfaction.
But before we dive into how to create an effective call center quality monitoring program, let’s talk about what call center quality monitoring is, who’s responsible for it, and what it takes.
What is Call Center Quality Assurance Monitoring?
Are your customers happy with your service? Do they feel satisfied after interacting with your agents?
How well are your contact center agents doing their jobs and meeting company goals?
Is your call center efficient, productive, and performing at its peak?
These questions can ONLY be answered with call center quality assurance monitoring. It’s how you review, analyze, and understand your call center operations to improve the effectiveness of all of it. Quality assurance monitoring provides you with concrete data so you can figure out if you’re meeting goals, following correct processes, remaining compliant, and achieving the outcomes you need. It’s about getting feedback on everything that happens within your contact center.
When you correctly set up a call center quality assurance monitoring program, you can use the information you get to:
- Train and motivate agents;
- Identify trends within the contact center;
- Reveal the proficiency or deficiency of agent skills, areas, and processes;
- Promote higher customer satisfaction;
- Enhance the transparency of all actions taken within the contact center.
The key is putting the right people in charge of your quality assurance monitoring program and monitoring the right KPIs.
Who is Responsible for Quality Assurance Monitoring in the Call Center?
So, who is responsible for quality assurance monitoring in the call center? It’s a big job that needs employee engagement at all levels. However, there are two main individuals that are responsible for ensuring a positive experience for every customer: contact center managers and call center QA (quality assurance) specialists. These individuals must scrutinize the call center’s operations—from top to bottom. That attention to detail will help the center meet its goals and can also ensure that the call center remains efficient in order to keep the overall costs low.
Call center quality monitoring can gather a wealth of information ranging from call volume to average call time, hold times, agent absenteeism, and customer satisfaction. However, only a trained professional can listen to every customer interaction to make sure the agent effectively builds rapport with the customer, remains courteous, and delivers positivity during every conversation.
And even though some companies have internal departments that consistently monitor the quality of calls and the agents’ adherence to standards and applicable laws, enlisting third-party help can be critical to delivering consistent results. Third-party quality assurance specialists don’t have the inherent biases that may come with in-house teams. Oftentimes, the outside perspective and skill-set of the third party cannot be attained within the call center itself.
How Do You Monitor Call Center Quality? Tips for Success.
So, once you have the right QA people in place, how do you go about monitoring call center quality? Setting quality standards and quality monitoring customer interactions to make sure your call center’s standards are met is paramount to giving customers a good experience. In general, you should break down your quality monitoring into three sections:
- Business Critical KPIs: Business critical KPIs are concerned with your company’s procedures and how well you’re meeting your goals. These metrics should focus on employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and employee productivity.
- Customer Critical KPIs: Customer critical KPIs focus on the customer experience and how well the agent understood the customer’s problem and provided a solution. This covers issues such as time in queue, average handle time, first contact resolution, addressing customer’s needs, agent flexibility, and the “wow” experience.
- Process Critical KPIs: Process critical KPIs are concerned with agent performance and whether or not your agent met the goals outlined for them. You want to answer how well the agent does their job professionally and with the necessary expertise.
Here are a few more tips to monitor call center quality.
1. Set Your Goals and KPIs
Before you can monitor call center quality, you have to know what is important to your business. Only in this way can you gather the right data and customer service-based metrics.
A few questions to get you started:
- How productive is your call center? Is it efficient?
- Do your agents have all the tools and resources needed to do their jobs?
- How satisfied are your customers?
2. Organize Your Quality Monitoring Data
Next, to make sense of all the quality assurance monitoring data you’re gathering, organize it in an easy-to-use and analyze way. Your goal should be able to spot trends over time and associate data with performance metrics.
Consider organizing by categories and dates. If you can review data based on function, region, department, team, or type of query, it’s easier to see what’s going on. Then, when you organize it by date, you can watch your performance over time.
3. Dig into Root Causes
If you want your call center quality monitoring to result in changes in performance that impact your bottom line, then you need to undergo root cause analysis. This will give insight into what happened in every interaction and why, so you can identify knowledge gaps. In this way, you can change behavior through strategic training.
4. Conduct Real-Time Quality Assurance Monitoring
It’s essential to regularly conduct real-time call center quality monitoring by listening to live calls and watching live chat. By doing this in real-time, you can pinpoint problem areas quickly and immediately adjust agent behavior. This real-time monitoring also helps you identify outside elements—such as new marketing and sales—that could be impacting customer service.
With real-time quality monitoring, you can coach your agents to stop problems before they become rooted into your call center and have to be dug out.
5. Use Call Center Quality Scorecards
Call center quality scorecards, such as Scorebuddy’s self-scorecards, are an effective way to review every call center interaction. They provide your managers and agents with immediate feedback so you can quickly identify problems, monitor quality, and provide effective coaching. The key is to create and use objective, relevant, and fact-focused scorecards.
To create effective call center quality scorecards:
- Decide what KPIs you want to include on your scorecard from the beginning.
- Ask for agent input in terms of what questions should be included.
- Adjust your scorecard parameters as needed to reflect new root causes.
- Collect scorecard data over time to identify trends in strengths, weaknesses, and customer satisfaction.
What to Include in Your Call Center Quality Monitoring Program?
So, now that you know how to monitor call center quality, what should you include in your QA program? Listening to calls to point out problems is just one piece of the QA puzzle. QA in the call center is about consistently gauging customer satisfaction by employees who are good at their jobs and implementing training and coaching to point your agents in the right direction to meet customer and company needs.
Here are a few things to keep in mind for an effective call center quality monitoring program.
1. Omnichannel Quality Monitoring
Today’s customers are not just interested in calling your customer service team. In fact, 22% of customers don’t like talking on the phone at all, but they still need a way to communicate with you. Whether your customers contact you through live chat (which 41% of customers prefer), email, social media, or via a help desk ticket, they deserve the highest satisfaction levels when it comes to customer service. And the only way to make sure they have a seamless experience is through omnichannel call center quality monitoring.
For call centers, omnichannel quality monitoring is an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to quality customer experiences on every channel. What this means is understanding how your customers’ expectations vary depending on the way they connect with you.
For example, when a customer contacts you on live chat, they are looking for an agent response within a few minutes. They also don’t care if they interact with a live agent or a chat bot, as long as their service is fast, effective, and accurate. So a key to quality monitoring for live chat is reviewing how quickly you respond: the average wait time for live chat support is just two minutes and 40 seconds with the average handle time of six minutes and 50 seconds.
On the other hand, email support is less about speed and more about helpful information. You can take up to 24 hours to respond, but your email must be detailed and include links to online information that can be used to fix their problem.
It’s all about personalizing support and building rapport with customers over every interaction, whether it’s a phone call, email, chat, or social media post.
2. Listen to Calls and Review Emails or Chats to Enhance Customer Experience
Companies learn what customers need from their experience with a call center. Some call centers require their agents to use scripts or specific phrases and greetings to build rapport and empathize with customers and give them accurate information. The QA team will listen in to calls, review emails, and analyze chat transcripts to make sure every agent is adhering to standards and brand guidelines.
When it comes to the anatomy of a good customer experience, there are a few things to consider, including:
- Tone of voice
- Active listening
- Talking speed
- Language use
- Effective questioning
- Customer rapport
- Closing/Opening remarks
- Emotional intelligence
- Customer expectation management
The key is to have your quality monitoring team carefully assess agents to identify skill gaps. This can take time, so be prepared to devote attention to uncovering the root causes of each problem, instead of just making assumptions. With tailor-made plans for improvement, your agents will be much better set up for success.
Careful quality monitoring not only helps call centers develop effective and measurable plans for success, it also helps ensure employees adhere to the guidelines in place.
3. Implement Monitoring and Data Analytics Tools Such as Text Analytics
Data analytics, reporting, and quality monitoring tools are essential for a well-run QA program. There’s a reason why 90% of call centers consider data analytics an important function. And text analytics is a particularly valuable quality monitoring tool.
Text analytics software allows you to analyze text and extract insight about sentiment, emotion, customer issues, trends, and key phrases. Using natural language processing and machine learning, it allows you to automatically review every text-based customer interaction (live chat, email, etc.) to get a better idea about the customer experience.
The goal of text analytics is to help you break down important customer information from real text conversations. You can then segment this data to identify customer behavior, build predictive models for successful call center operations, and offer agents real-time conversational guidance. In the simplest terms, text analytics helps you mine text for essential insights and feedback. And when it comes to quality monitoring, it’s essential for measuring and improving customer satisfaction by tracking performance.
Other QA tools you should consider using include analytics and reporting software, speech analytics software, and predictive analytics. Each of these tools is designed to improve the customer experience, enhance productivity, and increase profitability.
4. Create QA Scorecards.
A call scorecard is a list of requirements and standards for every call. It’s kind of like a grading rubric for a college essay. Ideally, managers and QA specialists will collaborate with agents to establish benchmarks and properly create the scorecards (we talked about this earlier).
Customer needs and call center goals change over time, and the scorecard must evolve to ensure the best possible service and help ensure that the call center can meet its goals and objectives. The QA department can help to supervise the scorecard development to make sure they stay in line with company priorities.
5. Provide Agent Feedback and Empower Agents to Take Charge of Their Own Development
Listening to calls and following along with the scorecard is paramount to determining if the agents meet the quality standards set in place. However, the quality department shouldn’t just be an all-knowing overseer of agents. QA should also work with agents to develop plans of action to improve if they fall short in any key areas.
Your call agents are smart and desert to be given the trust and empowerment they need to make improvements in their own performance. This means empowering your agents when it comes to their training plans, performance reviews, agenda/goal setting, and more. When your agents can identify their own strengths and weaknesses, they are more likely to do what’s necessary to fill in the gaps, which is a win-win for everyone.
6. Provide Call Center Compliance
Call centers must protect consumers by following certain rules. For example, financial institutions must also deliver specific information when the law requires it. Also, in some jurisdictions, every customer must be informed that his or her call may be monitored or recorded.
Maintaining compliance standards can be difficult because call centers have a ubiquitous global presence. However, compliance and other guidelines must be followed to the letter in order for the contact center to legally remain open for business.
Quality monitoring in a call center is much more than an overlord cracking a whip on the agents in a call center. Just as the agents must develop a rapport with their customers, QA departments must establish trust and cooperation with managers and agents alike to maintain compliance.
7. Generate Regular QA Reports
A call center quality monitoring program is only as helpful as your ability to evaluate your high-quality customer service. If you can’t quickly and easily identify agent behaviors that need to be addressed and corrected or acknowledge your top performers, then your QA audit isn’t very valuable. That’s why your program should regularly generate evaluation reports.
These quality monitoring reports should allow you to:
- Compare each month and year—for short- and long-term monitoring.
- Keep all of your quality data in one place so you can dig down into specifics in just a few clicks.
- Loop in agents to provide feedback on their performance and engage them in the improvement process.
8. Analyze Quality Monitoring Data.
However, reports are only valuable if you have a good system in place to analyze quality monitoring data. You should be prepared to analyze all data from key performance indicators and scorecards to ensure you don’t miss anything. This is essential in order to make the information useful to managers and their employees.
When it comes to analysis, a good place to start is with categorization. We recommend breaking down your QA data into information based on:
- Product lines
Then, tick quality monitoring items off your checklist as you work through each category. This systematic routine will help you analyze your quality monitoring reports consistently. If the quality department gathers data accurately, it can then effectively use that information as a catalyst for creating important and lasting change.
Just be sure to translate your analysis into plain English for your executive team. They need to be able to understand what you’ve uncovered, including its potential impact, so they can make plans for the future.
9. Implement Agent Training Using an LMS
Finally, quality monitoring and analysis without a plan for making and implementing changes that improve customer satisfaction is useless. That’s why your call center quality monitoring program must include tools to effectively manage, track, and achieve training goals. And that’s where a call center learning management system (LMS) is vital.
An LMS is an all-in-one training solution that automates the training process. It makes it easy to offer advanced learning and development based on the specific training needs revealed in the QA process. It can help you by offering the ability to develop and manage courses, assign agents, streamline class attendance, and scale all of your training.
Scorebuddy’s LMS is a centralized and automated training solution that seamlessly integrates with your quality monitoring program. It helps you go beyond traditional training to curate your call center training based on gaps in agent knowledge, process improvement needs, and more. It’s the best way to educate and certify your call center team based on your QA process.
Call Center Quality Management Software
Anyone can point out issues, but a call center quality monitoring program can go in-depth and make sense of the data it collects and develop tangible strategies and employee education to improve customer satisfaction. It’s also essential to keep your call center staff and management happy. It’s how you stop programs before they hurt the call center’s bottom line, so you make sure it thrives.
The key is to put a system in place—including the appropriate tools and software—to simplify the quality monitoring process. It should be easily scalable and adjustable as needed to reflect the constantly changing needs of your customers and your company. By being as strategic as possible, you can gain a true 360o view of your call center and what it needs to be successful.