Your contact center plays a critical role in the customer experience (CX). It’s a direct connection to your customers. And companies that provide exceptional customer experiences use this trait to differentiate their brand from the competition.
So, how do you provide the best possible customer experience?
A quality assurance (QA) program forms the foundation of exceptional CX by providing concrete data to help you determine if you’re meeting goals, following correct processes, remaining compliant, and achieving the outcomes you need.
But instead of looking at the entire complex QA puzzle today, we’re going to break it down into one essential piece: call quality monitoring. It’s why every customer service center has the same message for callers: “For quality and training purposes, this call may be recorded or monitored.”
So how exactly does call quality monitoring work, why is it important, and what steps should you take to develop effective call quality monitoring?
What is Call Quality Monitoring?
Call quality monitoring is more than just recording and monitoring random calls. To measure call quality, you'll want to monitor and analyze strategic customer service calls and scrutinize their efficiency and effectiveness, with a constant goal of converting every caller into a satisfied customer.
And while customer satisfaction can look different for every contact center, there are a few elements critical to the anatomy of a high-quality customer service call:
- Proper tone of voice
- Skilled listening
- Normal speaking speed
- The right language
- Effective questioning, including the use of open, probing, and closed questions
- Good rapport
- Demonstrated emotional intelligence
- Solid call/chat closeout
- Well-managed customer expectations
- Appropriate use of script
In addition, according to Zendesk’s 2021 Customer Experience Trends Report:
- 73% of customers say quick resolutions are the top factor of good customer service.
- 47% of customers believe 24/7 support is critical.
- 75% of customers want a personalized experience.
- 69% of customers want to resolve as much as possible on their own.
How well all of the above elements work together determines each call's quality. The customer should always hang up feeling positive about their experience. They should have a clear solution, know how to avoid the same issue in the future, and have no further questions.
5 Steps to Effective Call Quality Monitoring Best Practices
There’s no doubt that contact centers must dive deep into every call to gain detailed insight that can be analyzed, interpreted, shared, and acted upon. Only then can the customer experience become the key to your success. But how do you get started?
Let take a look at the five steps it takes to set up effective call quality monitoring in your contact center.
Step 1: Develop a Quality Assurance Team
To begin monitoring call quality, you'll want to develop a quality assurance team. This team—typically made up of your contact center managers, supervisors, and high-performing call center agents—must thoroughly understand your brand of customer service. They'll use insights about your company and your ideal customer experience to set up every aspect of your QA process, including setting your call quality standards.
Step 2: Set Your Call Quality Standards & KPIs
Your quality standards and KPIs are how you will judge the success or failure of every customer call. Without standards, you won't know whether you’re hitting or missing your goals. The key is to break down your customer service into a set of behaviors, rules, goals, and benchmarks that every interaction should meet.
You might look at factors like customer sentiment post-transaction, employee engagement, and product/service efficacy. Your quality standards should also include:
- Business Standards that establish a documented approach to call QA and ensure higher performance. Questions to answer include:
- Did the agent identify the customer correctly, especially if they were a key account?
- Was the call routed to the agent with the right skills, knowledge, and necessary experience?
- Did the call software function as it should?
- Did the agent follow all company procedures while on the call?
- Customer Standards that measure how well the agent understood the customer’s problem and provided a solution. Questions to answer include:
- Were the customer’s needs addressed—even if the customer did not state them?
- Did the agent provide a “wow” experience?
- Did the agent demonstrate empathy and emotional intelligence?
- Did the agent provide additional value through products and services (sales)?
- Process Standards that review what happened after every customer call. Questions to answer include:
- Did the agent gather feedback from the customer on how they perceived the call?
- Did the agent complete a self-scorecard to identify, quantify, and understand how well they handled the call?
- Compliance Standards that outline the rules and regulations necessary to legally remain open for business. Questions to answer include:
- Did the agent meet all compliance standards?
And don’t forget to measure these common KPIs as well!
- Average Handle Time: AHT measures the average amount of time your agents spend to resolve customer service calls. It includes time spent on hold, delays, transfers, and follow-up actions. For best results, combine AHT scores with your customer satisfaction scores to more accurately determine what timing is most effective for helping customers. For example, if ten minutes is considered the average handle time to completely satisfy a customer, a call that’s only two minutes in length may raise a red flag.
- Net Promoter Score: NPS should be at the heart of your contact center QA strategy. It measures how likely your customers are to recommend your brand to their family and friends.
- First Call Resolution Rate: Customers love to have their questions answered the first time around. The lower your FCR rate, the more productive your call center is. The result: higher satisfaction levels.
Step 3: Implement Tools to Help Monitor, Analyze, and Improve
There are many quality monitoring solutions suitable for contact center QA. Here are a few tools that can help you get the most out of your call quality monitoring program:
- Call Recording Software captures 100% of your calls securely and reliably. You’ll be able to filter, search, and playback calls as needed for QA, training, and evaluation purposes.
- QA Self-Scorecards serve as a grading rubric for calls, emails, chats, text messages, and social media. It’s a list of requirements and standards that every customer interaction must achieve to be considered successful. A QA scorecard helps you determine if your agents meet the quality standards set in place.
- Text Analytics allows you to analyze text and extract insight about sentiment, emotion, customer issues, trends, and key phrases. Text analytics helps you break down important customer information from real text conversations.
- Speech Analytics Software reviews every customer conversation automatically and translates it into machine-readable text. Speech analytics uses text analysis and pattern spotting to categorize interactions according to a set of custom rules.
Other QA tools you should consider using include analytics and reporting software, call center script, self-help knowledge base, and predictive analytics. Each of these tools is designed to improve the customer experience, enhance productivity, and increase profitability.
Step 4: Analyze Quality Monitoring and Get to the Root Cause
Now it’s time to analyze the data from your contact center's phone calls. Assess agent performance against your standards and KPIs, then make appropriate adjustments to behaviors as needed. Just be sure your quality standards align with your company’s priorities and thus account for agent behaviors that are essential to success.
Your QA team can help you identify recurring problems or behaviors that have emerged across multiple agents. For example, you might notice creep up on customer hold time or various product issues that require the same problem resolution. It’s essential to determine the reason behind the recurring problem and make appropriate adjustments based on the more complex issue instead of the most obvious.
For instance, instead of telling your agents that they need to pick up phone calls faster, after review, you might discover that customer hold time is increasing because you recently released a new product that’s demanding more customer service. In this case, you could invest in more online customer service tools to support your team's efforts and improve their efficacy.
Important Note: Focus on both the negatives and positives of each of your agents during the call QA review process. It’s this balance of their strengths and weaknesses that will help you make the most improvements and lasting change in your contact center.
Step 5: Implement Agent Training to Improve the Customer Experience
As you review agent calls, you’ll notice agent performance trends and related patterns in customer satisfaction. These insights can help you identify knowledge gaps within your call center so you can provide high-quality training and agent development.
After all, quality monitoring and analysis without a plan for making changes that improve customer satisfaction is useless. Your call quality monitoring program should include tools to help manage, track, and achieve training goals, such as a call center learning management system (LMS).
An LMS is an all-in-one training solution that makes it easier 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.
When done correctly, call quality monitoring—alongside a QA program—provides your team with detailed data insights about your agents and your customers. These insights help you optimize your contact center's financial ROI by finding and fixing broken processes, revealing areas for improvement, and directly influencing management’s decisions regarding customer service.
And the results of successful call quality monitoring and exceptional customer experiences speak for themselves:
- In 2020, 60% of U.S. customers did more business with companies that provided good customer service.
- 77% of customers say they’re more loyal to businesses that offer top-notch service.
- 50% of customers will take their business elsewhere after just one bad experience.
- Companies that excel at the customer experience drive revenues 4% to 8% higher.
Investing in call quality assurance will ensure your business doesn't just survive, but it thrives!
Interested in learning more?
Download the eBook, The Ultimate Guide To Call Center Quality Assurance, for tangible recommendations around implementing Quality Assurance (QA) guidelines in your call center.