Customers have so many choices available to them and can easily switch to another company, leaving businesses and brand relationships vulnerable. And because the call center is a pivotal point of contact, the weight of customer relationships often rests on its shoulders. That’s why call center quality assurance is a must in today’s customer experience-focused culture.
Every call center interaction is critical. Agents are responsible not only for resolving the customers’ concerns but also for securing the relationship moving forward. But what happens when customer feedback isn’t as positive as it needs to be? Often it falls on agent performance.
Fortunately, there are many opportunities to implement call center quality assurance processes to improve agent performance and overall customer satisfaction.
Why Call Center Quality Assurance is Important to Your Bottom Line
Call center quality assurance offers an endless number of benefits. It is essential if you want your call center to reach its full potential. And it is especially important for the customer experience, which 4 out of 5 customers say is more important than your products. After all today’s customers are smarter, more skeptical, and have higher expectations than ever before.
According to one study, when your call center agents were able to reflect on their performance through the QA process, they increased first response time by 4.4%; they reduced language complexity; they have more stable interactions, and are able to gain better control over their communication with customers.
On top of that, call center QA is how you:
- keep up with customer expectations
- improve operational efficiency
- increase employee satisfaction,
- improve call center employee performance,
- increase profit margins.
So, the only question is, “How do you improve call center agent performance through quality assurance?” The answer: agent scorecards.
How to Improve Call Center Agent Performance with Agent Scorecards
Tracking call center performance using agent scorecard data is the first step toward identifying and altering problematic performance. The great part is that agent scorecards are completely customizable to your quality assurance needs, which means you can track the exact channels, best practices, compliance requirements, and outcomes that matter most to your call center.
The key is to build your call center quality assurance process and agent scorecards around your business priorities and what constitutes a good customer experience. There are four essential areas that must be included in your call center QA and on your agent scorecards:
- Soft Skills: The critical skills that your agents need to be successful, including communication, professionalism, problem-solving, ability to gain trust, product knowledge, and emotional intelligence.
- Processes: What are the correct processes that your agents should follow in the call center to handle customers, deal with sales, and more?
- Compliance: How are your agents following all of your compliance procedures in regards to credit card information, credit checks, handling vulnerable customers, and identification.
- Outcomes: How well is your call center achieving its goals; remaining compliant, earning high CSAT and NPS scores, and resolving customer complaints.
The good news is that there are MANY ways to set up your agent scorecards to accomplish your call center quality assurance. You can choose the format that works best for you—traditional numeric, non-numeric, and success-based—and even change it up to evoke different reactions in your agents.
And best yet, using call center scorecards, agents can see that any reviews of their performance are fact-based from predetermined criteria. This reduces the subjectivity of any performance issues and ensures that agents don’t feel as if they’re being singled out for poor performance or are being punished for not working to capacity all the time.
10 Tips to Improve Call Center Performance with Quality Assurance and Agent Scorecards
No matter how you set up your agent scorecards to track quality assurance in the call center, as long as it fits your needs and expectations, it will be successful. But if you want to make sure you get the most out of your QA process and have the best chance of improving your call center’s performance, here are 10 tips to help you out.
Tip 1: Develop Clear QA Guidelines
Your call center quality assurance process should be completely customized to your company’s needs. To do this, you’ll need to develop quality guidelines and questions that are extremely clear and well written. Your agents need to know exactly what is expected of them before they can self-score and take steps for improvement.
Questions that need to be answered, include:
- Who defines quality (customers, regulators, leadership)?
- For which outcomes (performance, compliance, improvement, innovation)?
- From what inputs (surveys, evaluations, analytics, self-scoring)?
- What drives quality (processes, systems, needs, self-managed)?
- Who gets involved (leadership, QA team, analysts, agents)?
- Why get involved (recognition, reward, career benefits)?
- How is quality improved (performance management, coaching, training)?
- What is success (metrics, behaviors, feedback, NPS)?
The more open and transparent you can be about how the QA process is measured, what is expected, and the consequences of both good and bad results, the better. This creates an environment where agents are encouraged to follow your process and develop action plans for their personal improvement.
Tip 2: Create Actionable Call Center Agent Scorecards
Creating actionable scorecards will help agents and managers objectively evaluate agent performance on an ongoing basis. It’s important to design the scorecards for relevance and then collect and analyze the data that results from customer interactions. Here are a few questions to help get you started creating holistic scorecards based on your agent’s needs and goals.
- What are you trying to assess?
- What behaviors lead to a successful call outcome?
- Do you have specific weaknesses to highlight?
- Are you trying to understand gaps in agent training?
Try to be as specific as possible when designing scorecards so you’ll have better data to work with.
Tip 3: Track the Right Call Center Quality Assurance Metrics
Based on your quality assurance guidelines and actionable scorecards, you’ll want to figure out the critical call center and customer experience metrics (KPIs) to track. Measuring the right call center quality assurance metrics is essential to improving employee performance.
Ask yourself: What are the behaviors and content of a successful interaction where the customer leaves feeling satisfied? What does the business need in terms of regulatory or process adherence? What are the characteristics that reflect the brand?
Then, break down your KPIs into three sections:
- Business Critical Metrics deal with the development of a documented approach to QA and customer experience, ensuring higher performance and continuous improvement.
- Customer Critical Metrics focus on customer experience and how well the agent understood the customer’s problem and provided a solution.
- Process Critical Metrics review what happened after every customer interaction and offer detailed notes in the CRM.
Tip 4: Analyze Your QA Data to Identify Areas for Improvement
Based on your scorecard parameters, you should soon see actionable data that will help with gap analysis and further agent training. If collected properly, data will help your management team and quality assurance specialists identify agent strengths and weaknesses. This information can then be shared with agents to both facilitate improvements as well as recognize achievements.
Tip 5: Include Your Agents in the Call center Quality Assurance Process
A proven way to reduce negative attitudes towards agent scorecards and the entire QA process is to include your agents from the outset. When your call center agents have the opportunity to contribute, they are more inclined to understand and to buy into your quality assurance standards, performing accordingly.
Empowered agents are also more inclined to participate in monitoring when they have had the opportunity to participate in setting the criteria to be evaluated. And by giving them the option and ability to evaluate their own performance, they are more invested in the outcomes, which offers long-lasting benefits.
Tip 6: Get Customer Feedback, Too
If possible, you’ll also want to include customers in the call center quality assurance discussion. They’ll give you feedback that provides a much better view of the center’s activity. Through NPS and CSAT scores, listening to calls, as well as customer surveys, you can gather appropriate information that could help the brand overall.
Tip 7: Train Your Agents Based on Call Center Quality Assurance Insight
If you want good outcomes from your quality assurance, the key is to create your agent training program around gaps in performance and knowledge. Using agent scorecards and call center quality assurance, you can identify strengths and weaknesses within the call center as a whole, and for individual agents. From there, you can start training agents, develop training goals, and develop milestones for success.
High-quality call center agent training results in:
- Attracting more talented agents,
- Reducing employee turnover,
- Increasing employee satisfaction,
- Encouraging agent career growth,
- And improving profit margins by as much as 24%.
Tip 8: Establish Rewards for High-Performing Agents
Identifying deficiencies should not be the only role of your call center quality assurance process. Your agent scorecards should also allow you to highlight and reward agents who are great at doing their jobs.
You’ll want to recognize good work both privately and publicly. The key is to make sure the feedback is always balanced between positive and negative. To do this:
- Be specific about both their accomplishments and areas for improvement.
- Share feedback immediately and often, so it feels authentic.
- Don’t just recognize good work verbally; offer bonuses, gifts, and raises.
- Find even little things to point out for a job well done.
Tip 9: Track Remote Call Center Agent Performance
In this day and age, remote call centers are common. And even if you have a central call center, there will come a point where one or more agents will work remotely. Your QA process needs to be prepared to handle a call center that resides in the cloud.
The key to improving call center agent performance in a remote situation is to have the right tools for success. You’ll want to ensure that your remote agents are set up with collaboration tools, productivity tracking, and quality assurance monitoring. Only with all of this together can you create an environment where you can fully keep track of your agents and provide interactive coaching.
Tip 10: Continually Monitor and Adjust the QA Process
A call center is a dynamic organization with many opportunities for growth and change. This makes it critical to be vigilant in monitoring your quality assurance and scorecard criteria and adjusting when appropriate. The sooner relevant revisions are made, the sooner agent behavior modifications can occur and customer satisfaction can be cemented. Scorecard designs and weightings should be questioned and reviewed regularly.
Implement Call Center Quality Assurance That Works!
Scorebuddy is an all-in-one call center monitoring platform that is customizable to your business’ specific needs. You can set up agent scorecards to track processes, compliance, and how well you’re meeting desired outcomes. You can evaluate calls, review emails, monitor chat, check social media, and more. Scorebuddy can then help dig deep to identify training gaps, carry out root-cause analysis, and reveal agent successes.
And with Scorebuddy’s new LMS alongside our rich library of curated content inside the Scorebuddy Academy, call center training has never been easier. It is the first of its kind, fully integrated contact center quality, customer sentiment, and learning & development suite.