“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” —Albert Einstein
Contact centers have to be willing to change and evolve if they want to continue delighting their customers. After all, 45% of customers will never shop with a brand again after two bad service experiences, and 63% of customers fall in love with brands because of great service (Gladly 2021).
So, how do you keep up with these rising expectations in 2021 and beyond? You must evolve your quality assurance (QA) framework in the contact center.
We’ve already discussed moving from an operational QA framework to a tactical QA framework, but now it’s time to shift and examine the requirements for a strategic QA framework.
A strategic framework moves your contact center away from focusing on day-to-day short-term goals to developing overarching, long-term strategies for success. And by doing this, you’ll improve data collection and interpretation to achieve positive results along the way.
What is a Strategic Call Center QA Framework?
To fully understand a strategic call center QA framework, let’s first review the operational and tactical approaches. Many call center processes overlap across these frameworks, so identifying which stages your business is working through will help inform smarter benchmarking and more specific, goal-oriented decision-making.
- Operational QA Framework: This approach focuses on improving the operations and workflows necessary to get the job done daily. QA goals include: measuring QA as part of the daily operation, fulfilling a quota of scores by staff per month, and identifying poor performers.
- Tactical QA Framework: This approach provides a more comprehensive view of the call center and is focused more on medium-termed goals. It uses data and metrics to identify process improvements and collaborate solutions. QA goals include: improving client retention, identifying root causes of poor service, reporting on trends, and reducing staff churn.
To evolve your contact center toward a strategic QA framework, you must look beyond your internal operations and workflows. Instead, you must consider all critical influences—the customer, the client, and the agent—to seamlessly collaborate for success. This means focusing on the long-term impact of your contact center’s actions by analyzing, interpreting, and sharing QA data.
A strategic quality assurance framework in action is focused on:
- Correlating customer sentiment with QA.
- Understanding QA data and results from positions of senior leadership or on the executive board level.
- Evaluating consistent QA as a senior management key performance indicator (KPI).
- Encouraging call center agents to score themselves to raise levels of self-awareness and improve workflow efficiency.
What Are the Benefits of a Strategic QA Framework?
With a strategic QA framework in your contact center, you’ll go from:
scores to behaviors,
telling to learning,
micro-management to mutual respect,
assuming to listening,
and “always the same” to “always evolving."
The result? Happier customers, more engaged employees, and a more efficient contact center—all of which can be excellent for your bottom line. But don’t just take our word for it.
- 68% of consumers say they are willing to pay more for products and services from a brand known for great customer service experiences (HubSpot).
- A customer experience promoter has a lifetime value of 600 to 1,400% greater than that of a detractor (Bain).
- Increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95% (Harvard Business Review).
- Companies with high employee engagement are 21% more profitable (Gallup).
How to Implement a Strategic QA Framework
So now that you understand the strategic QA framework, let’s talk about how to implement it. It’s not as simple as using basic quality assurance scores; you must focus on actionable behaviors. This means measuring and analyzing the right data to deliver business results.
Identify your Current Call Center QA Framework
First, identify which QA framework your contact center currently uses: operational, tactical, strategic, or a mix. Most call centers rarely, if ever, fall exclusively under one framework—there is constant overlap and shifting. So, look carefully at what type of QA data you currently collect, how you do it, and what you use it for.
Then, determine if you’re ready to evolve to the next framework up. That means you have all the processes, tools, and systems in place to handle the adjustment. You also need senior leadership buy-in (we discuss this more later).
Answer 8 Questions About Your Contact Center
Next, start outlining what strategic quality assurance looks like for your contact center. This is highly tailored to your organization, your customers, and your long-term goals. Start by answering eight questions with as much detail as possible.
- Who defines quality: customers, regulators, leadership, advisors, others?
- For which outcomes: performance, compliance, improvement, innovation?
- From what inputs: external surveys, internal surveys, evaluations, self-scoring, analytics?
- What drives quality: processes, systems, needs, or self-managed?
- Who gets involved in QA: leadership, team leaders, QA team members, peers, analysts?
- Why do they get involved: recognition, rewards, career improvement, or belief?
- How is quality improved over time: performance management, coaching, training, best practices?
- What defines success: metrics, behaviors, feedback?
Set Strategic QA Goals
Then, take the answers to those questions from above and decide exactly what strategic goals impact the bigger picture. There are many options, but we’ve outlined four of the most common strategic QA goals below.
- Improve Net Promoter Score (NPS): NPS focuses on how a customer might recommend your call center on a scale of zero to ten. The goal is to create more promoters and fewer passives and detractors—promoters are the only customers likely to spread a good word about your company.
- Increase Customer Loyalty: This metric looks beyond first-time callers and one-off interactions to focus on repeat business. Knowing who your loyal customers are and why they continue to come back is invaluable information.
- Use QA as a Key Differentiator: When you streamline data collection and interpretation, you shift your QA from solely identifying poor performers to a selling point for potential clients.
- Improve the Propensity to Purchase: The end goal should always be to increase sales and thus profits. A strategic approach to QA should examine how your contact center’s operations impact a customer’s propensity to purchase.
Facilitate from the Top-Down
Strategic QA works best when it's implemented from the top-down. Senior leadership (including the C-suite) should work with QA managers and supervisors to influence employee buy-in at all levels. That’s because, many times, key data findings will indicate a need for culture shifts that can be difficult to implement without leadership leading the charge. Top-down strategic QA is required to see the significant revenue growth that’s possible.
Create Call Center Success and Increase ROI by Thinking of Quality Assurance More Strategically
Constant evolution is the future of call center QA. While it is expected that call center leaders may find themselves engaged in different points along the quality assurance journey, to refuse to strategically evolve in this fast-growing industry is a failure. To evolve through operational, tactical, and strategic frameworks is a success.
In the end, your goal should be to think as strategically about your quality assurance as possible. Through this complex data analysis, you’ll bring clarity to your contact center and how it fits into the whole organization. It’s only then that you can truly meet customer satisfaction standards and improve ROI.
Call centers are essential to everything from building brand loyalty to improving efficiency and productivity and facilitating growth. Download the Guide to Understanding Call Center Quality Assurance Frameworks to explore all three call center QA frameworks and learn how to start implementing strategic QA across your call center.