Contact Center Quality Assurance

A Crash Course on Quality Assurance: Take a Fresh Look at your Call Center Quality Assurance Program

Managing the quality of your contact center is foundational to your job description. You want your customers to leave every interaction feeling satisfied. And you want them to share their good experience with their friends. You want to cut down the time your customers wait to get a problem resolved. Even better, you want agents who come to work ready and passionate to help people. These are the reasons why you built all those processes, track those key performance indicators, and implemented software.

It’s no secret that the phone is the most frustrating customer service channel by U.S. internet users. And, it’s certainly no surprise that 47 percent of consumers have jumped ship from one company to another because of a poor customer experience. So, setting and sharing clear expectations and measuring agent performance is foundational to a successful QA program in you contact center.  This provides a basis of criteria to evaluate your agents, so they know exactly how they are being measured.

To keep up with the expectations of your customers and manage new hires, your QA system needs to progress. If you take a look at the average agent scorecard, you’ll notice that very little of the criteria really matters to a customer.

When a scorecard is too heavily weighted in internal processes, you’ll see a disparity in QA scores and your CSAT scores. How do you manage and track your contact center’s quality in a way that’s mutually beneficial to you, your agents, and your customers?

Let’s take some steps back and re-evaluate how to build and improve your QA program.

Defining Quality for your Contact Center

The word quality is ambiguous. Quality means different things to different people. And it means something different in every industry. Quality in a health care center or in a restaurant looks different from what’s expected in a contact center. So, before jumping into specifics about your QA program, define what quality means to you and your contact center agents.

Then, detail the objectives you want to achieve through your QA Program. These objectives will be used to evaluate your agents and how you’re tracking towards your contact center goals, so think specific!

Your QA program should evaluate quality on behalf of your customers, your company, and your employees. So, evaluate and define your version of quality with all three categories in mind. It’s helpful to involve each group of people in the process, so you can get more feedback on what matters most. Discuss with key stakeholders and company leaders. Involve agents in calibration sessions, so they can craft standards that are realistic and motivating to them. And, pay attention to your customers’ expectations to see what your customers want.

Establish a foundation and a philosophy for your team, so you know how and why you need to do routine quality checks. Defining your standards sets the stage for your program.

Determine your Criteria for Quality

Evaluate quality from the perspective of your contact center and from the perspective of your customers.

Determine what quality looks like for each of your channels. What makes a phone call successful is different than what makes an email interaction successful. KPIs provide benchmarks for measuring quality both internally and on behalf of your customers. Choose KPIs that are important to the level of service you want to deliver. How will you measure customer satisfaction? Will you pay attention to average handle time? Or first contact resolution? What matters in the eyes of your customers?

You may think keeping AHT low is important to the customer, but in reality, a hasty phone call can lead to a dissatisfied customer whose problem gets magnified through the interaction. Take time to uncover what’s important to your customers. You’ll need to do a little detective work and analyze call transcriptions, recordings, and customer surveys.

Take advantage of your contact center platform and review reports and interactions to find actionable data. Start by pulling the recordings and transcripts for 10 phone calls with high CSAT scores. Review those calls, and try to uncover what aspect of the interactions positively influenced the rating. Next, pull 10 phone calls with low CSAT scores, and do the same as above. But this time, try to figure out what negatively influenced the rating.

Compare the two lists and determine what matters most to your customers. For example, if both high and low CSAT calls have low AHT, then you can conclude that AHT is not a determining factor of quality. But, if low AHT occurs more in calls with high CSAT, it may be an indication that your customers consider call length a determining factor of quality service.

With a little research, you can narrow down what your program’s QA scorecard will look like.

Building a Scorecard

With your standards defined and your measurements selected, prioritize your version of quality by building out a scorecard for your agents. When your agents have a set of guidelines to follow, CSAT increases.

With clear criteria and a dose of empowerment, your customers can say almost anything, and your agents will still know how to deliver top-notch service. Assure your agents that if they work toward a good scorecard, they don’t need to feel anxious about the outcome. Then, it will be easier for you to pinpoint where your agents need more coaching and training to make for a successful, effective contact center.

Your scorecards help you grade agents on their skills and behaviors, so you and your agents can both see where to improve.

With Sharpen, you can customize your scorecards and keep them in the same platform as your reports and transcripts. Check it out here!

Testing your Scorecard

Show the scorecard to your team and get their feedback. This helps to boost their buy-in into the new QA Program since they helped design it. It also promotes a sense of collective responsibility for its success, and the success of your contact center.

Before you unleash a newly-built agent scorecard, be sure to test it. Testing is crucial because while your scorecard may seem brilliantly constructed, criteria might miss the mark when you apply it. Are your calculations adding up properly? Do the KPIs make sense for your team? Testing allows you to find the missing spices in case some key ingredients get lost during preparation.

Enlist all your team members to take part, so you have multiple viewpoints to shape the final product. Listen to your agents’ input on the functionality and accuracy of the scorecard. Ensure that every agent understands how they’re being scored and what criteria they need to meet. Regularly remind your existing agents about meeting expectations outlined in their scorecard. And, train new hires extensively on the program so they know what they will be measured on right off the bat.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to refine and adapt your QA program. While you coach your agents through their scorecards, you might notice new trends in customer expectations or see that some metrics aren’t getting you where you need to be. As your company changes and customer expectations change, the definitions of high-quality service in your contact center will need to shift — as will your QA program.

Customer service and contact center work has a huge impact on customer experience and your customers’ satisfaction. To make sure you’re always delivering top-quality service, build a QA program to keep your contact center in check.

Designing and implementing a new QA scorecard helps you achieve company goals and ensure that agents and managers are working effectively, are engaged in the work they’re doing, and are empowered to deliver incredible service.

Want to evaluate your agents’ holistic experience beyond the metrics that live on a scorecard? Check out our blog on the Agent Experience Score!