How to set up a quality assurance framework for your call center
Call centers help shape customers’ overall opinions of your business and are critical for customer retention. In fact, 93% of consumers are more likely to make repeat purchases at companies with excellent customer service. That’s why quality assurance (QA) is a non-negotiable if you want to avoid losing loyal customers. This is where creating a call center quality assurance framework comes into play.
How do you approach measuring something as complex as QA? If someone asked you to go measure your couch, you would probably pick up a ruler, tape measurer, or another tool, and you could easily give the couch’s dimensions. You were able to collect the data because you had the right tool and knowledge to do it.
The same applies to quality assurance in a call center — you can’t measure it without the right tools and knowledge. This is why it’s critical to implement, and consistently re-evaluate your QA framework.
In this article, you’ll learn about developing and evolving your quality assurance framework throughout the life of the contact center.
What is a call center quality assurance framework?
A call center quality assurance framework includes metrics and a set of criteria for success that you use to manage and measure your service quality. The framework guides your quality monitoring for your call center and how you analyze the results.
A QA framework helps you clearly define your key performance indicators (KPIs). The framework aids in identifying your goals as well as mapping out how to strategically reach them. Think of the framework as a guide to help show you where your call center is headed and how to get there.
With the right QA framework in place, you give everyone working in your customer service team the opportunity to succeed. They know the guidelines and standards they will be measured by, so they can constantly work to improve.
Here are some questions to keep in mind when developing your QA framework:
- What data do you need to measure?
- How to monitor your agents’ communications?
- How to evaluate communications?
- How to score agents’ interactions with customers?
- How will you analyze the data after collection?
- How to use your analysis to implement improvements?
What are 3 types of quality assurance frameworks?
There are three types of quality assurance frameworks; operational, tactical, and strategic. You can change and develop frameworks as your organization grows and matures. To figure out how to get to the next level, you first need to identify where your customer service team is currently.
Here’s what you need to know about these three types of frameworks:
Operational call center quality assurance framework
An operational QA framework is the starting point for virtually all call centers. This type of framework supports the core processes and workflows at the heart of your call center. Think of this as creating the building blocks of daily operations for your team.
This type of framework will help create an efficient, customer-centric QA strategy and includes:
- Measuring QA daily
- Identifying poor performers using QA data
- Setting monthly score quotas for call center agents
- Conducting monthly evaluations
While you have to start somewhere with a QA framework, this one is less than ideal because it’s difficult to turn metrics from the data you’re collecting into actionable insights.
Call centers that use operational frameworks may not have the resources or time to fully analyze the data they collect to improve. This results in less meaningful QA with plenty of missed growth opportunities. As a call center evolves, a tactical QA framework can help give better customer insights.
Tactical call center quality assurance framework
As your call center scales and evolves, the QA framework should evolve too. To go beyond daily customer service goals and set tailored, medium-term goals, adopt a tactical QA framework.
This type of framework is more flexible and allows you to modify your QA processes based on the data you gather.
A tactical call center QA framework involves:
- Identifying the cause of low KPIs
- Figuring out which processes and workflows need adjustment
- Improving customer retention
- Reducing agent turnover by investing both money and time in training
- Deducing performance trends from data over time
Gathering this type of data will help you provide a higher quality of service, rather than simply consistent customer service. A tactical framework will give you more insight than an operational framework, however, your end game should be a strategic QA framework.
Strategic call center quality assurance framework
To set up a strategic QA framework you’ll need to structure your call center in a way that allows you to analyze, interpret, and share data about your business’s strategic goals and objectives.
Some elements of a strategic QA framework are:
- Increasing customer loyalty long-term
- Examining the impact of customer service on sales to increase revenue
- Boosting your net promoter score (NPS) by understanding how customer sentiment, customer service, and QA intersect
The quality assurance focus in a strategic QA framework is on actionable behaviors rather than basic scores. This type of framework allows mutual respect and understanding between management and agents where they evolve together. Your call center needs to understand and master operational and tactical QA frameworks before moving on to implement this framework.
Tips to create a quality assurance framework
First, be clear about what quality standards you want to uphold. When setting these standards, remember that they are fluid; they will change as your business changes and grows. There is no need to set your standards in stone right now; simply write them down and start using them, and then adjust them as needed.
Second, write down the policy on how you will handle unhappy customers. This policy could involve anything from offering a refund or replacement to filing an official complaint. Whatever it is, make sure that every employee knows how complaints should be handled in every situation.
Third, make sure every employee knows how to handle angry customers. Some people may use colorful language or become aggressive when they are upset about something – this is understandable, but it is also important for your employees to remain professional in all situations.
The ideal type of quality assurance framework for your call center will depend on how evolved your business is and how much time, money, and resources you put toward QA. Here are some more tips for creating a useful framework, no matter which part of your framework journey you’re on.
Choose metrics to measure agents against
Figure out which metrics mean the most to your business and will help you move the QA needle.
There are a number of KPIs you can use to measure QA. Here are 4 essential metrics your customer service team should be looking into:
- Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
- Return Contact Rate (RCR)
- Negative Response Rate (NRR)
- First Contact Resolution (FCR)
Decide how to monitor, measure, and analyze metrics
Collecting and analyzing QA data used to be a complicated process made up of spreadsheets and tedious number crunching. Luckily, these days are mostly gone thanks to the introduction of integrated customer service QA software.
QA software for your call center can streamline the process by proactively monitoring, measuring, and analyzing your team’s performance for you, directly from your CRM data.
Use data you’ve collected to improve customer interactions
After you’ve chosen metrics and collected your data, you need to put it to good use.
For example, once you’ve collected your customer satisfaction scores (CSAT) you can use this data to identify where the gaps in training are. This can help develop customized coaching sessions and strategies to help agents better resolve their specific performance shortfalls.
Overcoming call center challenges with a quality assurance framework
A QA framework is critical to tackling the challenges of call center quality assurance. Here are a few examples of the QA obstacles you may face in your call center and how to overcome them.
Large amounts of data and methods to collect it
There are many methods to collect data and massive amounts of data you can collect — chats alone will give you a ton of data to go through. This makes the process confusing without a framework in place. By creating a quality framework you’ll know which data you’re collecting, why you’re collecting it, and how you’re going to use it to make improvements.
Lack of resources
Few call centers have the resources to devote to proper QA. It requires skills, time, and technology to implement quality assurance. With Kaizo, you can save time and resources by boosting the efficiency of your QA process (among all other customer support operations)immediately. With Kaizo’s integrated- software you can say goodbye to complicated spreadsheets and improve your service quality by 11% after 3 months.
Lack of actionable insights
It’s easy to get bogged down in the data collected during QA, making it difficult to create improvements that management and agents can implement. With a framework in place, you’ll have a game plan for analyzing the data you’ve collected so you can take action to improve.
How to evolve your quality assurance framework so it’s more strategic
Evolving from operational to tactical, and finally, to a strategic QA framework takes time, effort, and resources. Most call centers will begin with an operational QA framework that helps meet operational goals, offers consistent service, and improves workflows.
But as the organization grows, the framework will need to change to get the most insights and actionable improvements. To begin thinking more strategically as your framework matures, here are some tips:
Strategic call center quality assurance best practices
- Focus on behaviors rather than scores
- Don’t get too comfortable. Constantly look for ways to improve your QA process
- Get to a place of mutual respect with agents instead of micro-managing them
- Listen to your agents instead of assuming why they aren’t scoring as high as they could
- Teach agents what to do instead of telling them what to do
Want to get started with a call center quality assurance program?
If you don’t have a framework in place to ensure quality, you can’t guarantee that your customers will be satisfied. The need for quality assurance is especially critical in the call center industry, where we must not only deliver excellence on every call, but also provide a seamless experience across multiple channels and platforms. As you seek to improve your operations, it’s important to develop a quality assurance process that goes beyond just checking the number of calls answered or average wait times—you need to compile data that tells a complete story about the customer experience.
It’s true that starting or improving the quality of your call center can be a tricky task. However, with a personalized QA framework and optimized QA software, the process is a lot easier.
Kaizo helps customer service teams of all sizes improve the efficiency and service quality of their customer experience and customer support operations. Find out how Marley Spoon scaled and improved its QA programs, while Endclothing built their best customer support team ever with Kaizo.