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What is the purpose of quality assurance in a call center?

Purpose of call center QA

If you’re focused on improving the quality of your customer service, you have probably looked at setting up a Quality Assurance (QA) process and investigating the purpose of quality assurance in a call center.

Kaizo is in the business of designing customer service software. That means we talk to people on the ground. The ones making the calls, and managing multiple teams at once. We want to know what hurts their workflow and the strategies they’ve tried that genuinely help. 

What we’ve found is that our sharpest clients have to do QA. High-performing support departments use quality assurance to not only clarify goals but to ensure they are met. You see, like throwing a stone in the water, implementing quality assurance can be just the thing your teams need to make waves in your industry.

This article will explain the importance and purpose of quality assurance. Keep reading to learn more about how QA can make a difference in your call center or customer service department.

The importance of call center quality assurance

Call center quality assurance is the process of monitoring and analyzing your service team’s customer conversations. QA and team leads use QA software to easily assess these conversations against quality criteria. This ensures your teams are achieving their goals and your customers’ expectations. 

The overall purpose of a good call center QA process is to pinpoint performance problems, coach effectively, and improve quality standards. 

8 reasons quality assurance is essential for every customer service team

From operational efficiency to customer retention, an effective QA framework is important both internally and externally. Here are 8 reasons you need quality assurance in your call center customer service team.

Clarifying the big picture

Quality assurance really starts with the Head of Support. 

She is responsible for the big picture. What support channels will service customers best?  Should we see agents as ambassadors for company standards and values? What do agents struggle with during service interactions?

A well-designed QA roadmap is what determines how you implement Quality Assurance across the board. This means when your Head of Support shares which values customer support should represent – team leads can get to work. 

With the company’s service culture decided, the rest of the quality assurance planning begins. Build custom criteria, set QA benchmarks, and tweak coaching programs from weekly insights.

Consistent service quality

Big-name brands have support centers all over the world. This is how our favorite shops can deliver superb service across time zones and in multiple languages. 

Customers love receiving service that matches their needs but this stretch to attend to an intentional customer base can create some operational challenges.

Maintaining a consistent quality of service across your entire organization is one of the greatest challenges for customer service teams. Especially those in contact centers.

This can be for a number of reasons, such as:

  • Offices are located in multiple locations
  • Lack of communication between office managers
  • Language/cultural miscommunications
  • Absence of uniform quality criteria

Inconsistencies in your service are not only operationally inefficient but can also be detrimental to your customer’s experience. Agents can easily lose touch with the personality, tone of voice, and branding of your business.

Setting up a QA process establishes one clear standard of service across all of your customer service teams. It allows you to decide on the quality criteria every customer conversation is measured against.

By clearly communicating those standards, you provide guidelines and targets for what it means to provide quality service. This clarity will help your team improve their performance whilst also providing a consistent, on-brand customer experience across the board.

Pinpointing performance outliers

Like any issue, improving your team’s performance is made easier when you know exactly which areas they need help developing. An effective QA process analyzes the performance of every individual agent.

Identifying improvement areas is done by using a QA criteria checklist to analyze your team’s customer interactions. The more specific your criteria, the more granular and customized your feedback and coaching will be.

Here are some of the items you can analyze your agent’s performance on:

  • Solution
  • Empathy/Tone
  • Efficiency

Perhaps an agent’s tone was great. However, they neglected to educate the customer on how to be self-reliant in finding an answer. Maybe they solved the customer’s issue quickly, but their tone wasn’t friendly and they forgot the welcome greeting.

Using a detailed criteria checklist will allow you to create individual performance improvement plans (PIP). This will ensure each agent’s service quality is well-rounded.

Orderly data collection and actionable reports

Quality assurance is a systematic process for reviewing your agents’ service delivery. From a data perspective, having a quality assurance process that includes an orderly, documented, and  automated QA process is the best way to ensure your data insights are creditable. 

Any team lead or QA analyst will tell you the headache of cleaning data. You see, many call centers perform QA. QA is, in fact, an industry standard. However, what makes a QA process truly impactful is how you set up your QA data journey.

QA processes with multi-step roadmaps are orderly and easily replicable. Tools like QA Scorecards can be a huge benefit, especially for large-scale call centers with 50+ agents.

With easy-to-read QA reports, team leads can work together to identify the quality violations that are actually impacting KPIs. 

Then, when managers have completed their comprehensive overviews, they can strategize how to boost call center QA for all! 

Orderly QA habits also benefit centers on the accuracy of agent evaluation. This way you can see the ebbs and flows of an agent’s individual performance. QA leads who craft their agent’s historical QA scores and, most importantly, take the time to share these trends can help agents see a single event towards a greater story about their ways of working.

When QA ratings are completed on a regular basis, with at least 10% of all Tickets Handled being reviewed – you can achieve a statistically relevant understanding of the quality of service in your call center. 

Improving coaching efficiency

Now that you have extensive data on each of your agents’ performance quality, it’s time to put it to use. The purpose of pinpointing performance weaknesses with QA is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your feedback and coaching.

Imagine managing a team of 50 agents, in which each team member has differing strengths and areas needing improvement. Holding a group quality training session on a certain topic will only be applicable for some agents and irrelevant for others. 

For example, you hold a group coaching session on the topic of tone of voice. While some of your agents will benefit from the lessons, others may already be experts on the topic. 

However, by using performance data from your QA program, you will know exactly who needs to improve and where. This can either be 1:1 or done by segmenting your team into certain workshops based on quality trends.

Through the effective use of your QA data, you can even connect your agents with opposing strengths and weaknesses. This will allow them to help each other improve. 

Empowering agents to improve their own quality

Quality assurance in a call center is often misconceived as a function solely for middle management. One of its greatest purposes is to empower agents to improve their own service quality.

As more teams adopt a bottom-up approach to customer service, the transparency of performance data is becoming increasingly common.

If you keep agents in the dark about their performance, how can you expect them to be motivated to improve?

We don’t encourage sharing performance data with agents without reason. Sharing data provides a literal baseline for agents to understand the reality of their performance. Combining the data with clear achievement goals can help keep the agent’s eyes on the prize. Meanwhile, you can organize missions for your agents to improve specific skills, one at a time. Leveling up in this way creates everyday opportunities to take on challenges and celebrate success.

A QA program that provides agents access to real-time performance data heightens their sense of ownership of their work. It’s no secret that a heightened sense of ownership often leads to higher engagement, motivation, and performance in the workplace.

Boosting customer loyalty and retention

For many of your customers, your call center will be the first time they get to talk to your organization directly. 

It’s true first impression is incredibly important. But what about the second, third, or even tenth impression?  One bad interaction and 86% of buyers say they would not do business with a company again. Get it right enough times in a row and the script is flipped. 78% of customers would forgive a company for its mistake after receiving excellent service.

So, if “how do we build a loyal customer base” is the question, QA is the answer.

One of the biggest reasons for customers to go to a competitor is bad customer service. According to a report by Forbes, “brands are failing to create the positive, emotional experiences that drive customer loyalty”.

Utilizing quality assurance in your team helps ensure that your customer’s experience is beyond satisfactory each time. Maintaining a consistently high level of service is a surefire way to keep customers coming back.  

Building healthy agent experiences

Having a QA process builds a team’s capacity to level up their skills. Being a QA data-driven call center means you can calculate relevant trends and identify repeating mistakes. We know QA can drive numbers but did you know it can boost your empathy for agents?

For example, your agent handled 40% more tickets than usual this week – That’s great! Except, you also see that their quality is way lower than normal. Grammar mistakes everywhere and missing procedural steps. Why was she in such a hurry? 

Now that you have a reason to take action, you can set up an improvement plan, including 1:1 sessions, feedback, training, and continuous QA rating. But first things first. Talk to your agent. Are they burnt out? Do they have to be somewhere for their family? 

QA processes can be the engine behind a healthy workplace culture. When 1:1 sessions are made a priority, agents get the support they need. Taking the time to connect with agents is key to building a good agent experience and consistent service quality.

The best way to improve your customer service

If you weren’t convinced before, we hope you are now. 

Simply put, quality assurance is the best way to improve your customer service.

Maintaining or improving the quality of your customer service can be a difficult task. However, a well-thought-out QA process and the right integrated software can make it a lot less challenging.

Kaizo’s QA features can help streamline your quality assurance process and manage everything in one place. We design our solutions to create visibility for every step in the customer service chain of command. 

With Kaizo:

  • Agents are motivated agents with data transparency and gamified missions that integrate seamlessly into their workflow. 
  • Team leads feel in control of their operations and connected to their team. 
  • QA specialists are organized and able to create data-driven improvement plans
  • Top managers have consistent real-time access to QA insights to inform their strategic plans 

If you’re in the market for a performance management solution, check out more information on how to pick the perfect call center QA software.

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