Quality vs quantity: Which is better?
That’s an age-old argument. And it’s different for every industry. Often, you can make a solid argument for both sides.
But, when it comes to call center customer service, there is no argument. In fact, one common metric at a call center is first call resolution, which means you limit the number of interactions with the customer by taking care of the call the first time they call in.
When you work at a call center, the quality of service you provide is extremely important. When you provide poor service at your call center, callers view your company in a negative light. So, you want to have a quality assurance program.
But, what exactly is call center quality assurance? And how do you use it in your call center?
Working for ScreenSteps — a knowledge base software company that supports call centers — I’ve seen the great measures many call centers take to provide a quality experience for their customers.
If you are looking to build a quality assurance program for your call center, here is your quality assurance 101 course. Learn the basics of call center quality assurance (QA), including why it’s important and how to measure the quality of your customer service.
What is quality assurance at a call center?
Call center quality assurance (QA) is how you measure your performance against the standards that your company has set. These standards are determined by your company’s key performance indicators (KPIs). Some QA evaluation expectations are determined by industry standards (such as PCI for credit card safety, etc.).
Generally speaking, it is the standards of excellence that your company is measuring so you can provide the best service and products to your customers. It helps align customer interactions with your company’s business goals.
By monitoring calls, your QA experts can evaluate and assure that your agents’ are fulfilling the best practices determined by your company and the field or industry you are a part of.
What do you monitor with quality assurance?
When you monitor QA in a call center, you are measuring calls for efficiency and effectiveness. Your quality assurance personnel observe agent calls and analyze the quality of the call.
Some of the things the QA experts are analyzing include:
- Includes opening and closing
- Skilled listening
- Express empathy
- Following proper procedures (call flow, call center script, sop, etc.)
- Maintained compliance
- Managed expectations
Why do you need quality assurance?
Quality assurance is essential in your call center. It’s purpose is to help you improve your call center operations all around. It benefits both your employees, your customers, and the business as a whole.
Here are three key ways that having a QA program helps improve your call center’s efficiency and effectiveness:
1. Strengthens your customer support agents
In an ideal world, you call center agents would know exactly how to handle every situation. They would be experts at everything in your call center. But, unfortunately, that isn’t reality.
Your call center agents try their best, but they are only human. They or they were never taught things. A quality assurance program is part of a continuous learning program. It helps call center reps to continue to improve at their job. They learn and grow from feedback that you catch during a QA evaluation.
While feedback can be intimidating, it ultimately helps your agents become better and better at their jobs.
Improves customer experience
As your call center reps get better at their jobs, they are more equipped to take care of your customers. They will better adhere to the call center best practices you’ve taught them. They will know more answers to customer questions. To sum up, call center agents will be better at handling calls.
That increased knowledge and improved performance trickles down to a better caller experience for your customers. Your callers will spend less time on hold, les time on the phone with a rep, and they’ll get their questions resolved the first time they call in.
It’s all because you could help your call center agents grow in the company through evaluations and feedback.
3. Refines your KPIs and processes
Because you are evaluating all of your call center agents, it requires you to have clear KPIs and processes. You can’t evaluate against standards you haven’t set. And you definitely can’t evaluate against contradicting standards in your company.
By having QA assessments, you take a hard look at how your agents are perform. It makes you compare what your agents are doing against your expectations of them.
As you evaluate those points, you are able to refine KPIs and processes. You can update procedures to be clearer. You can avoid confusion.
How do you measure quality assurance?
There are many aspects to a QA evaluation. It’s more than “that sounded or felt right.” Here are three ways to measure your quality assurance.
1. Call metrics
There are a lot (no, seriously, a lot) of call center metrics that you can track. You can measure performance according to the call center as a whole or by individual agent.
Some common metrics to track in a call center include:
- Average Hold Time
- Average handle time
- First Call Resolution
- Call Abandonment Rate
Typically, a good measure of high quality is quick response (aka short hold time) and quick handling time. This is a sign of a call that was efficiently and effectively handled.
2. QA assessment
You can perform quality assurance assessments either with an internal team or a third-party vendor. If you have your internal team, an evaluation can be performed by a team leader or QA specialist.
Typically, the standards are set and your company has a QA scorecard to evaluate performance against predetermined standards. These QA assessments can involve:
- Monitoring calls
- Creating scorecard
- Developing feedback and action plans
3. Customer evaluations
The point of evaluating the quality of your calls is to provide your customers with a better experience. So it only makes sense that customer feedback serves as a way to measure your performance.
Often, call centers will ask callers to take a survey at the end of the call. This is to collect customer insights into how the call center and its agent did during the call.
These surveys are typically performed by a third-party service so that you receive more honest and trusted feedback. A few common call center customer assessments include Net Promoter Scores (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction scores (CSAT).
Help agents provide quality service with a knowledge base
Providing excellent service in your call center takes planning. When your call center agents have call flows, call center scripts, and other support materials, it makes it easier for them to help the callers.
It’s important to have those resources in one centralized location, like a knowledge base.
With a ScreenSteps knowledge base, your call center agents have the answers they need at their fingertips. Using contextual help, your documented call flows pop up on the screen you are working in. They don’t even need to put a caller on hold.
There are a bunch of knowledge base offerings out there. Compare some of the best knoweldge base software services on the market.