Rebecca Lane

By: Rebecca Lane on July 15th, 2022

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9 Best Practices for Improving Quality Assurance in Your Call Center

I’m a wannabe guitar player. In that, I mean I can play the eight basic chords on a guitar and sometimes I’ll surprise myself by remembering another one.

While my repertoire is not wide, there is something about playing guitar that I am well versed in — you need to have your strings tuned perfectly or your notes don’t sound right. Even if the note is slightly off, the quality of the sound is sacrificed.

The same thing happens in your call center. You are fine-tuning your policies and procedures and how they are executed by evaluating your agents’ performance. That’s what quality assurance does in a call center.

Working for ScreenSteps — a knowledge base software company that helps call centers guide agents through calls without making mistakes — I’ve talked to many customers who came to ScreenSteps trying to fine-tune their procedures.

They do this so their customers would have a better experience interacting with their companies. Through this, I’ve learned some common areas to tweak in call centers so that things run smoother.

Quality assurance (QA) is an essential program in helping your call center put its best foot forward. If you’re looking to create or improve your call center QA scores, use these nine best practices to get your customer service team on track.

1. Appoint someone over QA

Chances are since you are reading this article, you are that appointed person over quality assurance. However, if you are just starting your QA program at your call center, then you are going to want to appoint someone to oversee QA.

Often, these QA leaders are called QA analysts, quality assurance managers, or QA evaluators.

You can have a whole team of QA auditors or evaluators. Whether it is one person or a larger team, you’ll still want to designate one person over QA who is regularly auditing calls and analyzing agent performance.

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2. Have clear standards for QA

What is an agent expected to do on a call? What standards will their performance be measured against?

You need to set clear expectations for your call center agents and leaders if you want to achieve certain QA standards and scores. These standards should be communicated in a variety of different ways, including:

3. Create job aids for call center agents

One common mistake in call centers is that a QA evaluator will have a vague outline of what the quality of a call is supposed to be. They have a checklist of items they are evaluating (see #6 about QA scorecards below). That in itself isn’t a mistake.

The mistake is that the call center reps don’t have job aids to help them achieve everything on that checklist. Take your job aids that have vague standards and turn them into actionable items.

Some different resources you’ll want to create to help agents improve their QA scores include:

In those resources, you can leave out the soft skills you are evaluating with QA. But DO INCLUDE QA standards that take action like “confirm their information first.”

If you are not the knowledge manager or the person in charge of creating help guides, work closely with the knowledge base manager. Together you can ensure there are no QA gaps in the resources you provide in your knowledge management system.

Start by writing an intake call flow

Don’t know where to start with creating QA resources? Start by writing an intake call flow or script.

The intake flow is where you are going to have a lot of the quality components, especially if you are in the financial, medical, or other industries with high compliance standards. An intake script is something agents can follow on every call and has quality standards baked into it.

4. Make resources accessible for call center agents

How will your call center agents access your job aids?

Make sure your resources are easy for your call center agents to access. Your reps should be able to use your resources while they are on a call with a customer. That means your standards need to be skimmable and actionable.

You’ll want a centralized hub for all of your resources. That way your agents know exactly where to find the help guides they need. If agents can access these step-by-step instructions quickly, they will make fewer mistakes and better adhere to your QA standards.

Different cloud-based software services that provide your call center with a one-stop shop for your call flows, SOPs, and other resources. Some options include:

5. Monitor all channels

If you want to maintain quality assurance in your call center, you can’t focus on one channel and ignore the others. You have to provide the same quality of service across all of your channels.

Evaluate and monitor your omnichannel communication. Beyond phone calls, this can include chat messaging, email, SMS, social media, or other communication services you use to support your customers.

When you evaluate all of your channels, it helps you keep customer service consistent.

6. Create a QA scorecard

This goes back to best practice #2 above. Create a QA scorecard that you use to assess calls and other omnichannel interactions.

Many call centers create a Quality Standards Definition Document (QSDD), which clearly defined the standards by which a call center is evaluating its service.

The QA scorecard helps define what you are evaluating and track agent performance and progress.

You create a performance rubric to measure the performance of your agents. This helps expose your agents’ strengths and weaknesses so that you can provide constructive feedback to your agents.

Some of the actions, behaviors, and skills you can track on your QA scorecard include:

  • Did they greet the customer?
  • Did they verify who they were talking to and if they are authorized on the account?
  • Are they expressing empathy?
  • Did to follow the procedure?
  • Were they active listeners?
  • Did they invite the caller to take the after-call survey?
  • Did they do all the after-call tasks?

You can assign each section of your QA scorecard a different weight to prioritize certain skills or actions.

7. Develop a plan to help underperforming agents improve

As you evaluate calls, you will have underperforming people. Part of the purpose of QA scores is to provide your call center reps with feedback.

Create a development plan to help agents who aren’t passing your QA assessments. How can you help them be successful? What do they need to change to receive a higher QA score the next time they are evaluated?

Your development plan could include one-on-one phone coaching, additional in-class training courses, self-paced training courses, or other continuous learning opportunities.

Choose a QA evaluation schedule and stick to it. QA evaluations should be ongoing. Reviews with your team and agents should have a consistent frequency to set expectations. This will help provide your agents and teams with regular feedback to help them improve.

8. Identify common errors and provide learning opportunities

As you perform QA evaluations, you will recognize patterns. Maybe there are specific procedures agents trip up on or maybe your agents are missing the soft skill of expressing empathy.

If multiple agents are making the same mistake, then consider putting together a training. This could be something as simple as a lunch-and-learn or more formal training. Or maybe it is as simple as sending an announcement via email.

Decide what needs to improve and how you will measure your agent’s or team’s progress.

It’s important to provide continuous learning opportunities for your agents. This helps them elevate their performance over time. Training isn’t a one-and-done activity. It is ongoing. Some continuous learning activities include:

Alternatively, if there is a pattern that a large group of agents is struggling with a particular procedure, that could mean your documented procedure is unclear or has outdated information in it. Work with your knowledge manager to update or clarify the procedure.

Don’t forget to give positive feedback

QA isn’t just about finding mistakes or other negative behavior. You also want to emphasize the positive. Point out positive feedback during your QA evaluations.

9. Use tools to track performance

There are a lot of software applications that help you track and analyze QA in your call center. Some of these different tools are:

  • Automatic call recording
  • Call and speech analytics
  • Performance metrics tracking
  • Automated surveys
  • Call screen pop-ups

There are also software tools that aid your QA applications. These tools help improve agent performance. As a result of improved performance, these tools help your agents and teams achieve higher QA scores. Some agent performance tools are:

  • CRM-integrated software
  • Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
  • Employee enablement software
  • Knowledge management software (i.e. call script software, document library, knowledge base, Wiki, etc.)

Enable agents to increase their QA scores by providing them answers at their fingertips

Quality assurance is essential at a call center. Call center agents have multiple tasks they need to do at one time and each step of the process is critical to providing excellent customer service.

If you want to improve QA scores, you need to enable your call center agents. Knowledge base software helps your agents have quick access to all the answers they need at their fingertips.

With a ScreenSteps knowledge base, your agents can follow step-by-step call flows and procedures. The interactive guides walk them through decision trees so they don’t miss steps, avoid mistakes, and provide customers with a positive call experience.

A ScreenSteps knowledge base is easy to use. Agents don’t need to put callers on hold to find the answers they need. They can find the information they need in as few as two clicks.

Of course, there are many knowledge base software options out there. If you want to help your agents become more self-reliant and confident, check out this list of the best knowledge base software services.

See Best Knowledge Base Companies

About Rebecca Lane

Content Marketing Manager