8 Tips on How to Maintain Quality Assurance in Your Call Center
What I’m about to tell you is not good running advice. You’ve been warned.
I’m not a fast runner. My running playlist is named “Taking on Turtles” to emphasize that point. But, I’ve found a way to help improve my performance that isn’t recommended in all of those expert runner’s guides.
I start running downhill for a half-mile to a mile. You see, I run fast downhill. My goal is to set a quicker pace and then try to maintain it once the ground flattens out. Is it foolproof? No, but it helps me at the start of my distance runs.
Quality assurance (QA) in a call center is a long-distance run. You want to get your agents to a certain level and try to constantly improve. That’s the purpose of your quality assurance programs. Unfortunately, that takes work that you don’t think you have time for.
Let me assure you, something I’ve learned working for ScreenSteps (a knowledge base company that helps call centers with documentation) is that the QA score is one of the most important metrics in a call center.
Your QA reflects on everything that you do and, most importantly, your customer experiences. So, how do you maintain quality assurance in your call center? Use these eight tips to create a QA plan that works for your call center.
1. Hire someone to own QA
In order to truly get everyone to take quality assurance seriously in your call center, you need to invest in it. That includes hiring a point person to create and oversee your QA program.
QA isn’t something that you do once a year. It is an ongoing process. You need a full-time person to evaluate your agents’ performance. This helps you improve your agents’ performance scores as well as improves the customer experience.
You can either hire a QA point person to work on your internal team or you could hire an external agency to manage your QA for your call center.
2. Have a QA scorecard
Once you have a QA leader in place, you can create a scorecard for your QA program. Your QA scorecard is a rubric to measure your agents’ performance.
On the scorecard, list out all of the best practices and standards you’ve set for your call center. Often, the scorecard is laid out in an order of operations that matches the call flow your agents use. That makes it easier to evaluate as the QA leaders listen to and score the calls.
Each element on your QA scorecard is allotted a different number of points. For example, “Did the agent verify the account?” could be worth more points to emphasize the importance of completing that task properly.
Having a QA scorecard helps you set up and communicate your expectations with leaders and agents.
Invite your agents to contribute to what goes on your scorecard. Your tenured agents have been on the phones for a long time and know some of the best practices for your call center.
3. Use call flows and other procedural guides
Use call flows, checklists, and other procedural guides to make it easier for reps to follow your procedures. Often, all agents need are prompts to help them remember what they need to do or the order in which they need to do it.
When you document your procedures in a way that is easy for agents to follow while they are on a call, it leaves less room for error.
4. Incorporate QA requirements into call flows and procedures
With agents following guides, incorporate the QA standards within the call flows and procedural guides.
If you are using call center scripts or call flows, you can add exact compliance phrases agents are required to say. Or you could add warnings or reminders to help agents avoid making mistakes.
Typically, incorporating QA requirements requires formatting the documents in a way that emphasizes the QA elements. That could be bolded or italics words, highlights or quote boxes, or more formatting options.
5. Have a development plan in place for struggling reps
As much as we wish it would happen, not every one of your agents is going to get a perfect QA score. Some agents will struggle more than others.
No matter the level of the agent, you need a plan to help agents improve. They should always be growing in their call center skills. Develop a continuous learning plan to help agents improve from where they are at.
The continuous learning plan could involve:
- Phone coaching
- Self-paced courses
- Classroom learning
6. Use QA findings to improve documented guides
Don’t just use QA findings to change agent behavior — also use it to improve your knowledge base articles, call flows, etc.
It’s common to use QA evaluation scores and discoveries to create a learning plan that helps agents improve. Which is great! You should use QA scores to help your agents develop their skills. Consequently, this should help your call center’s customer satisfaction scores (CSAT).
Just don’t forget that QA findings can help you identify weaknesses in your documented guides. Maybe you see most agents get tripped up on a specific step in a procedure. You can edit that step or add one to clarify the procedure.
7. Monitor all support channels
In the modern world, call centers are more than a place where customers can call a company. People communicate in a variety of different ways. So, chances are you have a variety of different ways you communicate with your customers.
You should monitor each of those different communication channels you use according to your QA standards and scorecard. Some common channels call centers use include:
- Chat messaging
- Social media
Make a plan for how you will support and evaluate all of these channels so you provide consistent service across your company.
8. Get the right tools
Call centers typically use a lot of different software to manage all of their activities. QA has its own set of tools that make evaluating agents and providing feedback easier.
Also, some tools that help agents do their jobs more effectively and efficiently so that they can earn better QA scores.
Some software tools you may consider to help with maintaining and/or evaluating QA standards include:
- Call recording
- Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
- CRM-integrated QA software
- Knowledge base or other knowledge management system
Improve QA scores by providing call center agents with the resources they need
Quality assurance in a call center is a critical element of the business. Without it, customers are frustrated and dissatisfied. Luckily, there are plenty of tools available to help you maintain QA at your call center.
One tool people often forget about when it comes to QA is a knowledge base. However, it is an essential tool. If agents have quick access and follow the guides, they will be able to follow the guides and make fewer mistakes.
The ScreenSteps knowledge base company has helped multiple call centers reduce the number of mistakes agents make while also decreasing Average Handle Time and increasing CSAT scores. That’s because agents can access support articles in as few as two clicks.
Think a knowledge base could help your call center improve its QA scores? Compare some of the top knowledge base companies in the industry with this list.