A call center manager has a range of responsibilities. One of the most important is call center quality assurance. This involves making sure that your agents adhere to quality standards in all their customer interactions. Your agents are often the first point of contact with your company’s customers — and, as the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, right?
Delivering quality rests on having a well-defined call center quality assurance process in place. That process includes using best practices to teach your agents what quality means, how quality impacts the customer experience, and what quality looks like in the context of customer service. Providing teams with the right technology to measure the quality of their work is also a must for helping them meet the quality goals you set for them (and they hopefully set for themselves proactively, too).
Below, we define call center quality management and then explore how to improve the call center quality management process. We’ll also look at what benefits your business can realize when your agents consistently hit the mark on delivering high-quality service to your customers.
Call center quality management (QM) is the process of planning, deploying, and maintaining standards of excellence in a call center environment. Tactical elements of call center quality management include call center quality assurance, which is focused on agent performance, and quality control, which focuses on preventing or minimizing errors.
Some organizations are so invested in call center quality management and moving the needle ever-higher on quality service that they hire a call center quality manager to oversee the process.
Your team of agents in the contact center is on the front line of interacting with customers. Many of these customers reach out to the company because they have a problem or are otherwise unhappy about a product or service. As such, the quality of agent-customer interactions can have a direct and significant impact on customer satisfaction and retention.
Call center efficiency is a critical element in agents’ ability to deliver a quality experience. In highly efficient call centers, agents have the time and tools to focus on addressing customers’ issues and adding a personal touch to interactions. Call center managers and call center quality managers in these environments also have access to resources, like AI-powered coaching tools, that they can use every day to help agents elevate their performance.
If you’re thinking about implementing or improving a call center quality management process in your contact center, here are five steps you can take:
Call center quality assurance hinges on setting clear objectives for your quality management process from the outset. As a starting point, you might want to survey management and call center employees for their input before solidifying the plan. Some measurable objectives for your team might be increasing the number of first call resolutions (FCRs) or reducing the average handle time (AHT) for calls. (More detail about these metrics and others are provided later in this post.)
Be sure to communicate your core goals to upper management as well as downstream to your agents to ensure buy-in and get everyone focused on realizing the same goals.
Call center managers should think beyond traditional monitoring practices, such as sampling calls, if they want to succeed at helping their teams deliver quality customer service. A more holistic picture of performance is required to ensure effective call center quality management.
Invoca’s automated call quality assurance lets you develop that full picture by providing objective scores for every call into the call center in real time. Managers can focus on problem calls and deliver timely and appropriate training to agents. And agents can review scores and call transcripts immediately after each call, so they can make their own adjustments on the fly and deliver higher-quality performances in future customer conversations.
Carrots always work better than sticks. So, part of your call center quality management program should be incentives for agents whose scores consistently demonstrate that they understand the QA program’s goals and how to deliver a superior customer experience.
Invoca’s objective scoring can help spark friendly competition among your agents. You might consider adopting a scoreboard strategy to create an informal game between agents where they can earn rewards. Agents who need more guidance can benefit from the teaching moments a gamified learning process can provide.
Good coaching is critical to quality management in any contact center. And coaching to develop agent skills is much easier for managers today thanks to AI-powered technology designed to support call center environments and enhance team performance.
For example, Invoca’s in-platform coaching features allow managers to maintain ongoing agent coaching by inserting coaching tips and feedback directly into every call transcript. This helps agents understand exactly where they’re falling off track in the conversation or precisely how to change their tactics to step up quality. Managers can also call out when and where individual agents are excelling in providing quality service and support so that the rest of the team can learn from these top performers.
Continuous monitoring of all customer conversations in the call center will help you provide effective quality management and drive your team to deliver superior customer experiences. Conversation intelligence software from Invoca can help with this process by recording every call and analyzing speech to provide a complete picture of your agents’ efforts and outcomes.
We’ve talked a lot about how technology can enhance quality management in a call center. Now, let’s take a closer look at call center quality management software solutions that you can deploy to make your job as a call center manager — aka the driver of quality — much easier.
Invoca’s automated call recording and conversation intelligence software records and transcribes every call, making them fully available to managers right after a call ends. So, you can review transcripts and highlight coaching pointers directly in the text to help put agents on track for improvement right away.
Invoca conversation intelligence can help you quickly identify keywords and phrases in your agents’ calls, allowing you to efficiently detect patterns that result in actionable data for driving improvement.
Invoca’s Signal AI automates conversation review at scale by locating keywords and phrases in every call, categorizing them, and displaying results in an easy-to-use dashboard. All these actions help to free up valuable time for call center managers so they can focus more on call center quality management.
Automation and AI allow managers to get insight into, and evaluate, every call made to the call center faster. Invoca’s automated QA features include immediate automated call scoring to keep agents’ on track with conversations and give managers efficient tools to monitor quality assurance.
Invoca seamlessly integrates with Salesforce and other leading customer relationship management (CRM) solutions to ensure that data insights on each caller can be logged into their CRM profile automatically. This helps agents handle more calls by reducing the after-call work agents need to spend logging information into the CRM.
An effective program supported with call center quality management software can deliver significant benefits to improving the performance of a contact center operation. Here are just some examples:
The use of automation and AI technology in a quality management program speeds data collection and analysis, giving managers greater insights into data in real time. Agents and managers can use those insights to quickly pivot or make subtle adjustments to call strategies to enable better outcomes.
A key objective of effective quality management is to vastly improve the customer experience. A focus on quality management in the call center results in better-trained agents who have the right tools at their fingertips to deliver quality service to every customer.
Quality customer service leads to happier customers — and that helps to boost customer retention. (And upper management will certainly appreciate any reduction in customer acquisition costs.)
A good quality management program helps employees as much as it does customers. Employees who feel supported in their work and have access to an array of leading-edge tools and best practices will be more confident on the job and have higher morale.
Happier workers are usually motivated to work even harder for the organization, which can positively impact the company’s bottom line. Call center agents are likely to be more productive and able to drive greater results when they understand expectations around quality management in the call center, and how management is helping them to deliver quality.
So, what key performance indicators (KPIs) can you use to measure call center quality assurance? There are many to choose from, but to deliver a complete picture of performance, call center managers and call center quality managers alike will want to use a mix of quantitative and qualitative metrics.
Here are some commonly used KPIs for measuring and evaluating call center performance:
Average handle time is calculated by measuring an agents’ total talk time (first call and any follow-ups) and customer on-hold time divided by the number of calls handled by the agent. While AHT is an important metric, bear in mind that it doesn’t measure quality, since a short AHT can also indicate an agent is rushing calls, not resolving them.
Improving the first call resolution metric is the goal of any customer service call center. By resolving a customer’s issue in the very first call (which isn’t easy!), there’s no need for a follow-up call. That gives the call center team more time to focus on more customers — and on delivering quality, of course.
A CSAT is a score derived from a simple customer survey that typically follows a customer interaction.
The call abandonment rate measures the number of calls in which a customer disconnects from the call center before speaking with a customer service agent. It’s a key indicator of excessive hold times.
The Net Promoter Score is a widely used metric that was developed by consultancy Bain and Company. It’s based on a 1-10 scale response from customers to a single question: How likely are you to recommend our product or service to a friend?
QA scores monitor agent performance and are typically calculated based on a random sampling of agents’ conversations each week by a call center quality manager.
Invoca helps contact center quality managers achieve their quality assurance goals by monitoring agent performance and helping teams become more effective in their work so that they can deliver superior customer experiences consistently.
Invoca’s conversation intelligence software, with automated QA, call recording and transcriptions, in-platform coaching, and many other powerful features, amounts to a complete call center solution that can help any call center raise the bar on quality in every customer interaction.
Want to learn more tips for improving the quality management process in your contact center? Check out these resources: