Foundational QA techniques that stood the test of time
The contact center industry is constantly evolving by supporting new channels and implementing the newest contact center technology. Also in the world of quality assurance there are always new challenges that arise that need to be handled. Over the years, however, we have learned that regardless of trends or innovative developments, there will always be timeless best practices that can make any quality monitoring program a success.
In this blog post we'll share 6 foundational quality assurance best practices that are just as relevant today as they were a decade ago.
1. Make your QA efforts Customer Centric
It’s all about the customer experience.
Consider customer expectations and make sure your quality efforts focus on aspects of the call that your customers actually care about. Maybe your customers really value first call resolution, or maybe they really just want some one who is extra friendly and polite to them over the phone, or maybe they don’t want to talk to you at all and would prefer to send an email. If you realize you aren’t sure what is important to your customers, ask them! Surveying your customers is a great way to measure satisfaction and determine what really matters to them. Then you can align your quality assurance forms to meet and maybe even exceed these expectations.
2. Get Agents Involved in the Full Process
It's not just about scoring their own calls.
Include agents from the start, from the moment your QA team is sitting down to create the QA form. If you pull a couple agents off the phones to help you build your QA process from the ground up you'll gain trust (hey, they aren't just out to catch us when we mess up!), understanding (this is why we do this), and a new (and very important) perspective. Make sure that what you are scoring is within the agent's control and then let them score their own conversations, or let them choose which calls you score. Ask them to select an interaction that they felt went really well and one that didn't, this will give you insight into their level of awareness for personal development and support your coaching and training efforts.
4. Make Feedback Immediate
The sooner the better.
You probably have heard that feedback should be timely, but what does timely mean? What it should mean is, as soon as possible with immediate being the ideal. If you wait until a regularly scheduled coaching session and the scenario occurred weeks before your session, the agent probably won't even remember the example you are talking about. And if it's a negative behavior you need to discuss, you'll be giving the agent opportunity to repeat the behavior over and over again before you are able to address it. The sooner feedback is delivered the better, if it's positive feedback your agents will have more opportunity to repeat the desired behavior and if it's negative hopefully you can squash the behavior before it becomes a habit and running rampant throughout your customer interactions.
5. Coach for Success
Don't forget to encourage what you do want.
While we must correct negative performance, it's just as important (and more enjoyable) to dish out some praise. Encourage what it is that your agents are doing well and they will do it more. When someone goes above and beyond to help provide a stellar customer experience make sure they know you noticed. Lean into each individual's strengths to make them even stronger. Foster an environment that encourages learning and makes agents feel comfortable enough to admit when they've made a mistake.
6. Keep Quality Assurance Metrics Specific
Different channels and contact types require different measures.
In a world of multi-skilled agents and omni-channel contact centers our quality metrics need to be far from one size fits all. We can't score chat conversations the same way we'd score phone conversations, just as we can't score tech support calls the same way we'd score sales calls. As our contact centers are becoming more complex, we need to ensure our quality assurance efforts grow with them. Take a look at all your different queues and channels and make sure your quality standards are tailored for each. And if you aren't measuring quality for one or more of your channels, now is a good time to start.
7. Use Data to your Advantage
Utilize existing data to quickly identify focus areas.
With every call, email, or chat message that your contact center handles data points are being generated. Your systems (such as your ACD and IVR) will automatically record data for you, such as wait time, length of the call, which agent handled the call, etc. With the right analytics tools you can analyze this data and identify problem areas based on thousands of calls without having to monitor these individual calls. This data allows you to spot potential quality issues on the collective level (e.g. overall wait times have increased by 15% compared to last month), as well as on the agent level (e.g. the customer satisfaction ratings for a specific agents fall below the center's average score). These kinds of insights can really help you determine where to spend your time and drive the highest impact.
Quality Assurance training by The Call Center School
The Call Center School has bundled decades of experience in quality assurance into a compact and engaging e-learning program. This program provides learners with the skillset needed to ensure a consistent service quality across channels that is in line with company objectives. It covers essential tools, techniques, and aspects of the QA process; the quality monitoring form, calibration meetings, coaching, voice of the customer programs, quality monitoring programs, and interaction analytics. This program is designed to equip you with the fundamental knowledge on how to conduct quality assurance professionally. More info >