Quality Assurance

Refers to a structured process to measure the quality and or compliance of a call centre agents performance against a defined quality expectation.

Key steps in implementing a Quality Assurance program into a call centre

1. Define your quality expectations

The most important step is actually being clear on what quality means in your call centre.

Great quality shouldn’t be left up to chance or interpretation.

Let’s take the welcome greeting for an example.

Is it ‘Welcome to <insert company> this is Justin>?.

What “Hi and thanks for calling <insert company> Justin speaking.”.

That’s just two to get you started.

But which one is correct?

Maybe you don’t even want a standard greeting because it will make everyone sounds like a robot!

It doesn’t really matter.

What matters is that your staff understand what they are expected to do and that they are measured against the same expectations.

It developing your quality expectations, be sure to involve your frontline staff, team leaders and managers.

2. Measure what matters

It can be easy to come up with a hundred different ways to measure quality which ultimately will be difficult to measure or understand.

Choose the things that matter to your business.

Typically a call centre Quality Assurance program would incorporate three key areas:

  • Compliance – did they compete the ID check, follow PCI-DSS for payments etc
  • Process – did they use the CRM correctly, transfer calls when appropriate etc
  • Customer Experience – is it the kind of experience that you would like to have received?

In-scope can include everything from using the right greetings, authenticating the customer, tone, use of the customer’s name, entering the right details into the CRM tool, the right close etc.

3. Determine the Scoring Methodology

Once you have some criteria, you need to work out how to score it. Methodologies include:

  • A scale of 0 to 10
  • Below acceptable, Needs Improvement, Meets, Exceeds & Outstanding

It doesn’t really matter as long as you are consistent and everyone who scores is one the same page.

4. Calibration

Let’s assume you have gone with a 0 to 10 scale.

How do you prevent someone from giving it a 5 and someone scoring it a 10?

Being human, we all interpret things differently and what is quality for you, maybe well below quality for me.

Enter calibration.

Calibration is a process to ensure that everyone is scoring consistently before they are allowed to score calls.

I typically don’t assume people are calibrated until they can score within 10% of the group average for 5 consecutive calls.

5. Frequency

In a perfect quality assurance world, every single call would got through the quality assurance process.

Of course, that’s just not feasible or practical for any call centre.

You need to determine what’s best for your call centre although my recommendation is to score no less than 5 calls per agent per month.

6. Transparent

If you are using a Quality Assurance program to catch out call centre agents you probably need to change your career.

As Managers, your job is to improve the performance of your employees and one of the best ways to do that is to be transparent with what you expect.

Your Quality Assurance program should be completely transparent to your employees – you WANT them to get 100%.

So be clear on what the expectations and requirements are to achieve 100%.

If someone is struggling in your team in a particular area, then your role is to coach and train them to improve.

7. Link to Training

As I alluded to above, if your employees are failing in a particular area then you need to help them improve.

An easy example is let’s assume someone is getting a poor result in compliance.

Very rarely is it because they don’t actually care.

It’s normally because they don’t quite understand the requirements.

So make sure for whatever call centre quality assurance metric you decide to use, that there is a training module that is linked to be able to provide additional training to the agents as needed.

8. Use Technology

You will need a couple of things to effectively implement a call centre quality assurance program.

  1. Call recording
  2. Scorecards (it can be a simple as a Word document or dedicated software programs)
  3. Dashboard and Reporting (at an individual level, team level and centre level)
  4. Speech Analytics – not required but a great way of analysing more calls.

9. Link to Rewards

Provide a great customer experience should be the driving objective in your call centre.

If your call centre agents are providing an exceptional level of service be sure to reward them for their performance.

It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, or you can offer up a World trip for the top scorer of the year.

Whatever it is, again be clear and transparent with your staff.

Next Steps

Unfortunately, there is no off-the-shelf package that you can implement to roll out your call centre quality assurance program.

Quality is something that needs to be defined by your business.

You can find a list of specialist suppliers that can help with a Quality Assurance Program including:

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