A guide to assuring call center quality standards
Call center Quality Assurance (QA) is a process that can help ensure customer engagements are aligned with business goals. Call center quality monitoring aims to identify common customer concerns, improve customer experience, and help standardize communication processes with customers.
Why should you care about call center quality benchmarks?
QA has the power to transform your call center’s performance and maximize customer satisfaction.
Let’s find out how:
Help to define business values and goals
Clarifying your business’s goals and values is just one of the benefits of an effective QA process. Without this clear objective in mind, call center agents may have a hard time providing a consistent experience or representing your company to the best of their ability. Your call center quality team needs to know the standards of quality you expect to be delivered.
Once the call center quality assurance management is underway, managers and employees will all share the same idea of what they’re working towards and they’ll have the reinforcement they need to get there.
Set a call center quality standard
Keeping your team motivated and inspiring them to care about the service they provide can be hard. Yes, they’ll do what’s contractually required of them but will they go above and beyond to satisfy customers?
With a quality assurance team determined at work, a stronger culture of quality will develop. Metrics can be monitored so goals can be set to coach, train, and rewards your team.
Recognize strains in customer service
The unusual misstep in service can get overlooked. A mistake here, an error there. It happens. The QA process identifies flaws in your service. Call monitoring is a core aspect, enabling analysts and managers to listen in on interactions and pinpoint areas demanding improvement.
Adjust processes as per customer expectations
Research shows 70% of businesses delivering best-in-class customer experiences incorporate consumer feedback into their operations.
Customer surveys should be shared regularly; ideally, before you begin monitoring call center quality and once it’s underway. The more feedback you gather over time, the better you can monitor development and measure progress. Ask customers to answer a few questions at the end of an interaction, or email polls to them. Make sure they’re quick and easy enough to complete, to avoid putting respondents off.
Foster effective training
Broad-level and vague training can bore agents, meaning they’ll struggle to absorb the information being shared. Call center quality assurance involves evaluating each agent’s performance to recognize their strengths and weaknesses so managers can create relevant employee training programs to bring up the bottom-level performers to compete with the rest of the batch.
Improve customer retention
Did you know your probability of selling to an existing customer is only 60 – 70%?
Keeping customers happy can pay off in a big, big way. By measuring agents’ performance and gathering feedback from customers, you can develop a concrete understanding of what people want.
A more personalized approach to service can help customers feel valued by the company, rather than just another faceless drone. Unifying customer data pulled from multiple touchpoints i.e phone calls, live chat, email equips agents with key information during interactions, and minimizes the need for customers to keep explaining their history or details.
Build a stronger team
Call center quality assurance should be an ongoing process to keep improving your call center’s customer service. Over time, after consistent call monitoring, customer surveys, coaching, targeted training, and more, your workforce will continue to get stronger.
More importantly, it’s more likely your employees will care more about the quality of service they deliver. This is because they will know certain interactions may be monitored, while the personalized coaching/training makes them feel valued by management.
Call center quality assurance revolves around recognizing each agent as an individual, with their capabilities, strengths, weaknesses, and more. By focusing on meeting their needs and increasing satisfaction, you will end up with a more efficient team. This, of course, works wonders for your customers too.
Call listening: Your go-to method of assuring call center quality interactions
Call listening is the process of monitoring employees’ calls to improve communication and customer service. It’s most commonly used in customer support settings to help decrease overall agent training time and deliver a high-quality, consistent support experience.
Often you’ll hear call listening referred to as call logging, agent monitoring, or quality monitoring. However, the process is the same. Calls can be monitored with or without the knowledge of the agent, and they are typically recorded and stored for later access and analysis.
Call monitoring is one of the most potent quality assurance tools. It is almost like conducting a customer satisfaction survey, except that you do it in real-time as well as in retrospect. When you listen to call recordings, you can use them to improve quality and training, as well as to get a complete picture of your customer experience. When you monitor in real-time it enables you to take action before you have an escalation.
Methods of call listening
Live call monitoring can be done in three ways:
Barge-in is a helpful feature that allows a third party usually a supervisor or team leader to silently barge into or join a call between an agent and customer, while it is on. Neither the agent nor the customer can tell that someone else is privy to their conversation.
A team leader or manager listening to the call can speak to the agent in private without the customer hearing their conversation. It is the tech equivalent of a manager whispering into the agent’s ear. This is a one-way communication from the manager to the agent, used when the manager feels the need to intervene and give the agent key inputs during the conversation. This method is effective when an agent is stuck mid-call for lack of understanding on how to proceed further or if a conversation gets heated. The manager can help the agent deal with the customer’s annoyance.
This is a tripartite conversation the manager or supervisor who has been silently listening in can join the call and communicate with both, the agent and the customer to address the query. This method helps in resolving the issue faster. Customers also end up feeling important when they know a senior has personally intervened and taken interest in their problem.
The tools you need for assuring call center quality standards
A WFH tool for remote teams
With businesses unable to run operations from offices due to the current global healthcare emergency, the need for a remote working solution or a WFH platform for support teams is urgent.
With monitoring features like system barge-in and live chat, supervisors can assist and walk agents through difficult customer interactions, while also keeping an eye out for quality standards.
Agent images and computer screenshots are recorded and stored on the Leap platform at regular intervals like a logbook, so the supervisors can monitor what people are doing while working and identify time-wasting, distractions, and inefficiencies- as a result, AHT can be reduced without monitoring continuously. Supervisors can issue notices and instant notifications and will be broadcasted to every agent within their ambit, without interrupting the day’s work. Also, the work of the agents can be appreciated in front of everyone just like an office floor appreciation.
Related article: How a pandemic changed the way BPOs have worked
Call recording tool
Modern call center quality software lets managers record and privately listen to active calls. However, the average call center agent takes 1,000-2,000 calls monthly; there’s no way supervisors can listen to all of these. You need to decide which calls to examine closer.
However, a random selection is not a productive use of analysts’ time, since the sample probably won’t be representative of any larger trend or issue in call center quality. Instead, use the metrics you identified earlier and find calls that are contrary (or conducive) to your goals.
The calls you choose to analyze should be examined in their entirety. Exemplary calls should show how a problem was solved throughout a single conversation. Each call is like a self-contained case study. If you only pick bits and pieces of them, the agent’s choices won’t be put in context and the training value of the recordings will be diminished. The best examples of high-quality calls should be saved as training materials.
You may not just be operating over the phone, but also over live chat, email, or texts. Your call center quality assurance must extend to every channel you use to reach customers and vice-versa. While the medium differs, you must have the same concern for quality assurance.
Call center quality assurance specialists are responsible for organizing initial training. They coach new hires on what your customer service expectations are, and how to exceed them. This training period is crucial to empowering new agents and sparing them confidence issues or knowledge gaps further down the line. Nevertheless, it’s also important to keep up with training metrics. Businesses benefit from regular coaching sessions in multiple ways. Imposed sessions are sometimes necessary, but agents should feel free to ask for the extra coaching they require. The results gleaned from call monitoring will invite changes in the direction of your business. When coaching is a direct result of monitoring and assessment, everyone’s time is better utilized, and your call center quality assurance system is stronger for it.
Successful call centers create and work to personalized call center QA guidelines to stay on target and meet business objectives. The best call center QA guidelines incorporate both specific actions as well as general agent behavior. The goal for every call center is to move from a transactional day-by-day operation to one that supports the company’s long-term strategic objectives and business goals. Continuous improvement and working the call center QA framework will result in ongoing success for call centers and the businesses they support.