Call centers succeed when they provide a satisfactory customer experience. For this to happen, improving your quality assurance is key. In this blog, we look at what call center quality assurance is, how it’s measured and ways to make it better.
Your inbound call center activity is often the first and most frequent touchpoint between you and your customers. The speed and effectiveness of clearing calls with customer-friendly results transfer to the bottom line, where it becomes a revenue generator from the sheer functionality of the center, its ability to solve a problem and create customer loyalty. It’s therefore imperative that these customer interactions be effective, efficient and positive.
Information technology professionals have created tools to improve the flow of this process, known as contact center software. Yet, conflicts and inefficiencies arise when the customer service agents must navigate among various and often incompatible software tools.
The answer is to integrate your platform to maximize the efficiency of each agent. But to benchmark your current performance and assess your ongoing operation, you must implement call center quality assurance schemes.
To do that, you must identify key performance indicators (KPIs), and your contact center technology must be able to measure these KPIs. Complicating the equation, various managers might need different KPIs. The important thing to remember is to tailor the KPIs with the goals you have set for not only your call center but also for each manager’s needs.
What Is Call Center Quality Assurance?
Call center quality assurance involves monitoring and measuring actionable call center metrics. The metrics can include:
- Average speed of answering (ASA): The average amount of time it takes for a call center agent to answer an inbound call.
- First-call resolution (FCR): A measurement of whether an agent was able to resolve a customer’s inquiry during the first call to the call center.
- Average handling time (AHT): The average duration it takes for a customer call transaction, from the second they dial the phone number to the moment they hang up.
- Customer satisfaction score (CSAT): A measurement of how happy the customer is with the service provided by the agent and call center.
- Abandonment rate (AR): The average number of inbound calls where the customer hangs up before a call center agent answers.
- Average after-call work (ACW): The average time it takes for a call center agent to complete tasks after an inbound call.
- Blocked calls (BC): The number of inbound calls that are blocked by a call center, which usually means there are no agents available and all call queues are full.
The right call center quality assurance program will have the ability to measure all these variables and allow you to set and gauge your performance on these metrics.
How to Improve Call Center Quality Assurance
There are a host of ways managers can improve call center quality assurance. Some are technical, while others are related to warm and fuzzy human factors. Here are several ways to improve call center quality assurance:
1. Establish Standards
Make sure your agents know what is expected of them, including the metrics you apply to their performance. This can be done with benchmarking through call center quality assurance platforms.
2. Implement Agent Training
Armed with a set of established rules to follow, spend time training your agents on the correct behaviors to follow. This also includes a thorough familiarity with your call center platform and associated software.
3. Manually Monitor Interactions
First and foremost, you must be able to monitor your call center interactions. You can sample from this database and measure the metrics you determine to be important to your operation. The sample should be spread among time slots, agents and subject matter. And it must be a large enough sampling to extrapolate to your entire call center activity. Other metrics can be collected on a census basis by your call center telephony platform.
4. Have the Right Tools
Disparate customer relationship management (CRM), inventory screens and call center software will bog down agents and crash your call center performance. Look for a call center software provider that integrates with your systems, so the agent can service each call satisfactorily.
5. Learn From Successful Calls
Share productive calls with other agents so they can model the best behavior that others have found successful within your call center operation. Identify emotional factors that might impact an interaction.
6. Reinforce Positive Behavior
Reward your effective agents and share feedback, both positive and negative. Learn from it; don’t just make it about punishing poor execution.
7. Establish Real-Time Monitoring
Build a screen or dashboard from your call center quality assurance platform that shows KPIs as the data is collected. This gives you a chance to apply the brake or press down on the accelerator and correct troubling trends in real-time.
8. Benchmark Your Call Center Performance
Constantly track call center activity metrics and establish performance dynamics so you can build strategies to address any shortcomings in your operation. Have data points you can use to reference the success or failure of education and training programs, software platforms and workforce choices.
Successful call centers take quality assurance seriously because it helps them to provide better, consistent service to their customers. If your call center needs help improving its quality assurance, start by establishing standards. Then you can begin training your agents, monitoring interactions, and benchmarking your call center’s performance.
A strong, integrated call center software platform that integrates with existing company-employed software can make the difference between an agent fumbling to retrieve critical information, to a seamless customer experience.
Plus, you can leverage records and archived calls properly assimilated through the telephony software for reviewing quality.
With the right tools in place, your call center can operate at a higher level, resulting in more efficient agents and happier customers.