Call Quality Assurance Guide [2020] Best Practices, Tips, and Scorecard

call quality assurance guide

In this article, we provide you with the knowledge you need to make your call center efficient and effective through call quality assurance. You want your call center to be confident that it's achieving its goals of being productive and leaving customers satisfied. There’s so much to know about call quality assurance, so we’ve put together a quick guide as a reference for call center quality assurance tips and best practices.

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Quality Assurance, or QA, is where supervisors, QA specialists, or other leadership oversee and review agent interactions with customers. Quality assurance can be performed live or through recorded agent-customer interactions through phone, chat, or email. An evaluator will review these interactions and score them based on a standard set of criteria that follows a company's policies and procedures, which results in improving the agent's skills and achieving the team's QA goals.

Components of Call Center Quality Assurance

There are many aspects of QA that you'll need to address in order to be successful. We've compiled the most important components of call center quality assurance so you have all the knowledge you'll need so you have the best quality assurance possible. Each component will have a brief overview and links to additional information if you want to learn more.

Documented Procedures, Policies, and Scripts

From the beginning, its highly important that policies and procedures are put in place and kept up-to-date. Keep all these procedures well-documented and easily available to all staff is aware of company standards and know appropriate methods for handling any inquiries.

Providing scripts to your agents is a great way to ensure compliance and that customers are getting prompt and accurate information. A well-made call center script can produce excellent customer service experiences, so take special care to curate a script that works well for your agents--they'll reduce human error, promote consistency, and give your agents confidence when helping customers.

Looking for help with your call center scripts? Learn all about call center script best practices and what to avoid in Best Ways to Use Call Center Scripts.

Scorecards and Criteria

Be sure to have a set criteria established and known to your call center agents so they are aware of the steps they need to take to produce a successful customer experience. This criteria can then be translated into a scorecard or evaluation form as a way to review your agents. Call center scorecards are great for call center QA as a way to see performance metrics and help better your agents. Scorecards can be completed manually by a supervisor or QA specialist, or they can be completed by a software.

To learn the pros and cons of automated vs manual scoring, the most common evaluation forms mistakes, and a set of free downloadable scorecards, see our Call Center Scorecard Guide.

When creating a scorecard for your QA team, it’s important to know the overall purpose of the assessments—know what your call center hopes to achieve through assessments. Maybe it’s to target areas of improvement for your team, or maybe it’s just for coaching purposes. Or, perhaps you’re only looking to quantify your call center’s work. Knowing your scorecard’s purpose will help target the goals you’re trying to make. Use the following list as a starting point to help create your call center scorecard:

  • Greeting
  • Account Verification
  • Contact Information Confirmation
  • Problem Solving Abilities
  • Protocol Compliance
  • Call Handling Skills
  • Customer Service Quality
  • Call Center Etiqeutte
  • Script Compliance
  • Closure
  • Follow Up

Quality Assurance Roles and Responsibilities

When managing your call center, it's important to understand and designate appropriate responsibilities to those who oversee QA. Decide if team managers are to review calls, if you'll have a designated QA specialist, etc.—it all depends on your company's needs and resources. Unfortunately, it's not realistic or feasible to oversee or grade every call, but management can decide a specific amount of customer interactions to evaluate on a regular basis.

There is no one standard for the number of calls/emails/chats that should be monitored in a call center, as this number depends on a variety of factors like call center size, the type of call center, and volume. However, we recommend trying to evaluate agents 3 to 5 times monthly to start, and adjusting the frequency from there.

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Metrics and KPIs

When it comes to metrics, you must ensure that you are tracking the call center KPI benchmarks that will help your call center achieve success in customer service, productivity, top line revenue, or whatever you are aiming to improve. Different businesses have different metrics by which they measure success. As such, they have different KPIs that vary based the industry, size, and purpose of the call center. Establish effective benchmarks for your KPIs by measuring and tracking performance from both quantitative and qualitative perspectives.

There are a variety of KPIs and other metrics to measure, but here's the top call center KPIs you should consider measuring for your call center:

  • Average Wait Time
  • First Call Resolution
  • Transfer Rate
  • Customer Call Frequency
  • Schedule Adherence
  • Customer Satisfaction Score

For more on these metrics and why they're important, see our article Top 5 KPIs for Inbound Call Centers, or take a look at How to Improve CSAT Score in Your Call Center.

Training, Coaching, and Calibration

Proper training and coaching is one of the most important aspects of quality assurance, but many call center managers struggle with figuring out the best techniques for their teams. There are many different kinds of training that can be made available for call center teams, such as:

  • 1-on-1 Agent Training
  • Mentor Training
  • Classroom Training
  • E-Learning
  • Live Call Training

To learn more in-depth about these training methods and how to execute them along with other training tips, read our article Call Center Training Best Practices.

Learning is not just for new hires—be sure that your call center team is being coached and given feedback on a timely basis. Coaching sessions should be a combination of reviewing strengths of an individual agent as well as discussing areas of improvement. QA programs goals might not be met without regular coaching, so be sure to implement supportive and collaborative coaching sessions with your agents to make sure they are on the right track.

Lastly, calibration is also important when it comes to QA success. Calibration is an ongoing process where evaluators review different calls and evaluate them separately using their QA rubric or standards. Any discrepancies where two reviewers scored differently should then be discussed and a plan moving forward for such cases should be established. Processes such as these will allow agents to be evaluated with equal standards.

Program Feedback & Dispute Process

When running a QA program, allow your evaluators and agents to give management feedback on what is working well and what doesn't. At the same time, it's important that communication is facilitated both ways between the evaluators and the agents. Agents should be able to ask questions about reasoning behind their evaluations at any time without repercussions. Evaluators will need to be open to discussing any dispute and be able to back up their reasoning.

Rewards and Recognition

Recognizing your QA team for a job well done is critical in call centers as a means to keep employees content and reduce turnover. There are a variety of ways to reward your team, but we think that the best call center rewards programs includes a mix of individual and team-based goals, a combination of monetary and non-monetary rewards, and goals within the employee’s control.

Other incentives include moving along the call center career path. Let new hires know of what opportunities can be given to high performing agents, and the general timeline to do so. Promote from within as much as you can to show your staff that top performers are recognized, appreciated, and rewarded for their hard work.

We have more on these topics in How to Motivate Call Center Agents and Most Effective Call Center Bonus Structures.

Call Center QA Metrics Guidelines

Let's go over some of the most important call center metrics that you'll want to measure to make sure your QA procedures run smoothly:

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)

What is CSAT?

Customer Satisfaction Score, or CSAT, measures customer happiness through soliciting customer sentiment through a quick, one question survey at the end of a customer-agent interaction.

How to Measure CSAT

To measure CSAT in your call centers, ask customers to answer a variation of the question "How would you rate your satisfaction with (company)?" and allow customers to rate on a number scale. These scores can then be used to calculate your CSAT average and CSAT percentage:

  • CSAT (avg) = Sum of all scores values / number of all scores
  • CSAT (percentage) = (number of all positive scores / number of all scores) x 100

First Call Resolution (FCR)

What is FCR?

First call resolution, or FCR, is the percentage of calls in which the customer's needs are resolved within the first point of contact.

How to Calculate FCR

First Call Resolution can be measured by using one of the following formulas below.

  • FCR = (Resolved Incidents on First Contact / Total Incidents) x 100
  • FCR = (Total Incidents Resolved - Total Reopened) / Total Incidents x 100

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

What is NPS?

Net Promoter Score, or NPS, is a metric used to gauge customer loyalty and relationships through a two question survey.

How to Calculate NPS

NPS is calculated through asking customers two questions: 

  • On a scale from 1 to 10, how likely is it that you would recommend out company/product/service to a friend?
  • Why?

Scores of 0-6 are “detractors”, or unhappy customers. Scores 7 to 8 are “passives”, or customers that are satisfied but not enthusiastic about the brand. Scores 9 to 10 are “promoters”, or customers who are enthusiastic and can help grow the brand.

From there, use the following formula to find your NPS:

  • NPS = ((Number of promoters - number of detractors) / Number of Responses)) x 100

Schedule Adherence

What is Schedule Adherence?

Schedule adherence is the time you agents are logged in during their work hours. Schedule adherence is a productivity-focused metric that can have a big impact on customer service levels.

How to Calculate Agent Schedule Adherence

Schedule adherence can be calculated as a percentage through the following formula:

  • Schedule Adherence = (Minutes Worked / Scheduled Minutes) x 100

There is no universal benchmark for schedule adherence, but between 85% - 95% are generally accepted.

Call Center Training Best Practices

After taking great care in hiring new agents for your team, having a proper call center training strategy is critical for QA success. Training shouldn't end after just a few weeks or months-- make sure your agents are always learning through training or coaching to hone their skills. We know that making a great call center training program isn't easy, but we have resources to help!

Making the Right Call Center Training Program

There are a few things you'll want to remember when making your call center training program. First, there's many different kinds of training methods you can use, and we highly recommend using a combination of a few for your program. Methods can include:

  • One on one training
  • Mentor training
  • Classroom Training
  • E-Learning
  • Live Call Training

Need help with your call center's training program? See our article Call Center Training Best Practices to learn the top call center training tips, types of training you should be using, and tools you'll need to set up your team for success.

Implement Call Center Coaching

Once your new hires have completed their necessary training, its important to continue to help them learn through continuous coaching. Coaching can be easily done through a variety of live call coaching tools:

  • Live Call Monitoring
  • Call Whisper
  • Call Recording

Want to know how to use these tools effectively for your call center agent training and coaching? Take a look at our post Your Most Important Call Center Coaching Tools to see top methods.

When coaching your team, be sure to follow up negative feedback with positive feedback. This will make sure your agent will still feel confident and motivated in their work and be more willing to take constructive criticism. Include data in your feedback, so agents can get helpful metrics to help quantify their impact, good or bad. Using specific examples through a past interaction the agent had with a customer can also help agents learn-- going through a recorded call is a great way to do so. Overall, ensure that coaching sessions are helpful, positive sessions that will encourage agents to take what they learned to improve after their coaching session.

Make Call Center Rewards and Recognition Known

During agent training, it's important to let them be aware early of your bonus structures and rewards that will be available to them for a job well done. With this in mind, it's critical that you motivate your call center agents with incentives that actually matter to them. Don't choose rewards that are silly or childish-- this will only demean your agents and make them feel like their hard work isn't taken seriously or appreciated.

Some great examples of incentives that will motivate your agents include rewards such as preferential scheduling, work from home days, catered lunches, and more. There's so many great ways to incentivize great work, so make sure you take time to figure out what incentives you can offer given the resources you have.

Check out our post Most Effective Call Center Bonus Structures if you want to make the best call center bonus structure and need great ideas for monetary and non-monetary rewards.

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Choosing the Best Call Center Software

To ensure that your call center is effective, one of the first things to consider is the software used. Here are five important attributes to think about when it comes to call center software:

1. Features

Having the right features for a call center is extremely important, as not all phone systems will have the features call centers need. Features relevant to call centers include call monitoring (link) capabilities such as call whispering and call barging, as well as advanced analytics and call tracking.

2. Ease of use

Try out a few trial periods of different call center softwares and allow your team to test them out. You want a software not only has all the features you want, but is also easy for your team to use and navigate through.

3. Security

This may be obvious, but definitely something you don't want to forget. Call monitoring must be secure and compliant, so make sure that the call center software you choose has security measures in place to protect your contact center and customers.

4. Cost

Call center software doesn’t need to be expensive. For instance, AVOXI’s Cloud Contact Center AVOXI Genius starts at only $4.99 per user for basic features, and $24.99 per user for advanced features including call whisper, call barge, and more. Be sure to use a software that suits your needs best.

5. Flexibility

You want a call center software that can scale with you. This is most easily done with a cloud (or hosted) solution, which requires no complicated equipment. Since it's utilized through the internet, changes can be made instantaneously and accessed from anywhere.

Call Quality Assurance Best Practices

1. Record and Analyze Calls

Be sure to observe the entire caller experience when analyzing your call center's call recordings, not just segments of them. It's unrealistic to to analyze all call recordings as call centers take thousands of calls monthly, and only listening randomly might not yield helpful results when trying to improve the customer experience. Take special care to listen to calls that went extraordinarily well (and bad), calls that went very short or long, calls that involve the customer calling several times, and calls that required multiple transfers. This can help highly particular pain points of your agents or customers as well as distinguish what works well.

2.  Call Center Metrics Aren't Everything

Some metrics like average handle time (AHT) are good to keep data on, but is not always a good measurement of the quality of a call. For instance, an agent that finishes up calls too quickly in order to get to the next customer might not result in high customer satisfaction, while an agent who has a longer AHT might be taking more effort to help customers and result in higher customer satisfaction. This is why it's important to review call recordings throughly in order to get a good idea of the customer experience.

3. Make Goals and Corresponding Incentives Known

Letting your team know your KPIs can improve your team's productivity, and providing incentives can help too. This can be in the form of financial incentives, but there are also other ways to reward good performance through spotlighting achievements to the company, for example.

4. Allow Agent Self-Assessment

We recommend that your call center agents should be given time to evaluate their own calls and customer service performance. This will allow your agents to improve their skills by critiquing their own calls and learn from their rights and wrongs.

5. Write Helpful and Informative Call Center Scripts

Call center scripts give your agents an easy way to provide information to a customer in a clear and consistent way. This doesn't mean writing text that your agents will recite word for word-- instead, think of scripts as an internal knowledge base that your agents can easily access and navigate to easily help customers. A good place to start with this is looking into what kind of issues customers typically have and see what agent responses result in the highest satisfaction.

Best Call Center Metrics and KPIs

To know that your call center is delivering the best service possible, metrics come into play. Here’s the top metrics to consider using to measure your call center:

Customer Satisfaction

Customer Satisfaction Scores are a way to measure customer happiness. Customer satisfaction is extremely important as it results in customer retention and likelihood to recommend your company. This metric is calculated by reaching out to the caller and asking a question as a way to solicit feedback about their interaction with an agent. You may have heard this before after a call with a customer service agent, where you are asked to rate your experience from a range of 1 to 5, with 5 being the most satisfied.

First Call Resolution

First Call Resolution is a great way to measure call center agents’ ability to solve problems and provide the answers customers need the very first time they call. FCR is measured through dividing the number of cases resolved within one call by the total number of cases resolved.

Net Promoter Score

Your NPS is a way to gauge customer loyalty and relationships. The metric is calculated through asking customers two questions: 

  • On a scale from 1 to 10, how likely is it that you would recommend out company/product/service to a friend?
  • Why?

Scores of 0-6 are “detractors”, or unhappy customers. Scores 7 to 8 are “passives”, or customers that are satisfied but not enthusiastic about the brand. Scores 9 to 10 are “promoters”, or customers who are enthusiastic and can help grow the brand.

Call Center Quality Assurance Scorecard

When creating a scorecard for your QA team, it’s important to know the overall purpose of the assessments. Know what your call center hopes to achieve through assessments. Maybe it’s to target past weaknesses of the team, or maybe it’s just for coaching purposes. Perhaps you’re only looking to quantify your call center’s work. Knowing your scorecard’s purpose will help target the goals you’re trying to make. Use the following list as a starting point to help create your call center scorecard:

  • Greeting
  • Account Verification
  • Contact Information Confirmation
  • Problem Solving Abilities
  • Protocol Compliance
  • Call Handling Skills
  • Customer Service Quality
  • Call Center Etiqeutte
  • Script Compliance
  • Closure
  • Follow Up

We hope this call quality assurance guide was useful in your search for call center quality assurance best practices and tips. If you didn’t find what you were looking for, send us feedback and let us know how we can improve the information! Be sure to check back with us regularly as we create new posts surrounding the topic of call centers.

If you're looking to make the switch to an easy-to-use and affordable call center software, take a look at AVOXI Genius, our new cloud-based call center software--you can try AVOXI Genius risk-free for 30 days! Prices start as low as $24.99/month and include unlimited inbound and outbound call recording. For more advanced features for your call center, you can upgrade for $24.99/month! Click the buttons below to learn more and get your free demo.

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