There’s lots of great content out there if you want to go into the QA process in depth. Including our Ultimate Guide To Quality Assurance here.
Sometimes however – particularly when you’re starting out – you want a top-level guide to contact centre QA that runs you through the basics and allows you to find your bearings before going into the finer details.
A top-level guide allows you to visualise the entire QA process quickly, and start to think about how it could work in your organisation.
That’s exactly what this article is designed to do. Below, we’ve broken down the QA process into five manageable stages, so that you ….
1. Decide What To Measure in Your QA Process
In a nutshell, QA works by having your evaluators score agent interactions against a defined set of criteria.
These criteria should correspond to metrics that are essential components of a successful customer interaction. This could be decided internally by first asking yourself “What do we expect of our Agents” or for a more rounded picture, it could be combined with results from your Contact Centre Survey Software to understand what is important to your customers.
Most Contact Centres, depending on the type of interaction, consider:
- Tone of voice or phone demeanour
- Knowledge of product and services
- Dealing with objections
Different types of interaction may require different criteria, so consider adapting your metrics accordingly. For example, grammar might not be such a concern over the phone, but essential over email. Make sure your QA processes reflect that and you design a scorecard for each contact channel.
You should also consider how you weight each of these questions (line items) as part of the overall scorecard. This helps ensure that, for example, failure to hit key compliance requirements isn’t overlooked by good performance elsewhere – or that overall good performance isn’t hampered by relatively unimportant criteria.
2. Score Your Agents’ Interactions
Once you have decided what you want to measure on each channel your agents communicate on, you can move onto testing the finished scorecard by evaluating some of your Agents’ interactions.
This involves your QA team evaluating calls using a QA scorecard to both recognise good performance and identify key improvement areas – at an individual and organisation-wide level.
You should also consider calibration an essential part of the QA scoring process. This involves getting key stakeholders (evaluators, team leaders and agent representatives) together to ensure everyone understands what a particular score should mean.
What To Consider When Creating Your QA Scorecard
Ideally, a QA scorecard leaves room for nuance without being too complicated for your evaluators to fill in – remember, they will be evaluating a lot of calls day-in, day-out!
There are various ways of building your QA scorecard – you can take a look at different scoring options here.
It’s really worth thinking about how you could optimise this process with new technology. What if you could use the latest in automation and machine learning technology to autoscore every interaction, only passing on the most urgent or relevant for human evaluation.
EvaluAgent’s Smart Quality approach to QA lets you do this, so that your evaluators are freed from intensive workloads and duplicate effort, and have more time to deliver genuinely meaningful, impactful feedback as a result.
Find out more here.
3. Analyse Your QA Data
What use is data if you get no insights from it.
QA data analysis is vital in getting the most out of your QA process. Data analysis allows you to:
- Monitor performance at an agent level, to reward individual good behaviours or target coaching where appropriate.
- Look at wider trends in performance across the organisation, helping you to fix issues at a more structural or fundamental level.
Within each of these, identifying outlying data and general trends are extremely useful for targeting improvements.
For example, you might notice that among agents that started less than six months ago, there is a relatively high fail rate for compliance-related criteria. This allows you to dig a bit deeper – has the quality of compliance training decreased since then, or have you been short of time to train them? You can then take action to correct this issue.
Or, on an individual level, you might notice particular agents have particular criteria they consistently score poorly on. For example you might notice that, whilst excellent on the phone, a particular agent is marked down on email quality. This allows you to provide targeted customer service coaching to your agents
4. Provide Your Agents With Feedback
Identifying areas for improvement is one thing. Delivering feedback on these to agents successfully is another.
Agents are most receptive to feedback when it is delivered sensitively and in a timely manner. They are also most likely to take it on board if they feel like it is fair, and that they are praised for their successes alongside being notified of what they could do better.
Agents accepting – and acting on – QA feedback is essential to your contact centre’s growth and improvement. You can:
- Training team managers on how to provide feedback and constructive criticism effectively, so that agents don’t feel unfairly treated.
- Involving agents in the QA process (for example, calibration and scorecard creation) so that they feel feedback is fair and realistic.
- Creating a culture of recognition in your contact centre, where good performance is celebrated and rewarded, and agents are motivated to improve as a result.
Alongside this feedback, offer coaching, training and support to help agents improve their own performance. This demonstrates you are committed to agent development as an employer, and empowers agents to own their performance improvement in the long run.
5. Improve Your Contact Centre’s Performance
As well as the individual performance improvements detailed above, QA data allows contact centre leaders and team managers to make improvements to their operations at a more fundamental level.
By listening to and observing customer interactions and looking at trends in QA data, you can:
- Identify issues that cause unnecessary contacts, which both create a poor CX for the customer and increase contact centre costs.
- Understand where a lack of accessible information is causing low quality customer contacts, or causing contacts to be longer than necessary.
- Figure out whether a particular process is simply not fit for purpose and optimise it as necessary.