Assuring quality in the call center should be a top priority for any company. Customers’ contact with call center agents can be their only personal interaction with a company, and making a good impression with high quality customer service can mean the difference between a returning customer and a closed account. Here are 17 call center quality assurance tips to up your game.
1. Define customer satisfaction by measurable data
Rather than chasing around a myriad of subjective indicators of customer satisfaction, decide on a few key factors to measure-- e.g. Average Handling Time (AHT) or First Call Resolution (FCR)-- and dig deeply into this data for optimal solutions.
2. Encourage self-assessment
By encouraging your agents to self-assess their effectiveness periodically, you heighten their self-awareness in terms of service and reinforce the idea that quality assurance is not just a top-down process.
3. Make monitoring the norm
Agents who expect that monitoring can be happening at any time are more likely to stick to their scripts and remain aware of the quality and effectiveness of their customer service. Rather than monitoring sporadically, make call monitoring the habitual norm in your call center.
4. Record subtly
Along with monitoring consistently, quality assurance specialists should monitor in a way that is unobtrusive to agents. This will ensure that the data collected during such monitoring is a truly candid representation of the average quality of a call.
5. Standardization is key
For data to be reliable, it must be collected in a standardized way. Make sure that call monitoring and KPI collection are conducted in a consistent manner to ensure reliable results.
6. Share evaluation criteria with agents
Agents should not have to wonder how they are being evaluated during a call. Standards of quality measurement should be transparent to all parties involved to ensure a fair, productive assessment. An agent who knows how quality is defined is better prepared to achieve it.
7. Establish a dispute process for agent evaluation
Agents should have a predefined process to follow if they feel they have been evaluated unfairly or that their evaluation is not representative of their day-to-day quality. Allow agents to seek a second evaluation if they feel the first was not conducted with accuracy.
8. Evaluation results should prompt coaching and development
Evaluations should amount to more than a pat on the back or a wag of the finger. They should be designed to collect data in a way that leads to a continual process of coaching and improvement.
9. Seek out a third-party perspective
Although call centers can certainly maintain internal teams or individuals to monitor quality on an ongoing basis, it is essential that they also solicit feedback from an outside source. Free from internal bias and uninfluenced by goals or allegiances, a third-party quality monitoring service can provide a uniquely accurate and fact-based assessment of call center quality.
10. Recalibrate often for reliable data
To ensure quality monitoring that is fair and reliable, it is necessary for evaluators to meet together and recalibrate their scoring periodically to ensure consistency. Prepare a batch of representative calls and have each member of the quality team evaluate them individually, Then, share and discuss results, referring to the scorecard to find common ground where there are discrepancies.
11. Gather all stakeholders periodically to share call center quality assurance tips
Agents can begin to feel isolated by their headsets, and managers’ communication can feel scattered unevenly amongst agents. Getting the whole team together to discuss quality (including recognizing positives and tackling issues) means a more unified and forward-thinking team overall.
12. Define what is on-script and what is off-script
Assuming you have a well-developed script that everyone is happy with, make sure you have clear parameters defining the extent to which it should be followed. What, if any, portions of the script can be used flexibly or omitted altogether as the circumstances require?
13. Solicit customer feedback
A brief, simple survey conveying the customers’ satisfaction at the conclusion of a service experience can give valuable insight into your call center quality. Compiling this feedback in a way that is useful for coaching and training purposes is even better.
14. Make training and coaching a natural extension of quality monitoring
Quality assurance should not exist in a vacuum. For agents to value the process (and not resent it), it should be part of the bigger picture of ongoing training and coaching opportunities. This training should be conducted collaboratively and meaningfully, not punitively.
15. Save examples of rock-star calls to use for training
Learning by example can be very effective, and agents can be reminded of what high quality customer service looks/sounds like by revisiting a stellar example of it.
16. Reward agents regularly
Make sure quality assurance is a tool used not only to spot problems, but to recognize excellence. Reward agents for a job well done and they will be motivated to keep striving for success.
17. Assign a dedicated individual or team to monitor quality
For in-house quality monitoring, management should carefully select an individual or team who will conduct the process with integrity. Managers have enough on their plate without having to be quality monitors, too.
There are no one-size-fits-all solutions for ensuring great customer service for a given company. But combining some of these call center quality assurance tips with a well-implemented quality monitoring procedure should be a step in the right direction.