Every agent has their own life cycle in your call center, and achieves different things during that time.
From the moment they’re hired to their final day in the office, employees bring their own skills, passion and dedication to the role. While some support agents have more of all three than others, they can still make an invaluable contribution to your customer experience.
A key aspect of cultivating quality CX is investing time, money and effort into your employees’ development. Simply expecting agents to wander into your office on the first day and perform exactly as needed is unrealistic.
With the right training, tools and management, though, even the most inexperienced support agent can become an indispensable asset.
In this post, we’ll take a look at how you can boost agents’ performance and productivity with quality assurance.
#1. The Importance of an Effective QA Program
Quality assurance revolves around evaluating your agents’ performance, identifying strengths and weaknesses, and ultimately taking steps to achieve a higher standard of customer service.
Sounds simple? It can be, but there are no quick fixes: building a better workforce takes time. Hire one or more QA analysts to monitor customer interactions, devise coaching / training and track progress over time. They should have experience within a similar environment and boast strong communication skills, to ensure they can engage with agents.
This facilitates a smoother QA program from start to finish.
#2. Starting the Quality Assurance Process
Agents at all points in their life cycle should be involved in the quality assurance program. It doesn’t matter whether one employee is on their first day or their last: everyone has something to learn or teach.
For example, an agent could make consistent mistakes when handling customers, causing arguments and — ultimately — alienating them. This would be costly in the long term, as acquiring new customers is between five and 25 times pricier than retaining current ones.
Meanwhile, another agent could have a natural gift for good service and leave every customer satisfied. Their insights and experience could help QA analysts create effective training, equipping others with the same skills.
All employees should be involved in the quality assurance program, and management should keep the workforce informed right from the beginning. Agents must know why the QA process will take place, what will be expected of them and how it will impact their day-to-day work.
#3. Establishing a Structure for Quality Assurance
Quality assurance has to be organized, planned and structured to be effective. One of the most important steps is calibration: standardizing the scoring criteria to ensure consistency and fairness.
Managers and team leaders must take an active role during this, to make sure the QA program aligns with the company’s values and objectives. You have to deliver the quality of service customers expect, resolving common pain points and leaving them feeling valued. After all, 55 percent of consumers are prepared to pay more if they’re guaranteed good service.
The calibration process will also determine what constitutes good service, drawing on varied professional experience and perspectives. Managers and team leaders will typically have a strong grasp on good service, and it’s up to them to keep staff on track.
Creating a set schedule for feedback and training is key to your quality assurance program, though it can be spontaneous too. Both should become an ongoing aspect of everyday life in your call center, so agents are continually learning new ways to improve their service.
#4. Creating Metrics and Measuring Performance
Your QA analysts need the right tools. It’s that simple.
Reliable QA software empowers them with features and facilities designed to streamline their work. This includes scorecards — one of the most effective ways to rate performance.
Scorecards provide insights into the level of service provided during an interaction, according to certain criteria. For example, metrics like ‘did the agent introduce themselves?’ or ‘did the agent verify the customer’s name?’ are common.
QA analysts will get a clear idea of where agents are succeeding or failing with a glance, and have evidence to support their feedback. Scorecards can be customized and amended over time, to reflect evolving company values, changes in policy and agents’ individual objectives.
Managers and team leaders should help to identify which elements of a call need to be measured, while agents may prove helpful here too. Customer feedback can inform the composition of scorecards as well, helping you to meet their expectations more effectively.
#5. Driving Growth with Training and Coaching
QA analysts, managers and team leaders should collaborate on improving agents’ performance and productivity through comprehensive training.
Scorecards and call recordings offer an overview of each employee’s work. Are they providing a good standard of service but generally taking too long on interactions? Do their calls end quickly but customers remain unengaged throughout? Do they fall somewhere in-between?
Coaching and training sessions should be devised to address relevant issues, instead of being generic. Bland, one-size-fits-all training may have nothing of value to say to workers, causing them to switch off — a waste of everyone’s time.
Targeted training, on the other hand, is far more effective. Good QA software allows analysts and management to provide guidance in real-time, training workers right at their desks. Ongoing improvement becomes a familiar part of the job as a result.
Just as coaching and training should be targeted, so too should motivation. Keeping agents engaged by their work and aiming to meet their potential isn’t easy, but a reward system is an effective solution. You can provide tangible prizes for hitting milestones or delivering consistent work, such as gift cards.
If employees know they have more than their standard paycheck to look forward to, they have more reason to boost their productivity and connect with customers better.
A quality assurance program is a powerful way to transform your call center, but only if you make the most of it. Following the steps explored above will help you build an effective process, develop a proper structure and inspire agents to be the best they can.
Integrating QA software into your everyday work equips your analysts, managers and agents with all the critical data required to stay informed. Over time, quality assurance may cultivate a high standard of customer experience that comes to define your company.