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Call Quality Assurance: Measuring What Matters

call quality assurance

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Author: TCN

The world economy, let alone the contact center industry, has radically changed in the last couple of months.

Now, all anyone thinks about is… lockdowns, quarantines, unemployment, and remote work.

Customers need to feel cared for – they need to be understood now more than ever. Like all of us, they’re facing an uncertain and potentially unstable future.

Top call center leaders are facing this new reality by redoubling their efforts to maintain compliance and excellent service to prove their worth to customers. And managers who deploy advanced call quality assurance strategies will go above and beyond in meeting this challenge.

Because the last thing customers need is an awful experience or to feel taken advantage of. Managers never want to hear, “They just don’t get it.”

While federal and state governments are busy fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, don’t bet against them when it comes to enforcing TCPA compliance.

So today we’re getting back-to-the-basics – and reviewing all things call quality assurance so call centers can protect and prosper in the “new normal.”

What is Call Quality Assurance?

Before we explore how to ensure the best call quality assurance practices and results, let’s define this vital call center responsibility.

Call quality assurance encompasses managers and, most likely, a quality assurance (QA) agent evaluating and monitoring agent calls.

Managers and QA agents analyze every aspect of a call, including:

  • Call practices and procedures.
  • Agent/customer call listening.
  • Maintaining compliance through inspecting call and scrub lists.
  • Inspecting after call work.

Sometimes, QA agents are a manager’s right-hand person, searching for efficiencies in processes, workflows, and other call center operations.

Defining which call quality assurance framework to use and implement is a necessary first step.

Whichever option(s) a manager chooses, enacting the right call quality assurance plan is one key advantage in maintaining TCPA compliance and unlimited outbound calls. Especially with regulations governing call center activity growing more demanding each year.

The Skills Agents Need to Ace Call Quality Assurance Tests

Before managers and QA agents can successfully monitor and evaluate agents, they must train agents on the compliance and service standards. Otherwise, they cannot expect agents to deliver the results they desire.

Agent Hiring and Training

To begin, managers want to hire agents who demonstrate a winning combination of hard and soft skills.
Make sure agent candidates specifically answer questions detailing their ability to:

  • Listen and understand
  • Deliver outstanding customer service
  • Solve customer problems
  • Work productively in a team setting

Sure, managers will want to evaluate candidates on more qualities, but that’s a good start.

Another thing – did the candidate prove their ability to learn programs, procedures, and effectively apply that knowledge in past work experiences?

Once a manager has the right candidate, it’s time to train them. Of course, teaching them how to use the cloud-based call center software is step 1.

Next, a manager needs to stress the importance of learning and memorizing compliance rules and regulations – inside and out, over and over again.

A compliance-conscious manager can’t allow “rookie mistakes” to jeopardize their call center business.

Agent Skills to Monitor and Evaluate

First, call center managers must measure their agents’ current ability to deliver stellar service while maintaining compliance.

Without a baseline of current performance, managers won’t know if agent performance is improving or falling off a cliff. Then, managers need to establish what needs to improve and how to measure it.

Here are some skills the call center leadership group can monitor.

Ability to Follow TCPA Compliance Protocols
Managers need to start recording all phone calls if they don’t already. That’s how they’ll know if an agent is following TCPA compliance protocols.

TCN’s Speech Analytics provides managers and QA agents powerful technology to simplify this process. They can quickly and easily search for compliance keywords, phrases, and more.

Speech Analytics reveals which agents are checking every compliance box and which are dropping the ball. Managers and QA agents should ensure every agent is:

  • Providing customers their name, what organization they represent, why they are calling, and the telephone number in which the organization can be reached.
  • Obtaining prior express written consent to be contacted manually or through an autodialer.
  • Knowing when and when not to call along with which numbers to call or not.
  • Communicating contractual details clearly and accurately to avoid legal issues and unhappy customers.

Compliance Retraining and Follow Up
An agent needs immediate training if they can’t consistently meet these essential requirements. The QA agent can playback particular non-compliant call recordings for the agent.

They can first ask the agent what regulatory requirement they missed. If the agent isn’t sure, the QA agent can explain what requirement the call needed and why.

Then the QA agent can create a role-playing scenario to reinforce the training. They could even come up with acronyms to help agents remember. For example, NOWA (Name, Organization, Why, Address, or Telephone number) might work.

But teaching agents to pay close attention to cloud-based software’s regulatory prompts is also an effective strategy. And if an agent isn’t sure if they’re correctly explaining more detailed, complicated contracts or disclosures they can always stop and ask for help.

Agents can place the customer on hold and quickly text message or phone the manager or QA agent to help them through the process.

Managers and QA agents who do these agent evaluations and training regularly largely minimize potential compliance catastrophes down the road.

They also empower agents to take responsibility for compliance – and show them how important they are to the call center’s success.

In-Depth Knowledge of Products and Systems
An agent needs to develop in-depth knowledge of the products they’re supporting or selling. Otherwise, they cannot effectively serve customers and won’t meet their potential. This amounts to significant productivity loss over time.

Agents also need to quickly acquire an intimate knowledge of the call center’s software to gain more efficiency, too.

What’s the best way to solve a common customer problem? Do they have multiple “pre-set” solutions ready to go? Do they know the software shortcuts decrease customer wait time dramatically? Can they still perform these shortcuts while they’re on the line?

These are all potential questions managers can use while evaluating agents.

Call center leadership can find out what’s going wrong by digging into essential agent’s KPIs like average handle time (AHT), first call resolution (FCR), and average hold time.

The Top Call Quality Assurance KPIs to Measure
AHT – measures how much time, on average, an agent spends with each customer call. Generally, they want to solve their problem quickly so customers can happily hang up and continue with their day.

FCR – accounts for an agent’s ability to solve a customer’s problem the first time they call. The higher the score, the better. The last thing customers want is to talk to multiple agents about the same issue that still isn’t resolved.

Average hold time – speaks for itself. No one wants to be on hold, especially for a long time. What’s worse than being on hold for a while?

Being placed on hold by an agent after calling back for the same unresolved issue! That’s a double negative and sure to result in terrible net promoter scores (NPS).

Call center leaders have an easier time tracking each agent’s KPIs in real-time, instead of having to wait for reports from days or weeks before. Leaders can also give agents a better chance at improving their KPIs through call center software tools like Agent Gateway.

KPI Improvement Training and Follow Up
The best way to reverse unacceptable call quality assurance KPIs is similar to correcting for compliance mishaps. Call center leadership can rely on call recording and monitoring to uncover the underlying problems behind low quality KPI numbers.

However, retraining for service issues is much more open-ended and not as easy as saying, “This is the right way… and this is the wrong way.” Leadership has to know their agent’s personality and tailor their feedback accordingly.

A manager or QA agent has failed if training doesn’t arm an agent with the know-how and strategies to perform better next time. Trainers can go over the fundamentals of the call center software to make sure an agent doesn’t have any blind spots.

A trainer can play back a good but not outstanding agent/customer interaction to focus on the positives. Then they can ask the agent questions to see how they would have improved if given a chance. Collaborating to arrive at solutions for improving KPIs is the number one goal.

But sometimes trainers just have to share their mindset and methods for making the company happy and fast.

Net Promoter Scores (NPS) vs. Manager Surveys – How to Correct Differences

A call quality assurance plan isn’t complete without compiling Net Promoter Scores (NPS). Most businesses use the (NPS) survey to measure their customer service levels. Some also use it to quantify how likely a customer is to recommend the company to another.

But sometimes, an agent’s NPS might not sync up with how they actually served the customer. Recently, more criticism of NPS has emerged.

What if an agent did a great job of solving a customer’s situation but was unpleasant or pushy about it? The customer could give the agent a high NPS score. But how likely would that customer recommend the business?

Of course, there’s always the agent who tries to “game” the system, actively asking customers for positive reviews or giving customers incentives for a higher rating.

Luckily, managers can turn to cloud-based call center software to catch the discrepancies between actual agent performance and NPS.

Managers who use Speech Analytics can search for keywords or phrases that indicate impropriety. They could also spot agents with high FCR and low AHT rates, who have an undesirable NPS.

In this case, they can zero in on this agent’s computer screen and workflow issues in conjunction with call recording.

Depending on the particular situation, leadership needs to sit down and discuss their findings with the agent. They can allow the agent an opportunity to explain the KPI vs. NPS differences. Then the manager should create a plan to more accurately track that agent’s performance.

This could include using other KPIs to gain insight into the agent’s true performance.

Managers Can’t Optimize Their Call Center’s Call Quality Assurance Performance Without This…

No matter how much they try, managers can’t handle every call center variable themselves – especially when it comes to call quality assurance. They can’t monitor every call or keep an eye on every agent in real-time.

Fortunately, cutting-edge cloud-based contact center software can now lessen manager headaches and stress, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, so they no longer have to worry about handling everything. That’s because they’re covered by an automated system that unifies all of their call center data, especially their call quality assurance efforts.

If you’re ready to say goodbye to endless stress and say hello to automated reporting and monitoring that simplifies your call center life – check out TCN’s “Business Intelligence” platform.

Grab your free report that reveals how Business Intelligence can make your call center life enjoyable again.

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About the Author: TCN


TCN is a leading provider of cloud-based call center technology for enterprises, contact centers, BPOs, and collection agencies worldwide. Founded in 1999, TCN combines a deep understanding of the needs of call center users with a highly affordable delivery model, ensuring immediate access to robust call center technology, such as predictive dialer, IVR, call recording, and business analytics required to optimize operations and adhere to TCPA regulations. Its “always-on” cloud-based delivery model provides customers with immediate access to the latest version of the ClearTouch solution, as well as the ability to quickly and easily scale and adjust to evolving business needs. ClearTouch serves various Fortune 500 companies and enterprises in multiple industries, including newspaper, collection, education, healthcare, automotive, political, customer service, and marketing.