QA stands for quality assurance, and it’s an important part of many business processes. In a call center environment, QA can take on several forms and is typically targeted at ensuring SLAs are being met while the overall quality of end-user interactions is upheld.
Types of Contact Center QA Methods
At a high level, contact center QA typically falls into one of two categories: monitoring and metrics.
Recording and Monitoring
Most people are familiar with the monitoring concept because they’ve heard recordings or heard call center reps say, “This call will be monitored or recorded for the purposes of quality.” Typically, the customer care center is legally required to let consumers know they are being recorded, but the data isn’t used for any nefarious purpose.
Instead, supervisors, trainers or quality assurance reps listen in on live calls or recordings of calls to note what is being done right, where phone representatives might need more training and what errors might need attention.
It’s not usually possible for all calls to be monitored. Instead, most contact center QA processes take a sampling approach. A subset of the calls is reviewed to determine whether anything needs to be addressed, and additional calls may be reviewed if a problem is noted.
Another way call centers ensure quality is through analytics. For example, if the customer care center handles retail orders, it can easily determine the average time it takes for an order call to be appropriately handled. If one representative is consistently handling all calls in a fraction of that time — or taking double that time — there’s a good possibility the calls aren’t being managed in the proper manner. A supervisor or trainer may step into this situation to ensure the representative understands how to handle calls in the future.
Benefits of Quality Assurance
For the call center client, the benefits of a robust and proper QA process can include:
- Assurance that your customers will be treated property and their issues resolved appropriately when they dial-in
- Reduced risks of wasted time, which can increase the expense of your contact center service provider
- Increased compliance with service-level agreements that range from an average speed of answer to percent of issues handled within the first phone call
What to Look for in QA When Choosing Your Next Vendor
One of the potential issues with quality assurance is that it can become the sole purpose of processes. QA should never be the end goal; it should be inherent in processes to ensure the outcome is positive. When talking to potential contact center vendors, look for signs that QA is a foundational element.
Yes, customer care call centers should have some type of quality assurance process such as those described above, but they should also take steps to support quality at all levels. Some indications that contact centers support quality include proactive training, empowering reps to handle issues, robust analytics and reporting that helps track and manage processes without human intervention at every possible point.