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15 Best Practices for Quality Assurance in the Contact Center

Quality assurance (QA) is a high-value application for contact centers, particularly when combined with a methodical process that continuously measures operational and organizational effectiveness. Impactful QA programs actively engage their agents at all stages of the program, including development, roll-out, calibration, and continuous improvement. However, it is essential to follow some best practices to make sure that the QA initiative is carried out successfully.

So let's take a look at the top 15 best practices to help your company succeed with a QA initiative:

  1. Involve agents in the development of the QA program. If you already have a QA program, involve agents in calibration sessions and providing feedback to enhance the evaluation form periodically, but no less often than every 6 months. By considering your agents' input on how they are measured, you arm them with a sense of purpose, help foster a collaborative environment, and fuel ambition.
  2. Fully explain the QA program in new agent training. Include a module in your new agent training program that details and describes all aspects of your QA program. If possible, have the lead QA person deliver this module so new agents get acquainted with them.
  3. Ensure QA team leaders possess the necessary knowledge base. Confirm and verify the Head of QA and all of the evaluators have hands-on experience with call center quality assurance best practices. It's imperative to ensure they have the required skill sets to manage and actively handle inquiries and interactions.
  4. Providing feedback is key. Train, develop, and manage your coaches to ensure your QA specialists and supervisors are comfortable giving feedback to agents. By "coaching the coaches", you'll be able to make sure they don't avoid this important task.
  5. Evaluate an appropriate sample size of interactions. In order to provide valuable and actionable feedback to each agent, select a sample of interactions in each channel that's just large enough to provide an accurate scope of performance. If the sample's too large, performance details can become lost; too small and you don't get a realistic picture.
  6. Document your QA criteria. Make sure documentation exists that clearly outlines and explains what is expected for each call type. This, in turn, provides the agents with clear direction of what is expected of them, and also lends transparency and objectivity to call scoring.
  7. Constructive criticism is valuable. Sharing positive feedback is a vital component in an agent's development, but constructive criticism is equally important and just as valuable. Identify and communicate the areas for improvement in an encouraging and supportive manner.
  8. Create a QA schedule and stick to it. Perform QA consistently throughout the month and close to when an interaction is completed so that agents have a chance for remembering the discussion. Establishing a regular QA cadence while interactions are still fresh in the agent's mind makes the positive feedback or constructive criticism more relevant and actionable.
  9. Use self-evaluation as an asset. Allow agents to evaluate their own interactions, as they are typically harder on themselves than an evaluator would be. Not only does this actively involve the agent in the evaluation process, it's an easy conversation starter for constructive criticism.
  10. Share QA scores and data. Give agents a dashboard that delivers their QA scores and evaluations to them on a timely basis so they can self-correct. This also allows call center leaders to leverage dashboards and scorecard reports on their teams' latest trends, performance indicators, and workflow plans.
  11. Listen to agent evaluation feedback. Make it easy for agents to challenge an evaluation or score, as this can generate very positive conversations about how to improve performance. It's also an indicator that agents have a vested interest in their role and the broader success of the company.
  12. Use gamification as positive reinforcement. Motivate agent engagement and loyalty by employing gamification tactics to recognize and reward agents for doing a good job. By introducing game mechanics and design elements into an agent's performance, you also integrate a fun way to achieve the goals set for the organization.
  13. Incorporate QA scores in the review process. Use QA scores as part of agents' semi-annual and annual evaluations so they appreciate the importance of the QA program and can witness its transparency. When coupled with a dashboard they can actively monitor (as mentioned in #10), agents are equipped with the metrics they need to consistently boost their performance.
  14. Include all contact center-supported channels in the QA program. If email, chat, social media, and back office work are being done by agents, these channels need to be included in the same QA process. Nothing disengages agents more than if they feel the interactions being evaluated are not representative of their performance. Although the metrics used to measure the effectiveness of each channel may be different, agents and the organization will benefit from taking a holistic approach to quality.
  15. Solicit feedback from agents. Making agents stakeholders in the quality program is one of the best ways to get them on board with it. After all, they are on the front line and have a unique and valuable perspective of how to improve customer satisfaction and operations. This is why it's critical to listen to your agents when they provide feedback about your call center quality assurance program or any other aspect of your contact center. Make sure you follow through and communicate any changes you made as a result of their input.