Call Center Quality Assurance: The investment that compounds customer happiness

The best time to grow a tree was 10 years ago. The second best time is now.

And this is so true when it comes to call center quality assurance that improves the service quality in a call center. The earlier that a business realizes the importance of call center quality assurance, the greater will be it’s returns in the form of customer happiness and loyalty.

Yes, I may sound like some cliche motivational poster on a mutual fund investment website – but you know what, the adage is true.

Call center quality assurance is, and will always be a great investment (sans any market risks 😉) when it comes to influencing the service quality in a call center set up and in turn scaling a happy happy customer base. On that note, in this blog, I’ll take you through,

  • What quality assurance means in the context of call centers
  • Factors influencing the customer service quality assurance in a call center
  • How can quality assurance in a call center increase the service quality

What is Call Center Quality Assurance?

Call centers are meant to address a huge wave of calls, mostly from customers with pressing concerns. While answering every call that comes in, is always a priority, your brand and business is often remembered and talked about for the quality of service(how quick, how friendly, how precise your service was) most often. And any such proactive measures, process enhancements and seamless experiences that you bring about in your call center, providing the best quality customer service quality assurance are termed as Call Center Quality Assurance.

There are multiple facets to improving your Call Center Quality Assurance. So, let’s get to some call center quality assurance best practices.

Factors influencing the quality of service in a call center

Risk comes from not knowing what you are doing, said Warren Buffet.

So, before discussing how to improve your call center’s service quality, we need to know what exactly do you want to improve in your call center.

And for this let’s start with the basics. At the end of the day, if you make sure that every call that your customers experience is seamless and of high quality, eventually your whole call center’s service quality will fall in place.

For this, let’s start by outlining a good quality call center experience.

An ideal(~happy) call experience for a customer when they try to contact your business’s call center looks like this,

call center quality assurance
Quality assurance in a call center

Now, every step in the above-mentioned process is connected to some form of call center quality assurance. And here’s how you as a business can provide this level of seamless call experience to your customers.


How to achieve quality assurance in a call center?

Quality assurance in a call center can be broadly categorized as

# Call center quality assurance best practices before going on a call

Displaying the right and updated contact number:

There can’t be anything more frustrating than calling a customer care number displayed on your business website only to hear an “out of service” or “please check the number you’ve dialed” voice message. So, before anything else, make sure that the right number is always updated on your website and other portals of your business that your customers visit. And, an additional tip here is, try to list your contact number with the right country code to help your customers proactively.

Choosing the right phone system:

 A lot can happen over the software you choose to support your customer interactions. Take time to evaluate your business needs, the challenges that the software needs to solve and then choose the solution that fits your business best. Keep in mind that the best-rated solution and most expensive software need not always be the right fit for your business needs. Choose wisely. For instance, if the major challenge that your call center is facing at present is missing out on calls, you, for a fact need a call center solution that comes with an advanced, and highly functional call queuing provision. Optimize for that.

Setting up a simple and straight-forward IVR:

Just because your phone system supports a large number of key presses and nested IVRs, you need not configure a complex and annoying IVR menu. Generally, a healthy IVR should not have more than 3 to 4 list items and 2 levels of navigation. And, always always have an option for the customer to reach a live agent. It makes a world of difference in the service experience and hence the quality.

Ensuring the best connectivity and profound call quality:

Well begun is half done. Truer words can’t be spoken about a customer call. Make sure that you have a strong internet connection and bandwidth for your cloud-based phone system to function smoothly. Disturbance in voice quality, jitter, delay, sudden intermittent break in the voice, garbled audio might give a bad experience for the customer on call. So, make sure that you set your call center for success by prioritizing your internet bandwidth for customer calls as compared to other heavy apps like Youtube, Vimeo, etc. You can also consult your company’s IT and network cell and ask them to whitelist certain ports for best call connectivity and quality.

# Call center quality assurance best practices while on a call 

Begin the conversation with a bright happy tone:

No matter what time of the day it is, the moment you pick your customer’s call, you need to make them comfortable and feel heard. A trick that has always worked is addressing them by their name that you can see if they are a saved contact. And the next thing you need to do is a weather check on their phone number and email. With this, all the context you need should ideally be available to you from within your phone system. 

 Get the full context of the customer from their call history:

Quickly understand their last conversation from the call notes, call recordings and related tickets raised by them if any. This way, all they need to talk about is their concern and not waste half their call by providing profile information that should already be available with you. 

Monitor the live calls and guide your agents:

Supervisors of a call center should be vigilant of the ongoing calls to ensure they step in and save the call if needed. By choosing a system with a dashboard to monitor all the calls in the call center, supervisors can listen in on calls that seem a little unusual. Taking cues like long handle times, too many calls piled up in the wait queue, an agent who is offline for a very long time or an agent who puts a call on hold for a very long time, a supervisor can listen in or even barge in and take over the call and provide a call experience that’s nothing less than perfect to the customer.   

Aim for First Call Resolution(FCR):

Hands down there can be nothing better than offering a customer the solution they are looking for in the very first call. This not just saves them time but also shows them the quality of agents who support them when in need. They’ll not think twice before dialing your business’s customer support when they need assistance anytime in the future. This improves customer stickiness to a product and in turn, creates customers for life.

Promptly encourage agents to record calls wherever permitted:

While it’s physically not possible to be around always and listen in to all calls and understand what an agent needs to improve, there is always the option of recording the calls and being able to listen to them later. This would be of immense help to ramp up a newly joined agent by giving constructive feedback. 

# Call center quality assurance best practices after attending calls

Set target service levels for your team and monitor it

What can’t be measured can’t be improved. And what best way to bring in some healthy discipline and quality of work amongst your agents than setting a service level that’ll motivate them to keep up their work. You can check what your industry’s average service level is and set that as a target. 

So, let’s say, 80% is the target service level that you wish to achieve, and, the average time within which you want your agents to answer calls is 15 secs. You can feed in all these threshold values to your admin console. Every time an agent or team breaches the service level, it will reflect on the Service Level Monitoring dashboard and you can immediately take measures to set it right. And with the help of service level, other important metrics that influence the service quality like average time taken to answer, average wait time, average handle time, average talk time and longest wait time will also be set right.

Analyze the call recordings periodically

The quality assurance process is nowhere near complete without periodically analyzing the calls that were recorded while on a call. And it’s important that you the right calls are chosen and analyze before they pile up and become near impossible for an admin or supervisor to listen through and curate valuable feedback from. To filter out the most actionable recordings to listen to, you can always check for abnormality in certain call metrics like handle time, hold time, ringing time and frequency of calls from customers attended by a given agent and start analyzing them first.

Set up weekly reports to understand what needs improvement

Scheduling reports that dissect the call center’s performance, health, volume inflow, and agent performance helps a long way in understanding what’s currently working for the call center’s quality of service, what needs to be fixed and what needs to be completely removed from the call center’s process and execution. Most of the phone systems come with pre-built reports that deals with the most common and important metrics for a call center. Even otherwise, you can create custom reports, analyze the metrics, note down the agents who need more training and knowledge, teams that need more resources, etc and pass on valuable feedback to the respective agents and teams.

Reassess your hiring needs

Often, something as basic as scaling the team in terms of resources can fix the quality of service. Maybe, the growing customer base is not in sync with the call center team size. This could be indicated by a sudden surge in the number of missed calls, long wait queues, too many call transfers, and an increase in attrition due to burnout. Hiring more agents to support the growing demand or moving a couple of agents from a team handling low call volumes to a team drowning in support calls would make a huge difference.

Illustrations by Mahalakshmi Anantharaman

Animation by Vinoth Krishnan

About Freshcaller

Freshcaller is a modern-day reimagining of our everyday call center software for customer support, sales, IT, and HR teams. With Freshcaller’s cloud-based architecture, it brings together the best of legacy features like IVR and advanced capabilities like Smart Escalations, Custom Call Center Analytics to help you set up a state-of-the-art business call center. Freshcaller offers phone numbers in 90+ countries, requires zero phone hardware, and is extremely easy to use.

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