When a customer contacts a call center, he will often hear an automated recording advising him that his call may be monitored for training and quality assurance purposes. The recording is a good thing because it means the center has a quality assurance (QA) team responsible for ensuring calls are handled with excellence. There is very little variation in the daily duties of a QA team member. Depending upon the size of the call center, there are usually several employees on a team.
Call center quality assurance teams are responsible for setting the quality standards for incoming and outgoing calls. In most cases, these standards only apply to call center agents, not management and supervisors. Standards set by the QA department include, but are not limited to, how the call is answered, how well the agent engaged the customer, how well the agent used available resources, whether or not the customer's issue was resolved and how the agent closed the call. The QA department also puts together a telephone script for agents to follow on each call.
Most call centers train agents for a few days or a few weeks before putting them on the production floor. During this training, the QA team steps in to educate agents on the purpose of the team and what can be done to ensure high QA scores. During training, the team may let the agents listen to samples of calls gone wrong and calls that went right. A few points the QA team may cover includes how to stick to the telephone script, branding the call, taking ownership of the call, avoiding dead airtime and closing the call.
Record and Listen to Calls
The QA team spends most of the day recording and listening to live telephone calls. While listening to a call, the QA representative uses a checklist to determine if the agent handles the call according to QA standards and guidelines. Based on the results of the checklist, the agent is assigned an overall score for the call and is then notified of his score.
Coaching and Feedback
Call centers have metrics that must be met each month to please its clients. These metrics include an overall QA score for the entire center. If agents are consistently receiving low scores, it brings down the overall center's score. A consistently low center score can result in lost clients. As such, agents with low QA scores receive coaching. Coaching doesn't usually mean the agent is in trouble; it simply means he gets a refresher course or tips on what it takes to get higher scores.