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What is Quality Assurance (QA)?

A cartoon man and woman high five in front of a screenshot from Puzzel's Quality Assurance solution for contact centres.

Quality assurance is an essential part of running a contact centre.

With two-thirds of companies now competing on customer experience alone, quality assurance enables contact centres to ensure they’re continuously delivering consistent, compliant and high-quality customer service [1].

So how does it work? What does a good quality assurance process look like? And what are the benefits of using a QA solution?

What is quality assurance?

Quality assurance – also known as QA – is the practice of examining and evaluating a company’s products or services to make sure they meet all necessary standards and requirements.

The practise originates from the manufacturing industry, where quality control officers must regularly inspect and check physical products before they are sold on to customers. For example, a chocolate bar might be checked for shape, size, weight, colour, texture, taste and so on. This ensures the bar is safe to eat, consistent for the customer, and lives up to the brand’s promise.

In the customer service industry, the process is slightly different but the goal is the same. It involves reviewing customer interactions after they have happened and scoring agents on a set of criteria to measure the overall quality of service and identify where they can improve. This helps to ensure all interactions are consistent, compliant, and meeting customers’ needs.

What are the benefits of quality assurance?

Quality assurance isn’t just about ensuring the best service for your customers – it’s about providing the best experience for your agents too.

Happy agents make happy customers, and research shows agents are happiest when they:

  • Can manage their workload confidently
  • Feel supported and treated fairly by their employers
  • Have clear opportunities for career development and progression

A good quality assurance process can help you deliver all three by:

  • Providing agents with a clear set of guidelines on how to deliver high-quality service – agents will understand exactly what is required and how they can demonstrate top-notch performance
  • Providing agents with regular feedback – agents will benefit from regular feedback on their strengths, where they can improve, where they may need extra training, and the steps they should take to further their careers
  • Standardising the performance management process – agents can trust they are being evaluated and scored fairly
  • Improving performance management and coaching processes – contact centre managers are provided with the structure and workflows they need to support their teams at scale and ensure they’re delivering on key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Generating actionable insights to improve operations – contact centre leaders can identify barriers and/or inefficiencies (e.g. poorly integrated technologies or complex workflows) that can be improved to help agents do their jobs more effectively

In short, building quality assurance into your everyday contact centre operations will not only support your agents, but result in better customer service, increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, and higher revenue for your business.

What does a good QA process look like in a contact centre?

A good quality assurance process involves five key steps.

First, you must measure the quality of your service. This typically involves taking a random sample of customer interactions and assessing agents on a list of criteria, such as process adherence, compliance, and customer experience. It’s also a good idea to assess agents on their soft skills, such as etiquette, confidence and empathy.

Second, you’ll need to score the quality of your service. It’s up to you how you wish to score each criterion – for example, a pass/fail for compliance or a rating out of 5 for confidence – but it’s important all interactions are assessed in the same way. Using a standard scorecard can help to maintain consistency, reduce bias, and ensure scores can be properly analysed and compared over time.

Third, scorecards must be analysed. This will produce a wealth of data that you can then use to identify trends (e.g. an improvement in customer satisfaction after training agents in de-escalation skills), areas of strength (e.g. empathy), or areas for improvement (e.g. product knowledge or adherence to scripts).

Next, you’ll need to provide your agents with constructive feedback. Without feedback, quality assurance becomes a simple data collection exercise. But with feedback, agents can identify where they’re excelling and where they need to develop their skills to provide better service for customers.

Finally, you should consider how you can improve your wider contact centre operations. By assessing interactions, analysing the data, and speaking to agents, you may uncover pain points in your workflows or customer journey that you hadn’t noticed before. For example, you may find agents are having to switch between multiple applications to resolve a certain type of enquiry, leading to long wait times for the customer. Quality assurance can therefore help you to identify and rectify these barriers.

What are some common challenges?

The three biggest challenges contact centres face when it comes to quality assurance are low engagement, poor efficiency, and a lack of actionable insight. These are often the result of using manual and/or fragmented systems, such as spreadsheets and online forms, which can be time-consuming to use and subject to bias.

For example, when QA teams have to manually search for and select customer interactions to examine and score, this opens the quality assurance process to bias (both unconscious and conscious). This may cause agents to lose trust in the system and become disengaged. But a QA solution can eliminate this problem by automating the selection process and removing any potential for prejudice.

Moreover, when QA teams have to jump between multiple systems to review interactions, record their scores, analyse the data, create reports, provide feedback to agents, organise one-on-ones, and track the results, the QA process can become very confusing, time-consuming, and prone to error. Having an all-in-one solution integrated with your contact centre, where QA teams can carry out the process from start to finish with alerts to help keep them on track, can therefore help improve efficiency and reduce errors.

And finally, a lack of actionable insight is often the result of poor reporting. When QA teams have to manually compile reports using information from multiple sources and systems, it can be difficult to properly analyse the data and draw meaningful insights. A QA solution can help simplify and streamline the process, generating automatic reports and providing a single source of truth that everyone can trust.

Why choose Puzzel Quality Assurance?

Research shows less than 40% of contact centre leaders say their QA processes are fully optimised [2]. It’s time to leave manual and outdated quality assurance processes behind and start making measurable improvements in your contact centre.

Puzzel Quality Assurance structures and streamlines the quality assurance process, helping QA teams to successfully inspire agents, improve customer service, and deliver measurable change in the contact centre. Customer interactions can be automatically distributed to evaluators for review, helping managers identity which agents need support and which skills they need to improve. Agents are then empowered with feedback and a structured coaching programme tailored specifically to their needs.

Contact us for a live demo of Puzzel Quality Assurance today.

[1] Gartner insights

[2] Statista 

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