Agent Motivation

4 Best Practices to Improve Your Quality Assurance Program

Effective QA programs enable customer service team leaders to optimize contact center agent performance while increasing customer satisfaction and other key business outcomes. Ineffective programs, on the other hand, can have the opposite effect, leaving supervisors and agents feeling overwhelmed and customer needs and customer service issues unaddressed.

Follow these industry best practices to improve your quality assurance program, with steps you and your team can start taking right away.

4 Best Practices to Improve Your Quality Assurance Program

#1: Make QA a KPI for your service team

Customer satisfaction and loyalty drive business success. And consistent customer experiences are what drive repeat business, satisfaction, and loyalty, so much so that McKinsey & Company has declared the “three Cs of customer satisfaction” to be “consistency, consistency, consistency.”

So what does it take to deliver excellent customer experiences on repeat?

You guessed it – QA plays an important role.

One of the key strategies McKinsey & Company recommends companies adopt is to fix areas in which negative experiences are the most common, by coaching frontline service representatives to be able to self-correct when specific customer issues arise as a way to foster deeper customer trust in the brand.

Taking these kinds of steps can have a huge impact because one single negative customer experience has four to five times the impact that positive ones do, reports McKinsey & Company. 

#2: Frame QA as a growth opportunity and not a way to point out flaws

Effective QA programs are designed to improve experiences for customers, agents, leaders, and the company as a whole. For agents specifically, getting actionable feedback can help drive the kind of performance that fuels career growth.

That was the case for Stella Connect client SmartPak, a horse supply and supplement company. Stephanie Wimp, the company’s quality assurance team leader, got her start in an entry-level role at SmartPak in 2008. At the time, the company was recording calls for quality assurance purposes, but she wasn’t getting the level of ongoing feedback she craved to do her job better.

So, with her company’s blessing, she began listening to her recorded calls on her own, taking notes, and coaching herself. Her peers noticed and asked for help, too, and thus, SmartPak’s QA program was born. Wimp and her team use QA as an opportunity to:

  • Support and encourage employee development
  • Call out successes and wins as they’re happening
  • Motivate colleagues with praise to drive further outcomes
  • Inform team members about opportunities to self-correct to prevent repeat issues

Is your QA program moving the needle to drive customer satisfaction and agent improvement? Download our Guide to Doing Contact Center QA The Right Way for insight into building a streamlined, actionable QA program.

#3: Leverage QA as a way to boost agent morale and drive self-correcting behavior

Let’s face it, there’s not much about the traditional QA process that’s enjoyable—for agents or supervisors. The old way of doing things? Completely time consuming for QA managers and completely random for agents.

That was the case for Stella Connect client Kijiji, an eBay-owned company that formed in 2005, before they took steps to streamline the QA process.

In the early days, supervisors spent as much as half of their working hours reviewing agent performance—selecting 10 interactions at random per team member using a cumbersome process that involved evaluating the agents against 40 QA measures, including subjective ones like “language quality” and “personability.”

Not only was this not tied to customer feedback, agents felt this random, arbitrary process—which was used to determine bonuses—was an unfair way to assess their contributions.

Kijiji has completely overhauled and modernized its approach. Instead of using an old-fashioned QA process, the company uses targeted, 1:1 micro-coaching immediately following specific customer feedback, and centers QA reviews on agent-level KPIs, like first call resolution rates and overall star ratings. Agents are measured and compensated based on these metrics, driven by customer feedback.

Now that they have insights into what their customers have to say, agents:

  • Feel more motivated to keep their scores high
  • Are driven to improve their performance
  • Can more clearly see the value of the work they do on a daily basis
  • Proactively seek out supervisor feedback
  • Adopt a problem-solving approach when negative reviews arise
  • Have improved their ability to self-correct

#4: Invest in QA solutions that work

4 Best Practices to Improve Your Quality Assurance Program

Create a robust quality assurance program by using advanced tools like Stella Connect’s real-time QA platform.

Advanced QA tools like Stella Connect’s real-time QA platform help companies:

  • Conduct QA reviews in the moment immediately following key interactions, rather than waiting until the end of the month, causing delays in coaching and self-correcting opportunities. That’s important because QA reviews are most effective when they happen right away. 
  • Make QA actionable by letting team leaders incorporate suggested next steps for individual agents as part of the feedback and review process.
  • Scale the auditing process. Within just two months of implementing Stella Connect’s QA software, experience booking platform Peek saw a 5X increase in QA efficiency in the number of audits they were able to process, growing from reviewing about 4 to 4.5% of all service interactions to conducting QAs of 22% of interactions. 

Take Your QA to the Next Level

If you’re looking to deliver greater value for your customers and your company by revamping your QA process, check our guide: Doing Contact Center QA the Right Way and find out how to improve your quality assurance program once and for all—by leveraging key voice of the customer data to drive real business results.