As part of our continuing series on key performance indicators that high-performing contact centers measure, in this post we’re examining Quality Assurance (QA) scores, why they are important, and how you can improve them.

What Is a QA Score and What Does It Measure?

A QA score is a measurement of several factors that impact the customer experience. While each contact center may have slightly different measurements that make up its overall QA score, the most common elements include:

  • Average Speed of Answering (ASA): ASA measures how quickly calls are answered by contact center agents.
  • First Call Resolution (FCR): FCR monitors whether agents can resolve customer concerns on the initial call.
  • Average Handle Time (AHT): AHT tracks how long it takes to effectively handle customer calls. This includes talk time and wrap-up time.

These metrics contribute to a high-level QA score, but there are other factors on calls that can be just as important. Many organizations find success by getting more granular in their QA assessment. For example, you may want to monitor:

  • Did the agent greet the customer in a friendly way?
  • Did agents thank customers for their business?
  • Did they follow the playbook effectively?
  • Did they resolve all problems?
  • Did they ask if there are additional concerns?
  • Did they meet compliance marks?

As you can see, you can choose to highlight any area that is important to your operation. Once you have established the criteria to make up your QA score, you will want to weigh each area according to its contribution to call success and compliance.

Why Are QA Scores Important to Contact Centers?

QA scores are important to contact centers because they measure the quality of the contact service you are providing. By monitoring QA scores, you can identify areas that need attention and begin to prioritize means for call improvement.

There are three types of quality assurance areas that contact centers need to monitor:

  • Operational
  • Tactical
  • Strategic

Operational QA focuses on how your contact center agents are handling daily tasks. This helps to identify the agents that need improvement and whether actions are producing the desired results.

Tactical QA focuses on identifying the root causes that hinder performance, such as knowledge gaps or workflow.

Strategic QA focuses on ensuring your contact center team aligns with overall business goals.

Each of these three areas shows a slightly different angle of the overall picture but when combined show a much clearer one. When you identify an operational QA issue, such as a low score, you need to evaluate whether the solution is coaching or you need process improvement (or both). Finally, you also need to evaluate the strategic aspect and ask if you are meeting your overall business goals.

For example, if you see low QA scores due to poor first-call resolution, you will want to investigate whether the playbooks and resources you provide your agents are efficient. Then, as you make changes, you will want to measure the impact on your Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score (NPS).

How Can Organizations Improve QA Scores?

The overall goal of any contact center is to go beyond basic customer service and support. You want customers to walk away feeling like they are important to your organization and that their concerns were fully resolved. Any point of contact with a customer is an opportunity to help build loyalty and retention. Conversely, it’s also an opportunity to hurt your reputation and increase churn.

How can organizations improve QA scores?  Here are some tips and best practices to improve your scores.

Set QA Score Goals

To improve QA scores, organizations need a consistent way to monitor and evaluate performance against baselines. Goals should be set for individual agents and team performance. As goals are met, new goals can are set.

In high-performing contact centers, managers are consistently striving for incremental improvements.

Identify Problems Areas that Need Improvement

Monitoring QA scores helps identify the problem areas that need improvement. While ongoing coaching is an important step in the process, you will first want to identify any knowledge or system gaps that impact scores.

For example, do you have a real-time platform that guides agents efficiently through calls? By making sure agents know what to say with playbooks that lead them to optimal outcomes, you can improve performance and productivity. With the right contact center software listening in on calls, checklists are available and check off items as agents handle them. Dynamic prompts can be used to surface the optimal response for each query and adapt during conversations.

Without a solid foundation for your team, it will be difficult to improve QA scores.

Implement a Quality Monitoring System to Track Employee Performance

Manual QA scoring by listening to a sample of calls and post-call options is time-consuming and inefficient. What you need to improve QA scores is real-time QA that scores 100% of the calls. This relieves the burden on supervisors and managers who have to spot-check to ensuring agents are meeting your QA scorecard goals. Scoring only 1% of calls does not give you a statistically significant QA score and opens you up to missing compliance missteps.

With the right system, you can monitor both individual agent performance and that of your entire team in real time.

Train Employees on Best Practices

Contact center managers need to ensure that agents are trained on best practices. While QA scores can help pinpoint areas that need attention, supervisors need to structure training to meet QA goals. Not only is workplace training and development important in improving QA scores, it also helps with productivity and retention, especially with Millennials. 86% of Millennials say lack of training is a key factor in why they leave jobs.

Real-Time Coaching

With a contact center platform in place and an effective real-time guidance system, you can quickly identify areas where agents need training. When you can monitor every call in real time and set triggers for positive or negative interactions, managers can then provide on-the-spot coaching. Managers can listen in or get alerts and help save a call before it’s too late.

When you can find tangible coaching moments in real-time, fast feedback is one of the most important ways you can improve performance and reinforce expected behavior. A 2022 Gallup survey shows that when employees get consistent, meaningful feedback, they are nearly four times more likely to be actively engaged in their work.

Reward Employees for Meeting or Exceeding QA Scores

Another important part of improving quality is recognizing when individuals and teams meet or exceed goals. When you reward high-performing team members for reaching goals, it becomes a moment of celebration. It also helps to reinforce positive behaviors and increase motivation.

In fact, a study by Deloitte shows that performance in organizations that reward goal attainment are 14% higher than in those that don’t. Agents are happy and you’ve met your goals — it’s a double win.

Improve QA Scores With Balto

If you’re looking for more ideas on how to improve QA scores, schedule a demo with Balto to see Real-Time QA in action today.

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