In the lead gen and sales industry, efficiency is the name of the game. To keep pace in a competitive (and heavily regulated) environment, outbound contact centers need to make every call, text, and email count. And they need to make the most of the time spent in outreach.
But with so many moving parts—dialing agents, incoming leads, reps consulting out in the field—how are managers supposed to keep it all together? In 2023, the very best call centers will run tight ships with the help of call center quality assurance software and tools.
In this guide to one of the year’s top call center trends, we take a look at the latest developments in quality assurance (QA) and analyze how QA can drive greater success in the days ahead.
This trend article is part of the Convoso series, “Outbound Contact Center Trends,” helping you stay current with issues, technologies, best practices, and strategies that impact your business. Our aim is to provide tools and guidance that will improve productivity, efficiency, and ultimately profitability for your sales and lead generation team.
What is call center quality assurance?
In any industry, QA refers to the process of auditing operations and services to ensure they meet company standards. Outbound call centers use QA to evaluate agents’ performance and adherence to scripts by monitoring their conversations. QA also analyzes a team’s compliance with industry regulations.
Auditing your lead generation or sales team allows you to build a clear picture of everyone’s performance, the quality of their customer interactions, and adherence to rules and regulations.
As we’ll explore below, however, historically it’s been difficult for managers and decision-makers to provide comprehensive quality assurance. The reason for this is rather simple: as a call center grows and becomes more complex, so does the task of quality assurance. Since quality assurance has typically been conducted manually by managers and dedicated monitors, it’s difficult for many call centers to muster the manpower to keep eyes on everything they need to.
Luckily, in recent years and particularly in 2023, technology is changing all that for the better. By supporting (or in some cases replacing) QA monitoring teams, call center QA software and management tools are improving QA coverage to deliver greater insights and improvements in all kinds of call centers.
Why call center quality assurance is essential in 2023
In the face of QA complexity, some call centers might be tempted to throw up their hands—or throw in the towel on QA altogether. But the business case for implementing a robust quality assurance practice at your call center is, as we’ll see, crystal clear.
QA Monitors for Compliance
Call center operators face mounting legislation and procedures with severe consequences for non-compliance. Fines for TCPA violations that have recently increased from $1,500 to $10,000. More recently, new state regulations have been following in the footsteps of Florida’s 2021 “Mini-TCPA,” giving consumers a “private right of action.”
With this increased ability to bring class-action suits, companies now face a growing threat of debilitating litigation, which can easily require millions of dollars to settle. As attorney and TCPA compliance expert Eric J. Troutman once put it, “It’s kind of like having 10,000 minor deputized attorneys general calling you up and calling you out for potential violations.”
But it’s not just the TCPA that you need to worry about. Incorporating effective quality assurance means monitoring for compliance with things like call monitoring consent, which varies from state to state; the national Do Not Call (DNC) Registry; new privacy laws like the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA); as well as industry-specific statutes and standards that might apply, like the Truth in Lending Act or the PCI DSS.
As risks for outbound dialing and the number of regulations to worry about increase, robust QA is a must-have to make sure you are operating safely and legally—and still doing so efficiently enough to drive profitability and growth.
Call Center Quality Assurance Methods
To monitor quality, performance, and compliance of the agents at your call center, you can choose from these options to find the QA solution that works best for your call center:
- Hire an outsourced QA team or service
- Create your own internal QA team
- Use AI-driven QA software
1. Outsourcing your quality assurance
Outsourcing call center services offers a range of benefits. There are even many QA services that work with call centers to analyze their operations, point out problems, and create solutions. Outsourcing gives you access to a team of QA experts that have the time and experience to perfect your procedures. Unfortunately, this option is often fairly pricey.
And while increased access to things like AI-driven QA software may eliminate the need for outsourced QA teams, there are instances where enlisting outside opinions can be critical to maintaining quality and compliance.
For example, to keep up with rapid changes in regulations like those we covered above, hiring outside counsel or expertise to conduct annual audits should definitely be included on your compliance checklist.
Likewise, third-party organizations can also help with exercises like data breach preparation. By testing your agents and system with real-life scenarios, you can prepare for the worst (and most costly) potential events.
Additionally, if you can’t spring for outsourced QA (or instead opt for a software-based approach), call center consultants are available to provide agent coaching and training, as well as input on things like process improvement, on a more temporary basis.
2. Building an internal QA team
Instead of relying on outside help, you can also hire an internal QA specialist that works to monitor and improve your call center’s process. This specialist will work with other members of your team to find and fix problems throughout your operation. This person also typically works with agents and supervisors to provide detailed coaching that prevents non-compliance and poor interactions. As a new employee on your payroll, however, this option isn’t always the right option for every company.
3. Implementing QA software – How AI-driven QA excels
Quality assurance software is a trending and effective solution for monitoring sales and lead generation agent performance.
These tools integrate with your dialer, using AI to monitor calls for conversation quality and compliance. In 2023 if you’re not already using QA software, it’s time to bring it aboard.
“AI for quality control is really going to play a huge role for better conversations, more compliant conversations, and just ultimately, increased results in agent performance. You need to have AI incorporated in one way or another if you want to go remote and grow it and scale it, in full compliance.”
Nima Hakimi, CEO & Co-Founder of Convoso
QA software can be more cost-effective, faster, and more accurate than human-led audits. Rather than checking random calls manually, you can evaluate every call your agents make to ensure even the smallest problem is resolved.
Working in tandem with your call center’s reporting capabilities, call center QA software can help you develop agent scorecards to monitor performance and provide directed feedback and coaching.
Some software, such as Balto and Observe.ai, can also replace or supplement those scorecards by delivering guidance and feedback to agents in real time. With these more robust QA tools, managers can typically set parameters on when they receive alerts, which allows them to respond to the most urgent issues, and then spend more time making decisions and changes that move their business forward.
Expert Perspective: How Call Center QA Software is Changing Things
Call center operations expert Heather Griffin describes incredible value of implementing this technology:
“There’s a lot of new technology out there, specifically ones that can listen to 100% of your calls. It can check whether or not your reps follow the script, tell you if there’s TCPA scripting read, alert you if there’s an escalated call, and it can listen to a hundred percent of your calls. And the cost is relatively cheap.
“Especially when you’re looking at remote agents, it’s hard to tell if somebody’s yelling at a customer or someone’s hanging up on customers. But this QA monitoring and scoring software can tell you that there’s a problem.”
AI-powered call center quality assurance software does much more than identify problems. Combining dynamic scripting and AI to listen to calls means there are many more things you can do to close sales.
Heather gives the example that if you have a top rep who is outperforming everyone else at your call center, the AI can listen in and recognize patterns, discovering which sentences or rebuttals the agent is using to propel their improved sales numbers.
QA software that makes a difference
Heather Griffin explains how Balto’s AI-powered software helped her teams to improve and monitor QA:
“The software’s fabulous. What it tells us, for example, is 28% of your reps are not saying this disclosure on calls in California. That’s how granular it gets. But it listens to all of our calls and gives us feedback and reporting…
“It used to take me 30 QA people to QA my 1000-seat call center. And now a system is doing it. Within the call center world, AI is fantastic.”
“A high-quality call that leads to a high-quality transfer to an insurance agent is more likely to lead to a lead actually buying the insurance policy. So, the better we’re able to warm that call up and get that lead excited to be transferred, the better it is for everybody.”
Not getting what you don’t pay for
You may be a whiz at managing your call center’s biggest costs. But if you’re not using QA, you’ll pay in the long run with compromised efficiency, not to mention potential compliance consequences we discussed above.
So, yes, there’s a financial component to auditing your call center. It’s the price of value and once you experience it, you’ll gladly add QA to the balance sheet. (Your competitors already have!)
Lead generation call center expert and consultant John Gallagher, CEO of Thrive Marketing, encourages call center managers to think of QA as a short-term cost that offers long-term benefits.
“A QA team or QA service that really allows you to monitor your calls will not only decrease your risk of negative consequences, but it will improve your performance because there’s a lot you can do with listening to the way your folks make those calls.”
Data helps managers be proactive
Once you know how your agents are performing, you can use the data as the basis for incentives to improve results. If you have new agents, monitoring call center quality allows you to offer more training or coaching. With more specific feedback you can support your agents to perform at their best.
As Kyle Andersson, Director of Operations at Digital Market Media, puts it: “It’s all about being proactive instead of reactive.” So, whichever method of call center QA you choose to implement, you’re ultimately putting your organization in a better position to succeed.
Not only will the above insights help your business be more proactive, but it will also help you stick to some essential call center quality assurance best practices. The QA methods and tools we’ve covered here will help drive efficiency, support compliance, and boost profitability by:
- Offering consistent evaluation of your team, according to transparent criteria
- Delivering real-time guidance to agents and directing managers’ feedback and coaching
- Ensuring more consistent and higher quality customer experiences
- Providing comprehensive coverage of your call center’s operations
Virtual Call Centers Need QA
Managing agents who work from home is now the norm. Over the last few years, many office-based call centers adapted to virtual operations.
Agent efficiency was a huge concern for many call center supervisors and managers as they shifted to a virtual call center model. But with cloud-based agent monitoring tools, they have found their remote agents are surprisingly productive. With effective, AI-powered call center QA tools, managers keep their finger on the pulse of agent performance.
In a webinar called “The 2.0 Lead Generation Call Center,” Kyle Andersson, Digital Market Media’s Director of Operations, talked about the importance of AI for QA and using metrics reports:
“When you talk about quality assurance—listening to calls, scoring calls, and making sure that they’re compliant, they’re quality, they’re getting through the qualification questions that you need from your clients—this is all streamlined with AI because it’s not a person or managers listening to calls, it’s the system listening to every call.
“And you have statistics on every single call, all of the details, everything that you want to see in calls or don’t want to see. It’s very scalable. And, that’s one huge thing that AI will play into remote or in-house call centers.”
Whether you operate an outbound call center or use call blending to serve inbound customers, QA software helps provide frictionless experiences to convert and retain customers.
Disclaimer: The information on this page and related links is provided for general education purposes only and is not legal advice. Convoso does not guarantee the accuracy or appropriateness of this information to your situation. You are solely responsible for using Convoso’s services in a legally compliant way and should consult your legal counsel for compliance advice. Any quotes are solely the views of the quoted person and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Convoso.
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