Contact center operations involve dozens (or even thousands) of agents interacting with customers. How do you ensure that your call center agents are handling these interactions properly? One common way to oversee these interactions is to manually perform quality assurance reviews of agent interactions. You can read more about manual call QA reviews in our feature review of QA modules. With advances in AI and machine learning, many call center software providers are now offering automated quality assurance (“AQA”). AQA is a technological game-changer that promises to revolutionize the way call centers operate. This feature review discusses what automated quality assurance is and how to evaluate this feature for use in your call center.
What is Automated Quality Assurance
Automated Quality Assurance is the application of advanced technologies, particularly artificial intelligence (AI), to streamline and enhance the QA process in a call center. It involves using AI tools to automatically monitor, analyze, and evaluate agent-customer interactions across various channels such as voice, email, chat, and social media.
Unlike traditional manual QA, which often involves QA specialists reviewing a small sample of calls, Automated QA can evaluate a much larger number of interactions, often up to 100% of calls, providing a more comprehensive and accurate view of agent performance and customer satisfaction.
Key Features of Automated Quality Assurance
Automated QA applications are frequently native to modern contact center platforms. However, there are also a number of third party providers that provide this feature as an add-on to existing call center platforms. Some of the key features of AQA applications include:
- Automated Call Monitoring and Scoring: AI tools can automatically monitor and evaluate each interaction based on predefined criteria, scoring agents on factors such as adherence to scripts, politeness, and resolution time.
- Speech and Text Analytics: Sophisticated AI algorithms can analyze voice and text data to detect sentiment, extract key topics, and identify trends. These tools use speech-to-text processing to transcribe call recordings into text for analysis.
- Real-Time Feedback: With Automated QA, feedback can be provided in real-time, alerting supervisors to issues that need immediate attention and providing agents with on-the-spot guidance.
- Comprehensive Reporting: Automated QA tools generate detailed reports and dashboards, providing deep insights into agent performance, customer sentiment, and overall call center operations.
Many current AQA modules (both native and add-on) provide additional features. For example, the following features are frequently provided.
- Automated Quality Assurance: AQA platforms enable automation of call center QA, which traditionally relies on supervisors auditing less than 1% of calls by listening and scoring them. With most platforms, it's possible to capture and automatically score 100% of customer interactions. This automation can drastically reduce the time spent, overhead costs, and compliance risks.
- Manual Evaluation: Even though automation is a significant advantage, some AQA platforms still allow manual evaluations, understanding that manual evaluations are still essential, particularly for compliance reviews or subjective customer experience evaluations. Thus, some providers make it easy to include manual tests in your quality management practice.
- Custom QA Evaluation Forms: Most AQA platforms allow customers to create their own custom forms for their QA processes, compliance checks, or audits. This feature replaces the need for separate spreadsheets and toggling between windows.
- Flexible Evaluation Forms: In many AQA platforms, administrators can build custom evaluation forms on the platform, suitable for various testing activities. These forms can be scored, allowing custom points to be assigned to each question and answer. This facilitates more detailed reporting.
- Reporting on Evaluations: Most AQA platforms allow the creation of custom reports once the evaluation forms are completed. These reports can track critical insights for QA or other processes. It's possible to report on trending scores for each evaluation, trending answers to specific questions, team members who have completed their evaluations, agents in need of coaching based on their evaluation scores, and more. The automated analysis provided by AQA platforms can be combined with manual evaluations for deeper insight and context.
- Scoring Metrics. Most AQA platforms allow for a number of scoring metrics to evaluate agent performance, including:
- Agent Efficiency Metrics: These metrics measure how well an agent handles calls, including their call handling time and their call resolution times.
- Compliance Metrics: This type of metric ensures that agents are adhering to the required verification and disclosure procedures.
- Customer Satisfaction Metrics: These metrics focus on the customer's experience and include factors such as first call resolution, transfer rates, hold time, and an evaluation of the agent’s skills.
- Sentiment Metrics: These metrics analyze the conversation to determine the customer’s sentiment and emotion.
- Sales Metrics: These metrics track how well an agent is able to upsell or cross-sell during a call.
Example Provides of Automated Quality Assurance Features
A number of call center platform providers integrate with third party applications to provide AQA features. Some examples of third party providers include:
- Tethr. Tethr claims to be “The fastest path to contact center improvement” and provides a sophisticated suite of AQA tools that integrate with many contact center platforms.
- Evaluagent. Evaluagent is a “Quality Assurance & Improvement platform for Contact Centers” and integrates with a number of call center platforms.
Benefits of Automated Quality Assurance
Adopting Automated QA can bring a wealth of benefits to your call center:
- Greater Coverage: Automated QA can evaluate all agent-customer interactions, providing a more accurate and comprehensive view of performance and customer satisfaction.
- Increased Efficiency: By automating routine tasks, Automated QA frees up time for QA specialists and managers to focus on higher-value activities such as agent coaching and strategic planning.
- Improved Accuracy: AI tools can consistently apply predefined criteria, reducing human error and bias in evaluations.
- Real-Time Insights: Automated QA provides real-time feedback and analytics, enabling swift action to address issues and capitalize on opportunities.
- Enhanced Compliance: Automated QA can automatically monitor interactions for compliance with regulations, reducing the risk of non-compliance and potential penalties.
Implementing Automated Quality Assurance
While Automated QA can bring significant benefits, it's important to consider the following when implementing it:
- Define Clear Objectives and Criteria: Be clear about what you want to achieve with Automated QA and the criteria you will use to evaluate interactions.
- Choose the Right Tool: Not all Automated QA tools are created equal. Look for one that fits your needs in terms of features, ease of use, integration with existing systems, and scalability.
- Train Your Team: Ensure your team is trained to use the Automated QA tool effectively and understands how to interpret and act on the insights it provides.
- Review and Adjust Regularly: Regularly review and adjust your Automated QA process to keep up with changing business needs and customer expectations.
In modern call center environments, Automated Quality Assurance offers a powerful way to enhance service quality, improve efficiency, and gain deep insights into your operations.