Strategies for Elevating Contact Center Quality Management | Calabrio
Complete Guide to Contact Center Quality Management
Find More Great Content

Strategies for Elevating Contact Center Quality Management


Contact center leaders know that their quality management (QM) programs are critical to customer experience (CX) and driving a connection between contact center performance and delivering business value. Yet it’s all too easy to settle into the status quo with your quality management program. QM can’t be looked at like risk mitigation—just helping to identify and mitigate bad customer experiences. Good QM should drive continuous improvement on virtually every facet of contact center performance—and a great QM program is often the building blocks for the best contact centers and brand experiences.

How can you elevate your QM program—to go from good to great? This blog will cover 12 strategies for driving quality in your contact center.

Step 1: Establishing the fundamentals of quality management in your contact center

It wasn’t that long ago that contact centers were viewed simply as a pressure-release valve. As businesses have increasingly shifted to viewing the contact center as a value driver, rather than a cost center, more have implemented quality programs aimed at maintaining and enhancing service and experience levels. In many cases, organizations have grown their QM programs slowly, through ad hoc demands, without ever stepping back to assess them from a broad and strategic perspective. Here are the core elements every QM program needs to be successful:

  • Establish clear quality objectives for customer service excellence: Most every quality program includes traditional metrics like average handle time (AHT) and first call resolution (FCR), as well as customer satisfaction (CSAT) and net promoter score (NPS), and general service level metrics. Your quality metrics should also examine agent behaviors and performance, evaluating factors like communication skills, script adherence, and problem-solving. But it’s important to define the objectives for your quality program. You’re not just measuring to measure—what change in outcome(s) do you hope to drive? While every organization will have unique quality standards based on their business and CX goals, most contact centers start by benchmarking their performance against industry standards.
  • Build comprehensive quality evaluations: You obviously need a way to measure your quality. But it’s critical to make your evaluations as comprehensive as possible, covering quantitative elements of calls, as well as qualitative elements around both agent performance and customer experience.
  • Ensure frequent calibration of quality evaluations and scoring—and make it collaborative: Calibration is a fundamental part of ensuring your evaluations are consistent and reliable (that they properly measure what you think they’re measuring). But calibration should be a collaborative endeavor, involving both your quality team and your frontline agents, to support both accuracy and fairness in your quality program.
  • Provide agent feedback and agent performance coaching: A quality program should be a continuous feedback loop—and that loop should be as short as possible. Make sure you have a process for delivering quality feedback to agents promptly, when the calls are fresh in their minds, and so you can head off any quality issues. But remember that feedback is not the same as coaching. Coaching and training should provide targeted guidance and resources to empower agent self-improvement.

What leading QM teams do differently

Putting the essentials in place is no easy task. Moreover, every contact center should regularly reevaluate the fundamentals of their quality program to ensure the quality machine is functioning as intended. But beyond these fundamentals, what sets the leading QM teams and the best-in-class brand experiences apart? Here’s what top quality programs do differently:

  • Move focus from compliance to experience-based evaluations: Traditional QM evaluations boil down to “Did you do this, or not?” This black-and-white approach is ideal for compliance with rigid rules and regulations, and it’s a good approach to initially building out a QM program. But this approach quickly hits a ceiling in terms of enhancing interactions versus just maintaining basic service levels. That’s because CX can’t be captured in a set of yes/no questions—it’s very nuanced, and quality is all in those subtle details and qualitative elements.

More mature quality programs move their focus toward more experience-based QM evaluations. They incorporate forms around customer satisfaction, customer sentiment, and even agent engagement – because there’s an overwhelmingly clear connection between employee experience (EX) and customer experience (CX). Calabrio makes it easy to implement experience-based QM, with pre-built forms that are both out-of-the-box ready and easily customizable.

  • Incorporate customer feedback into quality assessments: The conventional approach treats customer feedback (surveys, etc.) as a peripheral element of the quality program. More specifically, customer feedback is often used as an after-the-fact assessment of the quality program: how well are QM processes heading off customer issues before they occur, and what types of issues are still occurring?

But quality leaders are bringing customer feedback directly into the quality management to identify and address customer concerns in real time. For example, Calabrio customers can easily integrate voice of the customer (VoC) feedback within quality evaluations and forms, such as correlating post-call customer surveys to QM forms.

  • Technology integration to enable omnichannel quality monitoring: Today’s contact center interactions happen across multiple channels. Often, within the course of resolving a single customer issue, a customer may hop from social media or email, to chat, to phone, etc.—interactions powered by multiple internal systems and, potentially, multiple agents. Moreover, the customer journey is not fully contained within the contact center. Integrating other systems like CRM and marketing automation platforms can provide critical insights into the full customer experience.

CX leaders are building their quality programs around this omnichannel reality, focusing on technology integration to enhance quality monitoring. Many Calabrio customers leverage the Calabrio ONE platform to get 360° customer visibility across every channel, easily tracking a customer interaction as they move from channel to channel. This omnichannel monitoring ensure quality metrics are combined and/or correlated for the same customer and the same issue. This enables quality leaders to see the progression of the CX, recognize potential problem spots in the journey, and ultimately help deliver the frictionless experience that customers demand now.

  • Leveraging advanced analytics to “machine your intuition”: Great quality managers can evaluate an interaction and see everything behind the words—the nuanced qualities that drive great CX. But that level of review takes time, and great quality managers are a finite resource.

Top contact centers solving this problem with advanced analytics that help them “machine the intuition” of their best quality managers. For example, Calabrio Analytics uses next-gen speech and sentiment analytics to go beyond basic key phrases and understand speech patterns and both customer and agent sentiment—for every single interaction. These nuanced insights help quality managers flag calls for detailed review (i.e., ones with negative customer sentiment, or certain customer/agent phrases, etc.). Calabrio’s desktop analytics gives quality managers an unprecedented ability to correlate what’s going on in the call with what the agent is doing on their screen—so they can recognize issues with specific apps, systems, or workflows, and help to create and teach best practices for efficiency.

  • Implement predictive quality scoring: Some of the most mature QM teams are going even further in addressing the challenges of seeing every channel, capturing the full CX, and driving consistent quality across every interaction. With sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) tools now more accessible and practical than ever, they’re using AI-powered predictive evaluations to enable truly automated evaluations and accurate, predictive quality scoring for 100% of interactions.

This AI-powered predictive scoring is already part of Calabrio Quality Management and Analytics. Predictive scoring takes a base set of manual evaluations to begin learning—and just keeps getting smarter (more accurate, consistent and reliable) over time. Calabrio predictive scoring includes around 80 different data points, including all of the aforementioned advanced speech, sentiment and desktop analytics insights that uncover the critical nuance of an interaction. Predictive scoring can fuel QM dashboards, driving alerts to review low-scoring (and high-scoring) interactions. This AI-enabled approach to QM delivers broad CX insights to guide high-level strategy, while helping to focus the attention of QM staff where it matters most.

  • Deliver near real-time agent feedback and AI-powered agent dashboards: An effective agent feedback loop is critical to the success of any QM program—otherwise, your quality metrics are just telling you how you’re doing, but not helping you improve. The challenge is always timeliness. Feedback is best received, and most useful to agents, when delivered as close to the interaction as possible.

Leading QM teams are enabling a truly real-time agent feedback loop. For example, top Calabrio customers are leveraging Calabrio ONE’s integrated analytics and automated evaluation capabilities to populate agent dashboards with real-time performance and quality metrics. Calabrio ONE helps to empower agents to take control of their performance, providing agent performance benchmarking, gamification, and intelligent performance coaching to motivate and guide agent self-improvement. These leading QM teams are recognizing that it’s often as simple as showing agents how they’re doing, how they compare, and where they could improve. The key is having the technology to deliver those insights right when they’re most engaging and useful.

  • Build a contact center performance coaching program: The impact of self-motivated agent improvement can be tremendous. But there are still many instances where structured agent training and performance coaching are necessary in order to give agents the guidance and resources to improve their skills and performance. Most contact centers have formal programs for ongoing agent training and coaching. Yet very few apply the same analytical lens to the performance coaching itself.

Top contact centers are developing performance coaching programs that focus on training the trainers. These programs leverage many of the same tools and technologies to create evaluations, metrics and dashboards that investigate training and coaching effectiveness. Is training driving agent improvement? Are there gaps in training effectiveness? Do agents respond better to certain types of coaching sessions? And just as with agent evaluations, where can you provide targeted training to specific coaches to make them more effective?

  • Integrate employee engagement and agent satisfaction into the quality program: While the ultimate goal of a quality management program is to enhance and maintain an exceptional customer experience, quality leaders increasingly recognize the connection between agent experience and customer experience: Agents who are engaged in their work, feel supported, and are satisfied with their jobs are better equipped, more motivated, and more likely to perform at a high level. To put it simply, EX = CX.

The most successful QM programs integrate forms and evaluations that measure aspects of employee engagement and satisfaction. This helps to identify quality and agent performance issues that may stem from agents feeling unengaged, unsupported, or unsatisfied with their jobs in some way. Rather than spending time and resources trying to provide training that addresses skill gaps, quality leaders can recognize EX as the root of the problem and target their efforts accordingly to build a more engaged workforce.

Change management: Focusing on small—but steady—improvements

It can feel daunting to look at the list above and recognize everything your quality program is not doing. But it can also be empowering and exciting to reframe that list as tremendous potential for improvement. The key is not getting overwhelmed or trying to tackle too much at once. The operating mission of a good quality program should be continuous improvement. Top QM teams take the same approach to modernizing their quality programs and bringing in new tech-enabled capabilities.

This requires starting with a solid foundation of change management best practices. Leveling up your quality management program cannot be viewed in all-or-nothing terms. Instead, you should attack your opportunities for improvement in small steps—with a commitment to steady effort to elevate your QM program with new tools and technologies that give you broader visibility, deeper insights, and ultimately empower, inspire and guide your people to be the best they can be.

Elevate Your Quality Management Program with Calabrio’s Best in Class QM Tools

Nicole Price is a Principal Strategic Consultant at Calabrio
Nicole Price is a Principal Strategic Consultant at Calabrio with over a decade of experience coxswaining Global Workforce Engagement Management and Customer Experience programs, first in High Tech and later in BPOs.
Recent Posts

Start typing and press Enter to search

Send this to a friend