Call centers need to use all available tools to optimize business processes, keep up with fluctuating customer expectations, and provide efficient, personalized customer service.

Call center quality assurance (QA) is a vital part of this process.

Quality Assurance ensures that customer service requests are quickly and effectively addressed, monitored, and followed up on by informed, well-trained agents. All customer support provided needs to be accurate, consistent, and easy for customers to understand. It also needs to be properly measured.

Read on to find out why call center QA is necessary, best practices, how to create a QA framework, and the most common call center quality assurance challenges.


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What is Quality Assurance in a Call Center?

Quality assurance (QA) is the process of monitoring and improving call center performance to gain insights into customer satisfaction levels, employee training materials, budgeting strategies, and the effectiveness of current business software and equipment.

There are various methods for measuring and improving call center performance, but the best strategy for your business ultimately depends on your company’s specific goals.

Call center QA can:

  • Improve Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  • Increase customer loyalty and engagement
  • Streamline data and improve data interpretation
  • Improve conversion rates
  • Identify and fix broken processes and workflows
  • Identify and address root causes of poor performance and service
  • Document and mitigate potential legal risks
  • Set objective team standards and improve the onboarding process


Why is Call Center Quality Assurance Important?

Call center quality assurance is important because it offers business owners insights into the overall customer experience, identifies roadblocks within the customer journey, and serves as an excellent gauge of both agent engagement and customer satisfaction levels.

Quality Assurance helps call center management understand whether or not customers are happy with the products and services they’ve received–a huge indicator of future customer loyalty. Findings from call center QA metrics lower customer churn rates and ensure major issues are curbed before they spiral out of control.

By routinely conducting Quality Assurance testing within their call center, business owners and managers can optimize agent schedules, routing strategies, ring groups, employee training, business processes, IVR and automated call flows, and much more.

At the end of the day, customers are loyal to those companies they feel care about them and their issues. Continuously improving your approach to customer service according to feedback from quality monitoring tools means lower operating costs, less stress on agents, and happier customers.


Methods Of Quality Assurance In Call Centers

There are three types of call center QA methods that you can use to build a framework for agent and customer success: Operational, Tactical, and Strategic.

Most contact centers use a combination of two or more to manage QA for the entire company. Below is a breakdown of these three methods.



Operational QA is a quantitative monitoring approach focused mainly on measuring day-to-day customer service KPIs that provide an accurate assessment of the quality of agent and call center performance.

Operational quality assurance measures how well the call center is performing daily tasks, and therefore deals mostly with micro-level interactions.

Operational QA measures popular call center KPIs like:

  • Inbound/outbound call volume
  • Sales/service quota monitoring
  • First Call Resolution (FCR) rate
  • Average call duration
  • Average Handle Time (AHT)
  • Percent of calls missed, sent to voicemail, transferred to another agent, etc.
  • Call abandonment rate

In the operational method, data is generally collected daily through the use of monitoring tools and evaluated periodically. The downside to this method is that it focuses on a micro-level and may not accurately portray the big picture.

The operational method is useful for finding immediate short-term solutions, but it has less potential for finding the root cause of issues.



The tactical QA method is used to look at the big picture concerns that affect customer service. It’s concerned with improving the overall quality of customer service by identifying root causes of low call center performance and addressing them.

Some of the issues tackled by a tactical framework include:

  • What is causing low customer satisfaction rates?
  • Are there any gaps in agent training?
  • Is there a way to make team workflows more efficient?

Identifying these big picture issues leads to solutions that will impact the call center for years to come.

Tactical QA tools include:

  • Agent self-scoring
  • Customer satisfaction surveys
  • Call center monitoring
  • Trend forecasting
  • Smart analytics (word clouds, etc.)
  • Call recording and transcription
  • Workflow monitoring and WFO platforms

Tactical solutions, such as a restructuring or retraining, generally require more time and resources than operational solutions would, but the end result is a long term solution and a stronger team overall.



The strategic QA method is meant to make sure that the call center aligns with the overall business goals and helps improve the Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Score.

The NPS measures how loyal customers are and how likely they are to recommend your business. The strategic method must come down from upper level management of an organization.

The strategic method answers questions like:

  • How should customer service fit into the overarching business goals?
  • How can customer service strategy be changed to increase customer loyalty and customer retention?
  • How can employee retention be improved in the contact center?

The strategic method focuses on broad questions that address the culture, standards, and goals of an organization. Like the tactical method, the strategic method is used for finding long-term solutions to company-wide problems.


How to Create a QA Framework for a Call Center

A QA framework is essentially a detailed outline of what you wish to accomplish in your company’s call center. Specific targets should be predetermined, along with a plan to address issues as they arise.

The first step is to consider which key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics to measure for quality of service. As there are dozens to choose from, it is impossible to optimize every one simultaneously. Company goals should dictate which KPIs are chosen.

For example:

  • If you wish to prioritize customer experience, you might measure customer effort score (CES), customer satisfaction score (CSAT). Alternatively, you could use a QA scorecard to grade customer-agent interactions.
  • In order to prioritize fast service, you might focus on average handle time (AHT) or first call resolution (FCR).
  • If employee performance is a concern, you might analyze after call work time or average sales per agent.

Once you have a list of KPIs to track, you must decide how to analyze them. Metrics can be measured in a variety of ways such as manual call monitoring, automatic data collection, and customer surveys. Specific industries, such as the healthcare industry, may limit the data that can be legally collected and stored.

Finally, there should be a process in place for turning insights into action. This could mean updating agent scripts, creating a Quality Standard Definition Document (QSDD), streamlining operations, or hiring more agents. a successful framework will ensure that a company’s call center aligns with the organization’s overall vision and goals.

Many CCaaS providers such as Nextiva, Five9, and RingCentral provide digital cloud-based tools to monitor metrics and analyze data and trends over time.

Features like call recording, post call summaries and sentiment analysis don’t just determine what objectives aren’t being met, but also why they aren’t being met.

A strategic QA framework can make or break the customer experience. Although it may be necessary to prioritize one method at first (operational, tactical, or strategic), the most successful call centers leverage a few QA methods at any given time.


Best Practices for Call Center Quality Assurance

Call center QA best practices will look different for every team and depend on the culture, goals, and size of your company.

Putting a few of the suggestions below into practice will increase efficiency in your call center.


Use a Call Center QA Software

Call center software is one of the foundations of any QA program, as it automates tasks, collects and analyzes data, and records conversations. Call Center software tracks many KPIs in real time with alerts, and reports are sent automatically to call center managers at preset intervals.

Call center software can also be used to check for errors in scripts or procedures before they’re put into production, or to monitor call quality so that admins and IT managers know exactly when something needs attention.

Some features to look for in a call center QA software provider include:

  • Automatic call recording
  • Call and speech analytics
  • Omnichannel contact center
  • Performance metric tracking
  • Automated surveys
  • Caller screen pop


Establish a QA Framework Early on And Update Regularly

Having a clear set of guidelines will allow everyone involved–from developers through executives–to understand what’s expected from them at any given point during the customer journey. Clear expectations make communicating easier across teams working on different aspects (as well as within individual teams).

If team members know what KPIs are being tracked and why they will be better equipped to meet benchmarks. If agent scripts and manuals are updated regularly, agents will be able to handle calls better, increasing customer and employee engagement and satisfaction.


Keep Automated and Manual Data Collection Balanced

Manual data collection refers to using tools such as polls, call monitoring (where a supervisor listens in on agent calls and intervenes when necessary), and customer surveys. Relying too much on manual tools is time-intensive and can skew results if the data collected isn’t from a large or diverse enough sample.

Automated data collection quickly gathers and generates straightforward, shareable reports on mass amounts of data. It is helpful for monitoring metrics such as service level, call abandonment rate and peak hour traffic. Using only automated data collection removes the human element of customer support.

In order to get a holistic view of a call center’s performance the two methods should be properly balanced. For quantitative (automated) data like QA scores, regular reports should be shared so everyone knows what’s collected. For manual data, a monitoring method should be adopted to make sure there is an adequate sample size.

Here are some options QA specialists recommend for manual data collection:

  • Random sample monitoring: Selects calls to listen to randomly. This approach will often reveal some hidden insights but can be hit-or-miss.
  • Targeted monitoring: Selects specific agents or call types to inspect for quality management. Can be biased.
  • Analytics-driven monitoring: Uses features like voice analysis to track keywords or phrases in order to pinpoint relevant calls to listen to first.


Set Realistic Schedules for Evaluations and Employees

There are two aspects to consider when it comes to QA scheduling.

First, is scheduling evaluations, calibrations, and data deep dives. These should be done consistently to ensure that enough agent and customer interactions are being monitored to acquire meaningful data. Regular evaluations also help with employee engagement, especially if agents are getting regular and helpful feedback.

Larger businesses might want to evaluate monthly or quarterly, while smaller businesses might conduct evaluations biannually or annually.

The second schedule to consider is those of the call center agents themselves.

The main concerns are to ensure agents are available for calls and not being pushed to the point of burn out, both of which negatively impact customer service. Schedules should be set for agents that are both reasonable and reflect when they are most needed.

For example, breaks should be planned around peak hours and more agents should be on the phones during busier times of the year. Peak call times can easily be discerned with QA software tools.


The Challenges of Call Center Quality Assurance

The quality assurance process is necessary but not simple. To ensure that the best possible service to customers is a continuous process that needs to be implemented at all levels of the organization. The process can be time-consuming and expensive at first, but over time the results in efficiency and improved service will more than compensate for the investment.

Despite the benefits of call center quality assurance, there are risks to be aware of:


An Overabundance of Data

There are well over 100 KPIs that a call center could consider tracking. Many of these can conveniently be monitored automatically using software tools that track every single call center interaction.

However, using only automation leads to an overwhelming amount of data that’s time-consuming at best and leads to erroneous conclusions at worst.

To avoid this challenge, focus only on the most important KPIs and limit monitoring whenever possible, such as only recording a selection of calls instead of all calls.


Misinterpretation of Data and/or Reports

QA software providers generally display data and analysis on dashboards and reports, but they still require interpretation. With any new software, there will be a learning curve.

QA Managers and supervisors should be trained on how to interpret the data and reports that are generated from monitoring.

Additionally, performance management standards should be set and explained ahead of time as to what steps will be taken once the reports are interpreted.


Lack of Action Plans

Though it’s impossible to create a plan of action for every potential call center issue, tackling only a couple metrics at once makes it much easier to create a response strategy ahead of time.

Setting proactive, clearly defined action plans even before an issue eliminates the lag time between identifying issues and creating a plan of action. It also reduces confusion amongst employees.


Pushback From Agents

When a new quality assurance program is introduced, customer service agents may feel that their privacy is being violated or that they will be under a higher level of scrutiny than what they are used to or that they will be “micromanaged”. Some of these concerns may be valid, especially if you’re also monitoring agent social media activity or personal devices. However, QA is still a necessary part of any call center, and it is in a state of constant change.

It is important to ensure that employees feel that their concerns are heard, while also explaining the reasons for call monitoring, and that it is to help agents and not punish them.

This challenge can ultimately be an opportunity to increase employee engagement and remind them of the goals and vision of the organization.


Tips on Improving Call Center Performance

Creating an effective call center QA strategy is not an easy task, but there are some basic tips you can follow to make sure you get the most out of whatever QA framework you build.

  • Use a call recording system. Analyzing customer conversations is often the best way to identify areas where employees could improve their communication skills, find ways to better respond to common customer questions, or find opportunities for adjustments in agent training programs and onboarding. Many CCaaS providers include call recording as a feature and some, such as Dialpad, include AI-powered tools that generate transcripts and post call summaries.
  • Use a call monitoring system that tracks agent performance in real time. The sooner agents are provided with feedback, the sooner they can make adjustments–and the more likely those adjustments will be permanent. If agents only hear about mistakes after the fact through written evaluations or post-call surveys, they have likely already formed a habit of doing things incorrectly.
  • Conduct customer satisfaction surveys regularly. Customer feedback is invaluable to identify areas for improvement in the customer experience. Customer surveys can often reveal root causes of issues that automatic data collection will miss.
  • Conduct personalized coaching sessions with your team leaders. Addressing the individual strengths and weaknesses of agents puts you in a position to optimize call routing and call center structure, ensuring that calls go to the best agent for the specific customer’s issue.
  • Gamify your call center. Establishing a consistent penalty/reward system with call center gamification will encourage good performance, improve customer service, and increase employee engagement.
  • Provide your team with regular training sessions. A successful call center is a flexible one focused on continuous improvement. As changes are made to operations, consistent training is needed to ensure employees are informed, in compliance, and performing  at their best.



To measure quality in a call center, closely monitor KPIs and make adjustments to employee schedules, call groups, routing strategies, and more as needed. The metrics being monitored will depend on the specific goals of the call center. For example, if the goal is faster customer service, you should track average handle time or on-hold time.

The QA team may listen to all, some, or no calls– it depends on the organization and company goals. 

The best way to improve quality assurance is by defining company goals, selecting relevant KPIs to monitor, identifying issues, and then implementing solutions to improve the call center.