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Call center quality assurance ensures that customer service requests are quickly and effectively addressed, monitored, and followed up on by well-trained agents. Good customer support should be accurate, consistent, and easy to understand–but it also needs to be properly measured.

80% of modern customers say they feel more emotionally connected to a brand when   an agent successfully solves their support problem. Call center quality assurance (QA) is a vital part of this process.

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.

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) and conversion rates
  • Increase customer loyalty and engagement
  • Streamline data and improve data interpretation
  • Identify and fix broken processes, workflows, and the root cases of poor performance and service
  • Document and mitigate potential legal risks
  • Set objective team standards and improve the onboarding process

For more details, watch our video overeview of call center quality assurance.


Call Center Quality Assurance vs. Quality Control

Call center quality assurance is a system of processes focused on preventing quality issues in the call center like long wait times or abandoned calls.

Call center quality control is a set of activities that works within the quality assurance framework to identify and resolve flaws in the call center system.

Call Center QC Call Center QA
Scope Identification and correction of defects in the call center Any measures taken to monitor or improve call center customer interactions
Activities Identifying common customer complaints, implementing customer self-service to reduce hold times, etc. Monitoring and evaluating KPIs, distributing customer surveys, etc.
Goal To correct call center issues To prevent call center issues and monitor overall call center performance
When to use When there is a specific issue that needs to be addressed At all times


Why is Call Center Quality Assurance Important?

Call center quality assurance is vital to the overall health of the call center for a number of reasons, including:


Identification of Common Customer Issues

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 metrics also uncover the root cause of a negative customer experience, allowing managers to curb them before they spiral out of control.


Improved Communication

74% of CX leaders say improving communication between both customers and employees is an important business objective. Call center quality assurance provides business owners insight 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.


Consistent Customer Experience

Call center QA tools like call recording and automated post-call summaries ensure all agents are following scripts, support guidelines, and providing consistent customer service across all departments and communication channels.


Reduced Costs

The QA process helps managers identify inefficiencies within the call center and suggests potential solutions. These solutions often include 24/7 customer self-service and automated scheduling to manage peak call volumes, as well as automated follow-ups and post-call work to reduce agent workloads.


Improved Agent Performance

Routine quality assurance testing helps managers identify agent training needs, increase team productivity, and optimize agent schedules. QA analytics help managers optimize employee training programs and reduce pressure on call center agents. Their insights help managers create more effective call routing paths and IVR menus, improve ring groups and business processes, and take some of the pressure off of agents.


Increased Customer Retention and Satisfaction

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 call center quality monitoring tools means more satisfied customers and higher loyalty ratings.


Methods Of Quality Assurance In Call Centers

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

Most QA teams and quality assurance analysts use a combination of two or more to manage contact center quality assurance for the entire company. Below is a breakdown of these three methods.



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

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

An operational call center quality assurance program measures popular call center KPIs like:

In the operational method, monitoring tools collect and analyze data daily. 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 examines the big picture concerns affecting customer service. It’s concerned with improving the overall quality of customer service by identifying and addressing root causes of low call center performance.

Some of the issues tackled by a tactical framework include:

  • What is causing low customer satisfaction rates?
  • Are there any gaps in agent training?
  • How can team workflows be more efficient?

Identifying these big picture issues leads to long-lasting solutions to common call center problems. Tactical solutions like restructuring or retraining require more time and resources than operational solutions would, but the end result is a long term solution and a stronger team overall.

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



The strategic QA method ensures 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 does customer service fit into the overarching business goals?
  • How should businesses optimize their customer service strategy to increase customer loyalty and customer retention?
  • How can contact center employee retention be improved?

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.

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.


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.


Step 1: Choose KPIs to Monitor

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.


Step 2: Collect and Analyze Data

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, including manual call monitoring, automatic data collection, and customer surveys. Businesses that handle sensitive customer data, like those in the banking or healthcare industries, may limit the data that can be legally collected and stored.

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


Step 3: Make Systematic Improvements 

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.


Tools For Call Center Quality Assurance

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. Here are some key tools for call center QA.


Call recording software

Call recording software is a CCaaS feature that records (and often transcribes) calls automatically or on-demand and stores recordings as mp3 files in the cloud.

Purpose: Call recordings are used as part of call center QA strategy to ensure customer service standards are being met and assist in agent training.

Key Features: Common call recording features include agent screen recording, cloud storage, automated alerts to all parties that the call is being recorded, transcription, playlists, etc.


Speech and text analytics 

Speech analytics is an AI-powered tool that automatically analyzes voice or text conversations in real-time to detect sentiment, actions items, and more.

Purpose: Speech and text analytics are used to identify FAQs and common issues, monitor the overall tone of customer interactions, and ensure follow-up items don’t fall through the cracks.

Key Features: Common features included automated real-time transcription, sentiment and emotion detection, keyword tracking, etc.


Quality management software 

Quality management software (QMS) is an information system that organizes and manages all policies relating to quality management, including operating/support procedures and customer requirements.

Purpose: QMS systems are used to create custom forms, workflows, and quality related documents, track quality metrics, and organize data on one platform.

Key Features: QMS features include templates, automated reminders, automated quality management workflows, real-time performance reporting, etc.


Live call monitoring

Live call monitoring is a CCaaS feature that enables managers to listen in on agent calls and provide feedback or take over the call if necessary.

Purpose: The purpose of live call monitoring is to ensure consistent and excellent customer service while providing agents with the support they need during a live call.

Key Features: Call monitoring features generally include call listening (supervisors listen in on agent calls), call whisper (supervisors can speak to the agent while on a call without the other party hearing), call barge (converts the call to a three way call), and takeover (allows the supervisor to take over the agent call).


Best Practices for Call Center Quality Assurance

Call center Quality Assurance 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 call center metrics 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. It can also monitor call quality, sending admins and IT managers real-time push notifications when something needs attention.

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

  • Automatic call recording
  • Call and speech analytics
  • Omnichannel contact center
  • Call center quality assurance metrics and tracking
  • Automated surveys
  • Caller screen pop


Establish and Update a QA Framework

Having a clear set of guidelines helps team members understand what's expected from them at any customer journey touchpoints. 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 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.

However, using exclusively automated data collection removes the human element of customer support.

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.

Step one is to schedule consistent evaluations, calibrations, and data deep dives. Larger businesses might want to evaluate monthly or quarterly, while smaller businesses might conduct evaluations biannually or annually.

Step two is to schedule the agents themselves.

The main concerns are to ensure enough agents are available for calls and to reduce agent burnout.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.

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, while platforms like 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.