top of page
  • Writer's pictureSharon Oatway

The Future of Quality Assurance in Contact Centers

Updated: May 30

Leveraging AI and coaching for improved performance

Customer service agent

We all understand that quality assurance (QA) is vital in maintaining and enhancing performance within contact centers.


Traditionally, human QA analysts have been responsible for assessing agent interactions to identify areas of improvement. However, with the advent of speech analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), the landscape of QA in contact centers is rapidly evolving.


Speech Analytics and Quality Assurance in Contact Centers


In recent years, the contact center industry has witnessed a significant shift in its approach to QA. According to a survey published in 2023 by Market Research Future, the speech analytics market is expected to reach $9.33 billion by 2030. This underscores the growing recognition of the importance of leveraging technology to gain actionable insights from customer interactions.


Speech analytics employs natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML) algorithms to transcribe, categorize, and analyze recorded calls, enabling organizations to uncover valuable insights. It assists in identifying recurring customer issues, tracking agent adherence to scripts and compliance, and even detecting customer sentiment.


According to a 2021 Aberdeen Group study, companies that employ speech analytics achieve a 16% higher first contact resolution rate and a 12% higher customer satisfaction rate than those that do not. These statistics underline the significant impact speech analytics can have on overall contact center performance. But there are limitations.


While speech analytics provides valuable insight into “what” is happening in customer interactions, it isn’t quite there yet when it comes to “why” things are happening or “how” trends can be reversed.


The Shifting Landscape of Quality Assurance in Contact Centers


There is no question that speech analytics has supercharged our ability to analyze vast quantities of customer interactions, but there are limitations. While speech analytics can analyze customer sentiment without being influenced by biases or emotions, AI may struggle to grasp the context of certain customer interactions.


For example, sarcasm or irony can be challenging for AI algorithms to identify accurately. AI may not fully capture cultural nuances and differences in expressions of sentiment. And while AI can detect basic emotions like happiness, anger, or sadness, it may struggle with more nuanced emotions or subtle changes in tone, making it less reliable.


Why is understanding customer emotions important?


As more and more customers leverage the ever-expanding array of self-serve options, when they do interact with a human customer service representative, the interaction will be complex and laden with customer feelings, reactions, and beliefs. Recognizing customer emotions and responding appropriately, accurately, and empathetically will be critical going forward. This is where great customer service organizations will excel.


The Impacts of Virtual Assistants and Chatbots


Virtual assistants or chatbots are a key area of activity within most contact centers. But these are not the bots of 10 years ago that worked with a limited, pre-determined set of responses.


Today’s virtual assistants leverage NLP and Machine Language (ML) algorithms to understand customer queries, provide relevant responses, and perform tasks or transactions without human intervention. They can answer frequently asked questions, provide product information, guide users through processes, and even initiate transactions or service requests.


The underlying ML algorithms enable virtual assistants to continuously learn from interactions and improve their responses over time, enhancing their effectiveness and accuracy.


Check out this thought-provoking article for more insight on the future of AI in Customer Service: “Conversational AI: The Contact Center's Superpower"

In fact, research conducted by Tidio and published in 2023 found that the majority of customers would use an online chatbot to see if it can help them instead of waiting for a customer service rep to take their call.


Chatbots are expected to save companies billions of dollars annually. Over time, this will significantly reduce the number of human-assisted interactions required (voice, live chat, email) and, in turn, the necessary type and volume of QA.


The Role of QA Analysts and AI-Enabled Coaching


While speech analytics provides a wealth of information, it falls short of addressing the crucial question of how to improve performance. At times, the sheer amount of data can overwhelm many coaches. We all know that QA without coaching is just data and does nothing to raise the bar.


This is where human QA analysts must step in to bridge the gap. While AI tools may do the grunt work in analyzing large volumes of interactions, QA analysts need to identify trends and cherry-pick interactions that offer the greatest insights and opportunities for coaching. Thereby enabling targeted feedback, training recommendations, and actionable performance improvement plans for individual agents.


New Coaching and QA Analyst Skills in an AI World


With the increasing integration of AI in QA and the fact that the interactions customer service representatives will be handling will be more complex and emotion-laden, coaches and QA analysts alike will need to hone their skills to stay ahead of the curve. The days of “ticking boxes” and single-dimension coaching are behind us. Some of these skills include:


  • Data analysis and interpretation. Coaches and QA analysts will need to be proficient in analyzing and interpreting data generated by AI tools. They must have a strong understanding of data analytics techniques and be able to draw meaningful insights from AI-generated reports and performance metrics.

  • Human judgment and empathy. While AI provides valuable insights, coaches and QA analysts must retain their human judgment and empathetic approach in assessing agent performance. They will need to balance AI-generated recommendations with their expertise and contextual understanding to ensure fair and accurate evaluations.

  • ·Coaching and feedback delivery. As AI tools provide insights and recommendations for performance improvement, QA analysts need to excel in translating those recommendations into actionable coaching plans.


How coaching and feedback are delivered to frontline agents will be critical to lifting performance, particularly as what we expect of agents will increase exponentially. Raising the bar often requires a number of skills used together, and coaches and QA analysts need to understand how to convey this effectively. Everyone will need to hone their coaching skills to more sophisticated levels.


  1. Problem-solving and adaptability. This new environment will present coaches and QA analysts with new challenges and complexities. This means they will need to be adaptable and possess strong problem-solving skills. It will no longer be all about compliance but instead evaluating the entire experience holistically.

  2. Continuous learning and upgrading skills. As new technologies evolve, everyone will need to consciously and methodically stay updated with the latest advancements and trends. This means actively seeking opportunities to upgrade their skills through training programs and certifications and staying connected with industry networks and communities (like the QATC).


It’s essential to recognize that AI is a tool to enhance human capabilities. Combining human expertise with AI insights will ultimately lead to better QA and customer experience outcomes.


The Future of QA in Contact Centers


As technology advances, tools supporting QA will undoubtedly evolve. Incorporating sentiment analysis, voice recognition, and emotional intelligence capabilities into AI tools holds the potential for more accurate and contextual coaching recommendations.


This will enable contact centers to provide agents with a deeper understanding of customer emotions, allowing them to tailor their interactions accordingly. By leveraging the strengths of both human expertise and AI capabilities, contact centers can deliver enhanced customer experiences, improved agent performance, and increased operational efficiency.


As the market continues to embrace AI technology to engage directly with customers via self-serve options and indirectly via AI-supported QA, contact centers prioritizing these advancements will gain a competitive edge in the ever-evolving customer service landscape.


 
VereQuiest Logo

Sharon Oatway is a 20+ year veteran in the areas of Customer Service, Sales, and Relationship Marketing. As the President & Chief Experience Officer of VereQuest, she has been instrumental in helping companies of all sizes elevate their overall customer experience and optimize multi-channel contact center performance. The knowledge gleaned from analyzing literally millions of customer interactions for renowned brands across North America is the foundation of this work. Since its inception in 2002, VereQuest has provided organizations with a comprehensive range of tools specifically designed for the contact center, including well-regarded contact center quality monitoring solutions and resources, robust soft skills and coaching e-learning library, and customer journey mapping facilitation. With a unique perspective on the ever-evolving customer landscape, VereQuest assists businesses throughout North America in navigating the complexities of customer engagement.


For more information, contact Sharon directly at info@verequest.com.

Comentarios


Los comentarios se han desactivado.
bottom of page