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What Is AQM (Automated Quality Management) for Call Center: 5 Key Elements of AQM

By April 11, 2024 No Comments
what is aqm automated quality management call center

I want to dig into this idea, what is AQM for call centers, by first ignoring the “automated” part. Why? Because if you look for AQM software on your favorite search engine, you’ll find a bunch of vendors who claim to do automated quality management. Thanks to GenAI, it seems like new companies are popping up left and right.

Before “What Is AQM,” Let’s Start with “What is QA?”

Instead of getting to the automated part yet, let’s go back to the basics: Quality Management in call centers. I’ll use this excellent post titled Call Center Quality Assurance (QA) as a foundation. At the beginning of that post, the author writes:

“Call center QA aims to identify common customer issues, improve customer experience, and help standardize communication processes with customers.”

These three objectives, again listed below, seem pretty foundational, right? Your leadership team needs to have a conversation around the objectives of call center QA for your organization. Maybe they are aligned with these three points, maybe you have special needs to address. Either way, define your objectives because everything you do with your call center QA system should be able to fully support these objectives.

  • Identify common customer issues
  • Improve customer experience
  • help standardize communication processes with customers

Let’s jump down further into their post, to the “tips for call center quality assurance” section. Go to the original post to get the meat of what they wrote, but for now I’m just going to list the five tips:

  1. Set your priorities
  2. QA should be ongoing
  3. QA everyone
  4. QA should help achieve business goals
  5. Don’t lose sight of the customer

If the objectives previously listed are the what-you-are-after, this list of tips can be your guiding principles to check your QA system against. You should always be able to come back to any of these guiding principles and say, yes, we have our priorities set, or yes, our QA system makes sure we don’t lose sight of the customer, etc.

Again, have a conversation with your leadership team about your own guiding principles… maybe you take those 5, maybe massage them, maybe you come up with five that meet your team’s needs.

Traditional Call Center Quality Assurance

Traditionally, quality assurance in a call center has been done by call center quality analysts (or similar job titles). These are people who would listen in on calls, take notes, fill out forms, come to conclusions, and then work with call center agents as needed. They might send feedback, or a report, or a scorecard, to the agent. They would create high-level reports for management.

This has been a very manual, expensive process. There’s no way to do 100% QA on calls unless you had someone listening in on every call for every agent (so, multiple your agent headcount by 2, so you could have an analyst working with them all the time). That’s unreasonable, unsustainable, and in most cases, unaffordable.

So the quality assurance analyst, or team of analysts, would listen to a subset of all calls. A sample size… say, 2% of all calls. But then, do you focus those 2% of efforts on seasoned employees or new employees? Do you spend more time on problem employees or difficult scenarios? Will any employee, or group of employees, feel singled out, and would that create HR or legal problems?

Also, what if you have inconsistencies with the quality of your quality analysts? Could there be favoritism? Could they miss things because, well, they are human and maybe they’re having a bad day? I wrote about a bad call center experience I had, not with the analyst, but with a human. There’s no way you are going to get perfection from humans all the time because life happens. Not a big deal, and we’ve lived with it for a long time, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

An important note: As we advocate for automated quality management in call centers, we are not advocating for eliminating the role of a quality assurance analyst. Shifting their role to take advantage of technology, but not eliminating their role. We’ll talk about that in a minute.

What Is AQM? 

Ah, now the fun stuff. With new technology comes new tools and opportunities. Make sure you understand your objectives and guiding principles, and then consider how you can work towards those objectives, respecting those principles, with automation.

Automated quality management promises things that would otherwise be impossible without technology:

  • 100% monitoring:  Technology can actually analyze every single call that comes in or goes out (although this can be expensive and unnecessary… you can get the intelligence you need with a subset of all of your calls)
  • Consistency of monitoring: You aren’t reliant on emergency PTO, sick leave, staffing issues, upskilling someone, etc. Leaning on tech to do what tech does best allows your employees to focus on what they do best, and what their greatest value is.
  • Process improvement: When you set up your AQM tool, and test it out, you’ll develop a baseline of quality (yes, the quality of your quality monitoring tool). With critical thinking, and artificial intelligence, you can make changes to improve that baseline going from, perhaps 65% accuracy to 75% accuracy to as high as you need to.
  • Immediacy of results: Instead of waiting for an analyst to spend time going through their notes, doing their analysis, creating reports, giving feedback, etc., your automated quality management tool should be able to deliver meaningful, actionable results and feedback catered to each party (ie: the agent, leadership, etc.) almost immediately.

Automated quality management takes advantage of a suite of technologies to achieve those things while delivering on your objectives and abiding by your guiding principles. The software should not drive your processes, rather it should respect your processes and work within your needs.

If you are looking at AQM, or wondering what is AQM and what it looks like, let’s get on a call. We’d love to show you what we are doing and how we are truly delivering on everything in this blog post.

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Jason Alba

Jason Alba

I'm passionate about building great cultures. I love respect in the workforce, especially respect that is earned. I love strategic management, leadership, and vision. I love healthy companies through profitability. I love employee engagement, employee performance, and employee satisfaction. I love how Snowfly can help YOUR organization work towards all of these things.

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