Call Center Quality Assurance (QA) 101: What It Is & How To Get Started

Call center quality assurance is the process of evaluating and improving customer interactions within a call center. The goal is to improve the customer experience and align service with business objectives.

“This call may be recorded for quality assurance.”

We hear this phrase so often that it might barely register in our conscious minds. But what happens after the call ends? Behind that familiar line lies a whole world of analysis, improvement, and the careful crafting of customer service experiences. Call center quality assurance is the bridge between customer satisfaction and operational efficiency.

In this post, we’ll go over the basics of call center quality assurance, uncover why it matters more than you might think, and provide tips so you can ensure your customers receive the best experience possible.

What is call center quality assurance (QA)?

Call center quality assurance (QA) is the practice of monitoring, evaluating, and improving the quality of customer interactions within a call center. It involves setting standards, analyzing calls or other customer interactions (like live chats and emails), and providing feedback to agents.

The ultimate goal of call center QA is to ensure a consistently positive customer experience, align service delivery with the company’s overall goals, and drive customer loyalty. By maintaining standards and following set guidelines for how callers are treated and handled, businesses can set themselves apart from their competitors and gain a competitive edge in the market.

Call center quality assurance vs. quality control

Quality assurance and quality control (QC) are distinct yet complementary processes, often part of a larger quality management system.

Call center QA is process-oriented and proactive, focusing on preventing mistakes and identifying opportunities for improvement.

In contrast, call center QC is service-oriented and reactive, addressing errors or deviations after they have occurred. This is typically done by monitoring operational metrics like attendance and after-call work, addressing common customer complaints, and identifying areas where agents’ service did not meet established quality standards.

You can compare call center quality management to a fancy restaurant. QA is the chef who experiments with interesting flavor pairings, tries new recipes, and adjusts cooking methods to create high-quality dishes. QC is the taste tester who samples the final product, makes sure the food tastes as it should, and provides feedback to the chef. Both roles are essential to achieve the shared goal of providing an exceptional dining experience.

A side-by-side graphic comparing the differences between call center quality assurance and call center quality control.

Why call center quality assurance is important

In any call center, QA should be a top priority. Without it, you have no way of ensuring your agents are providing the best experience to your customers. Here are a few key reasons QA matters:

  • Identifies issues and makes improvements: By reviewing recordings of actual calls, you can pinpoint problems or spot opportunities for improvement. Maybe some agents struggle with a particular product line or have trouble handling irate customers. With this data, you can implement targeted coaching to strengthen those skills.
  • Ensures a consistent customer experience: Every customer interaction shapes someone’s view of your company. Quality assurance helps guarantee that each experience meets your standards so customers get the same level of service every time they call, regardless of the agent they speak to.
  • Boosts agent performance and morale: Constructive feedback and coaching are key to helping all agents improve and feel supported. Meet with agents regularly to discuss their progress and provide guidance on how to better meet KPIs. Agents will appreciate the investment in their growth and development.
  • Increases customer satisfaction: At the end of the day, the goal of any call center is to satisfy customers. By addressing poor service and ensuring a high standard of interactions, QA directly contributes to improving customer satisfaction levels.
  • Increases efficiency and productivity: An effective QA program can uncover redundant processes and time-wasters that reduce productivity. It also helps identify knowledge gaps so you can provide the necessary training. The end result is a streamlined operation and agents who can resolve customer issues more quickly and accurately.
  • Reduces costs: A high-performing call center team, coupled with efficient systems and workflows, means lower costs for your business. Fewer repeat calls, reduced call times, and less rework all help optimize resources and cut unnecessary expenses.

Call center quality assurance best practices

To ensure the success of a call center quality assurance program, it’s important to adhere to best practices:

  • Make call monitoring systematic: Monitor calls regularly to accurately gauge the quality of service provided. It should be as dependable as your morning coffee routine — consistent, systematic, and often what keeps the chaos at bay.
  • Set clear expectations: Make sure agents understand what “good” looks like by setting clear standards for call quality. Put these standards in writing and train your agents thoroughly. Transparency is essential to ensure everyone is aligned and understands their goals.
  • Provide regular feedback: Pick a schedule that works best for your organization and stick to it. Feedback should be a regular part of your team’s workflow. A steady stream of insights keeps agents engaged and on a path of continuous improvement.
  • Encourage self-assessment: Promote self-assessment as a tool for personal development. Encourage agents to reflect on their performance, identifying strengths and areas for improvement.
  • Reward agents for group work: Acknowledge and reward collective achievements to promote a culture of teamwork and collaboration. Celebrating group efforts underscores the value of working together toward common objectives.
  • Standardize evaluator assessments: Evaluators need to be on the same page to provide fair, unbiased scores. Hold regular calibration sessions with evaluators to ensure feedback is accurate and aligned across the board. This helps prevent evaluator bias and leads to more reliable QA data.
  • Leverage technology to streamline processes: Integrate advanced tools like speech analytics, real-time feedback systems, and automated quality monitoring to simplify workflows and enhance efficiency. This leads to faster coaching, better agent performance, and happier customers.

Create a successful call center QA framework

A comprehensive QA program that aligns with your business goals and objectives can help your agents provide stellar customer experiences while also catching issues early before they become full-blown problems. Follow these steps to build a rock-solid call center quality assurance framework.

1. Choose a method

Based on your needs, decide whether an operational, tactical, or strategic method (or a mix of two or three) will work best for your call center’s goals and objectives:

  • Operational: This is the starting point for most call centers, focusing on the day-to-day operations and workflows. It's essential for maintaining efficiency and customer-centric service but may lack the depth to transform metrics into actionable insights.
  • Tactical: This framework moves beyond daily operations to address medium-term goals focused on improving efficiency and service quality. It's more flexible and allows for adjustments based on data, making it ideal for call centers that have outgrown the operational framework but are not yet ready to adopt a strategic approach.
  • Strategic: This method is for call centers that have evolved beyond the need for tactical adjustments and are looking to align their QA efforts with overall business goals. It focuses on long-term impact, considering the broader picture of how customer service fits into the organization's strategy.

It's not uncommon for contact centers to implement a combination of these methods to ensure a comprehensive QA program. Each method brings unique insights and benefits, and by using a mix of methods, you can gain a holistic view of agent performance and customer interactions in your call center. Regularly review and adapt your chosen method to ensure ongoing effectiveness.

  Operational QA framework Tactical QA framework Strategic QA framework
Outlook Short-term Medium-term Long-term
Focus Process + workflows Efficiency + customer experience (CX) Revenue + overall business strategy
Scope Individual agent performance Team and department-level trends Company-wide impact of call center
  • Maintain consistent service delivery
  • Daily adherence to procedures
  • Improve efficiency
  • Boost agent performance
  • Align call center with business objectives
  • Foster brand loyalty
Recommended KPIs
  • Customer satisfaction (CSAT)
  • Churn rate
  • Average speed of answer (ASA)
  • Net promoter score (NPS)
  • Customer lifetime value (CLV)
  • Conversion rate
Best for New call centers or those with highly standardized processes Established call centers aiming for higher efficiency and customer satisfaction Mature call centers deeply connected to broader business impact

2. Define quality objectives and KPIs

The next step is determining what “quality” means for your call center. Whatever it is, set clear KPIs to measure it. These metrics serve as benchmarks for assessing performance and ensuring alignment with business goals.

Popular call center KPIs include:

  • First call resolution (FCR)
  • Customer satisfaction (CSAT)
  • Net promoter score (NPS)
  • Average handle time (AHT)
  • Occupancy rate
  • First response time (FRT)
  • Average speed of answer (ASA)
  • Average abandonment rate (AAR)
  • Service level (SL)

Review KPIs regularly and adjust as needed. If you aren’t meeting targets, dig into the data to find the issues and determine solutions.

3. Develop evaluation criteria and scorecard

Scorecards provide a structured approach to assessing agent performance and service quality. The evaluation criteria should align with your previously established KPIs, ensuring a focused assessment process.

When considering different criteria, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does it align with your organization's goals?
  • Can it be measured?
  • Does it focus on improvement and development?
  • Is it achievable in real-world situations?

Use a mix of quantitative and qualitative objectives. This can involve creating specific scoring systems for product knowledge, issue resolution, compliance with procedures, or soft skills.

Once you have a draft scorecard, test it out by reviewing calls with your leadership team. Make changes as needed until you have a version everyone agrees is fair and helpful for coaching agents to improve.

If you'd prefer not to create your own scorecard from scratch, check out our free QA scorecard Google Sheets template.

Computer monitor displaying a call center quality assurance scorecard template for Google Sheets.

‍4. Implement monitoring and evaluation mechanisms

Monitoring performance and evaluating results are key to improving your QA program over time. Regularly reviewing call recordings, customer satisfaction surveys, and KPIs will help you understand what’s working and what needs refinement.

Ask agents and managers for feedback on the QA process and look for ways to improve. Continuous improvements to your QA program based on data and feedback will help ensure continued success.

5. Train staff and conduct regular evaluations

Train your evaluators to properly assess calls based on your QA criteria. Explain how to identify what constitutes passing and failing marks for each criterion, and provide examples to illustrate each rating. Have them meet regularly to discuss and calibrate their scoring.

Agents also need to understand the QA standards. Review call scoring rubrics, share examples of model calls, and explain how evaluation impacts performance management. Agents should feel invested in the process and see QA as a tool for continuous improvement, not criticism.

To ensure your QA framework is effective, schedule regular evaluations. This can be done on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, depending on the volume of customer interactions and the resources available.

Conducting consistent evaluations ensures adherence to quality standards, identifies areas for improvement, and enhances overall customer service quality.

6. Provide constructive feedback and coaching

Meet with your agents regularly to review calls and provide thoughtful feedback based on QA evaluation results. Focus on specific examples of what they did well and how they can improve. Explain how certain responses were helpful or not for the customer experience.

Coaching should be a collaborative process that supports agents’ professional growth and encourages them to take ownership of their development.

Choose an answering service that prioritizes quality

Optimizing call center quality assurance is pivotal for maintaining high customer satisfaction and operational efficiency. However, most small businesses lack the necessary resources to run an in-house call center. Virtual receptionists, like those at, offer a flexible and cost-effective solution without the complications and costs associated with traditional call centers.’s virtual receptionists offer a scalable, cost-effective solution without the complexities and expenses associated with traditional call centers. Our virtual receptionists use custom quality assurance workflows guided by your input and enhanced by AI to steer conversations effectively. This integration ensures accurate call handling and documentation — all activities are recorded, summarized, and integrated into your CRM for precise historical records and better call management.

Ready to elevate your customer service while keeping costs in check? Book a free consultation today and discover how our virtual receptionists can enhance your quality assurance.

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Written by Maddy Martin

Maddy Martin is's SVP of Growth. Over the last 15 years, Maddy has built her expertise and reputation in small-business communications, lead conversion, email marketing, partnerships, and SEO.

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