Manual Agent Evaluation vs. Automatic Call Scoring for Quality Assurance

9 min read
January 9, 2023 at 5:01 AM

Call centers have long used manual call scoring to ensure quality assurance. But with advances in AI and Voice Analytics, automated call scoring is quickly becoming the preferred method for many contact center managers. 

In this blog post, we'll explore three main approaches to call scoring for quality assurance (manual, software-supported, and automatic call scoring), explore their pros and cons, and provide best practices when using any of the approaches so that you can make an informed decision on which one works best for your organization's needs.

Topics Covered In This Article:

Manual Call Scoring for Quality Assurance

Manual call scoring is a process of evaluating customer service calls by listening to recordings and assigning scores based on predetermined criteria. It involves human judgment and expertise. Manual call scoring requires trained personnel familiar with the criteria used for evaluation, such as customer satisfaction, politeness, problem resolution accuracy, etc.

Benefits of manual call scoring include:

  • The ability to identify areas of improvement in customer service processes and provide feedback to agents so they can improve their performance.
  • It helps ensure compliance with regulations that require companies to monitor their customer interactions.

Manual call scoring presents some challenges. It is time-consuming, as each recording must be carefully listened to assess. Additionally, there is potential bias when assessing calls due to personal preferences or other factors influencing an evaluator’s opinion about a particular interaction. Lastly, scaling up this process can be difficult if a company has many customers or large volumes of calls every day.

In summary, manual call scoring for quality assurance is better than no call scoring. Still, it is very time-consuming and prone to human error, making it necessary to explore automated solutions such as AI-driven voice analytics.


Software-Supported Call Scoring for Quality Assurance

Software-supported call scoring for quality assurance allows contact center supervisors to evaluate call recordings semi-automatically by filling out software-driven evaluation forms. These customizable forms are based on predetermined criteria and integrated into the call recording detail screen.

While it doesn't eliminate the need for manual evaluation, the supervisor is supported by various software features, e.g., they can speed up the call while listening. After the supervisor evaluates the call, the call score is automatically calculated.

One example is MiaRec's Agent Evaluation functionality which is part of the Quality Management module of MiaRec's Conversational Intelligence Platform. The screenshot below shows the screen a supervisor uses to evaluate an agent's performance using MiaRec Agent Evaluation.

Evaluation Form_Use of Tools

Screenshot of a customizable MiaRec Agent Evaluation form filled out


After they are done, MiaRec will automatically calculate the score and create an evaluation report for this call, including a score expressed in percentages and color-coded reasoning for the scores. This allows you to instantly understand which sections had problems and which were done well.

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Screenshot of  side-by-side view the customizable MiaRec Agent Evaluation form with outcomes and transcript with sentiment and topic analysis


Software-supported call scoring offers the following benefits:

  • It allows you to monitor agent performance and detect trends over time,
  • It reduces costs associated with purely manual evaluations, and 
  • There are fewer chances for errors due to incorrect setup or data entry which can lead to more accurate results overall.

Although this type of call scoring has many benefits, there are some challenges to be considered as well. For example, in some Conversational Intelligence platforms, the initial setup and configuration can be time-consuming and require specialized knowledge for it to work correctly. MiaRec's Agent Evaluation, on the other hand, is quick and easy to set up and maintain without the need for technical know-how or specialized personnel.

 

Automated Call Scoring for Quality Assurance

Automated call scoring for quality assurance is a process that uses artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms and automation to evaluate customer service calls. It evaluates each call according to predefined criteria such as accuracy, speed, politeness, etc., and assigns a score without human intervention.

It provides fast results with minimal effort required from personnel and can be used to quickly identify areas of improvement or provide feedback on agents’ performances. This allows managers to quickly assess their team’s performance without having to listen through every single call manually. In addition, Automated Call Scoring provides 100% script and compliance adherence.

One example of automated call scoring is MiaRec's Auto Score Card, an AI-driven automatic call scoring feature powered by MiaRec's Voice Analytics module within its Conversational Intelligence platform. It is very easy and quick to set up:

Evaluation Form Designer_Edit Question

Screenshot of how to set up the Auto Score Card within the MiaRec Form Designer.


Based on the predefined criteria, MiaRec will look for keywords and phrases associated with the call scoring criteria. For example, one criterion is thanking the caller for calling today. As you can see from the screenshot below, the agent used the prescribed script and got a good score for that segment. Each criterion can be weighted, allowing you to emphasize more important aspects over less important ones.

Screenshots

Screenshot of the MiaRec Auto Score Card with custom script adherence configurations showing the evaluation results


MiaRec's Auto Score Card is highly effective when used with sentiment scores. The screenshot below depicts a different example where the agent had to place the customer on hold. The positive language used is reflected in a good agent sentiment score. 

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Screenshot of the Voice Analytics tab of a call record with positive agent sentiment due to the positive language used


Automatic call scoring offers many benefits: 

  1. Visibility. Improved visibility into your direct customer interactions and the capability to score calls efficiently and at scale. 
  2.  Cost. Automatic call scoring reduces costs associated with manual evaluation and eliminates the need for staff members and resources dedicated to manual QA workflows.
  3. Instant Gratification. With the exception of some possible lag caused by the speech-to-text transcription process, which can take a few minutes, scores are generated within seconds. 
  4. Accuracy. Automated systems are typically more accurate than manual methods due to their reliance on algorithms rather than human judgment which may be biased or subjective at times.
  5. Reduce Burnout. Auto QA saves time and resources but also generally helps make the supervisor's job much more enjoyable because there is no need for an individual person or team to tediously listen through each conversation.

Despite its many advantages over traditional methods, there are some potential challenges associated with automated call scoring systems that should be taken into consideration before implementing one in your organization.

  • Automated Call Scoring requires highly accurate Speech-to-Text transcription.
  • It requires an investment in Voice Analytics software, such as MiaRec.
  • Incorrect setup or data entry could lead to errors in the system's evaluations which could have negative impacts on overall quality assurance efforts if not addressed promptly and correctly.
  • Depending on how they are designed and implemented, these systems may also contain certain biases that could affect the accuracy of their results if not adequately monitored by management teams regularly.
Therefore, it is important to ensure proper setup and monitoring of automated call scoring systems to avoid any potential issues arising from incorrect implementation or bias.
 

Which Quality Assurance Call Scoring Method is Right for You?

Each of the above-mentioned call scoring approaches has its advantages and disadvantages, which should be taken into consideration when selecting a method.

Manual Call Scoring For Small Contact Centers Dealing With Highly Sensitive Calls

Manual call scoring requires more time and resources, but can sometimes provide more accurate results than automated methods, especially when the evaluation has to be based on complex criteria or when dealing with highly sensitive calls where accuracy is paramount. However, this also means that there will be additional costs associated with manual evaluation, such as personnel costs, training expenses, etc., making it less cost-effective than other methods.

Software-Supported Call Scoring For Smaller Organizations That Aren't Ready For Voice Analytics

Software-supported call scoring, like the MiaRec Agent Evaluation, reduces some of these costs by automating certain aspects of the evaluation process while still providing accurate results through human judgment in the final decision-making process. This makes it a good option for organizations looking to reduce costs without sacrificing accuracy in their evaluations. The downside is that there may still be additional setup/training costs associated with using this method depending on the complexity of criteria used in evaluations as well as the number of agents being evaluated at any given time.

Automated Call Scoring Is Right For Larger Organizations Looking For Cost Reductions & More Efficiency

Automated call scoring tools, like MiaRec's Auto Score Card, provide fast results with minimal effort required from personnel, but may not be as accurate as other methods due to their reliance on algorithms rather than human judgment. It can also require setup/configuration before use, which can add up over time if done manually. However, many providers offer pre-built solutions, which significantly reduce setup times and costs associated with implementation compared to solutions that you build from scratch.

Deciding Based On Cost

Cost comparison between these three methods depends on factors such as the number of agents being evaluated and the complexity of criteria used in evaluations. However, generally speaking, software-supported and automated (AI-driven) solutions tend to offer better value for your money compared to manual solutions as the cost of resources for manual solutions far exceeds the additional license and set up investment required by semi-automated or fully automated tools.

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Call Scoring for Quality Assurance FAQs

How Is Quality Assurance Measured In A Contact Center?

Quality assurance in a call center is measured by analyzing customer interactions to identify areas of improvement. This can be done through automated quality management systems, which record calls and use voice analytics to detect patterns in customer conversations.

These systems also provide feedback on agent performance, allowing managers to monitor and improve the overall quality of service provided by their contact center. Additionally, compliance officers can use these recordings for audit purposes, and customer service teams can review them to ensure that agents are following company policies and procedures.

What Makes A Great Quality Assurance Scorecard?

Three parameters make a great call scorecard:

  1. Accuracy: The accuracy of the call recordings should be monitored to ensure that all conversations are accurately captured and documented.
  2. Compliance: Quality assurance scorecards should include a measure of compliance with industry regulations, customer service standards, and any other relevant policies or procedures.
  3. Efficiency: Scorecards should also measure how efficiently customer inquiries are handled by measuring response times, resolution rates, and overall customer satisfaction.

What Percentage Of Calls Should Be Scored For Quality Assurance?

The exact percentage of calls that should be evaluated depends on the size and scope of your contact center, as well as the nature of customer interactions. Generally speaking, a good starting point is to have at least 10% of all calls reviewed for quality assurance purposes. This can help ensure that customer service standards are being met and that any issues are identified quickly so they can be addressed promptly.

However, evaluating 100% of your calls gives you a complete and, therefore, much more accurate picture. Additionally, having automated Voice Analytics tools in place can help identify trends or conversation patterns that may require further investigation or additional training for agents.

Conclusion

In conclusion, when it comes to manual vs. software-supported vs. automatic call scoring for quality assurance, there are pros and cons to each approach.

Manual call scoring is time-consuming but sometimes provides more accurate results as the agent's performance can be evaluated in detail. Software-supported call scoring offers a more efficient way of assessing agents while still providing detailed feedback on their performance. Automated call scoring is the most efficient option, requiring minimal effort from managers and agents. However, it may not provide the same level of accuracy as manual or software-supported methods.

Ultimately, it is important to consider your organization’s needs and resources when deciding which form of call scoring for quality assurance best suits you. 

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