More Call Center Quality Monitoring Tips
We’ve covered quality monitoring (QM) before, but it’s such an important topic that there is always more to say, and more good ideas worth exploring. If your call center is still not getting the results you desire, try some of these tips.
A New Focus Every Month
Complacency can result from following the same quality monitoring formula every month. Rather than repeat the same procedures, review recorded calls and select the one issue where correction is needed most. Focus only on that one for the next 30 days, and then review the results at the next QM session. If positive changes have been made, move onto the next most pressing problem.
Recording customer calls will give you all the raw data you need for effective quality monitoring. But some call centers still find it beneficial to test agents, especially new ones, with specific challenges in a role-play scenario. These calls are then monitored just like an actual customer call, to determine if the agent is capable of handling these situations when the real thing comes along.
Your call center agents know it is their performances that are being scrutinized in QM sessions. They’ll feel better about this, and more responsive to its conclusions, if they are invited to be part of the process. That starts with the preparation of the QM checklist on what areas to review and where improvement is needed. If they are consulted in this effort they will be more invested in the result.
Agents can also be involved in the review process. Have them listen to calls from other agents and offer feedback. This also provides excellent preparation for listening to and reviewing their own calls. Some call center coaches have taken to not offering specific feedback, instead letting agents draw their own conclusions on how they can sharpen their skills.
There is an inherent fairness in treating every call center agent equally, and devoting the same amount of time to reviewing their performances via quality monitoring. But given the limited time and personnel resources available, it makes more sense to spend less time with agents who are excelling, and more time bringing those that are struggling up to speed.
What is ‘Quality’?
Before starting a QM program, a call center needs to define a quality customer interaction, and set benchmarks and standards for getting there. When everyone is in agreement on what constitutes a “good” call, this will make it easier to achieve the goals of the program.
Another benefit of including agents in the process, as described previously, is how it can ease tensions over QM sessions, and fears that they are being used as a way to get rid of slackers.
Quality management should be introduced in positive terms, as a way to improve both individual performance and that of the entire call center. Managers and trainers should place equal emphasis on great experiences, by saving the best calls and using them in training sessions. The agents responsible for those engagements should be rewarded for their fine work.
How is Your Competition Doing?
With QM you regularly measure call center performance internally, comparing this month’s results to last month’s and adjusting accordingly. For a fresh perspective, compare your call center to a similar operation for another company. This type of external benchmarking may yield useful ideas on how to get better.
What happens if an agent believes his or her evaluation was unfair? Have a system in place to review results – perhaps bring in a second manager or an experienced agent to provide another opinion.
Don’t Forget Customer Feedback
As your team prepares its monitoring process and quality definitions, some effort should be made to incorporate the views of the most important people in this equation – the customers you are trying to serve better. This information can be gathered from phone surveys or comment cards or social media, or by inviting customers in to attend focus groups. Following the initial implementation, customer feedback should remain an ongoing part of your QM strategy.
Review Evaluation Forms and Agent Scripts
When actors get stuck in a bad play they always say, “If it’s not on the page, it’s not on the stage.” That works with call centers as well. The evaluation form is a key cog in your QM routine, so review it and refine it to make sure the right questions are being asked, the scoring results are consistent and accurate, and the answers are prompting the right form of training. Similarly, make sure that any quality issues with agent performance are not coming from the script read to each customer.
Focus on High Value Calls
While every customer is important, some customer calls are more valuable than others when it comes to quality assurance. Focus on those that expose potential issues with new products or marketing campaigns, or those from the type of customers that are vital to your company’s success. Desktop analytics software can make it easier to locate these calls.
Don’t Wait a Month
It’s not that quality monitoring can’t be effective with monthly meetings – but there are still things that can be done between those sessions to improve call center service. Some managers start each day reviewing the last five calls of a handful of agents from the previous day. Those notes can then be presented at the start of their shifts, or saved for the next QM meeting.
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