Quality Monitoring: The Never-Ending Quest for a Better Call Center
Maintaining quality, particularly in the customer experience, is critical in every aspect of call center operation. It’s at the heart of everything we do, from technology to agent screening to script creation.
Quality monitoring is how call centers identify what is working and what isn’t. It is primarily a problem-solving system, but it also recognizes areas where things are going well, so those practices can be maintained.
How can you get the most from your quality monitoring efforts? Here are a few tips that may help.
It seems obvious, but still worth noting: You can’t assess which calls are successful until you have a standard for what constitutes a quality customer interaction. That takes into account not just the outcome of the call, but the manner of the agent, the total time required for the engagement, and how it met service levels and KPIs. This process is easier with a quality-monitoring tool that provides a comprehensive view of agent and call center performance.
Review a wide range of calls before setting the benchmark for future success. The objective is to find the very best calls – ones that everyone involved agrees could not possibly have gone any better. Hopefully they won’t be too difficult to find!
Getting Agents Onboard
Initially some agents may view quality monitoring suspiciously, which is not only bad for morale, it could negatively impact the results of your efforts. Make it clear that monitoring is a company-wide necessity designed to make everyone – including managers – more successful at their positions. Make the process collaborative instead of authoritarian.
A Reliable Process
Evaluation forms will likely be part of your QM program. These must be developed correctly, or every subsequent step might be impacted. Make sure you are asking the right questions and getting optimal results from them – that means the kind of responses that dovetail naturally into training and procedural changes to generate better results.
The personnel assigned to head up QM will also be critical to the program’s success. Recruit a team to handle monitoring, evaluating and training, and make sure they have the expertise and the resources to do the job right.
This is another critical aspect of quality monitoring, so it is best decided with the participation of as many employees as possible. Divide each call into sections – greeting, closing, speed, issue resolution, courtesy, empathy, etc. – and then score each segment. This could be done with a letter grade like in school, or on a 1-10 scale. Then, compare results. Don’t be surprised if assessments vary – you are still early in the process and this is how you will determine what qualifies as a great call, a good one, and one that was not well-handled. The more participants become acclimated to the QM system, the closer the scores should get.
Feedback and Dispute Resolution
Feedback is important throughout the process. At the outset you need feedback from your customers, which can be obtained through an advocacy survey. Don’t assume you know what they want or expect from your call center before asking them.
Once monitoring has started, feedback may be handled through individual contact with agents, trainers and other personnel, or through group sessions where findings can be shared, and discussions can take place on how to best achieve whatever milestones were set. The more agents can be involved in this, the more likely they will be to buy into the process, and feel that their input is valued.
Sometimes disputes may arise within a performance evaluation. If this happens, do not just dismiss the objection – schedule a re-evaluation conducted by another member of the team.
Can you trust your agents to self-evaluate? Not at the beginning perhaps – but once they grasp how the process works many may be trusted to assess for themselves how well they are meeting the quality expectations of the call center.
Check QM Against Other Call Centers
How does your call center fare compared to other call centers of similar size and function? Finding out via an outside agency that specializes in external benchmarking can provide a new perspective on how your business is performing.
Recognize and Reward Success
When the quality numbers start trending in the right direction, make sure this is not unnoticed by all of your call center staff. Find a way to reward agents, coaches, trainers and other personnel for their contributions.
The Right Technology
Measuring quality manually is long and arduous process, that is made much more efficient when relevant data is accurately compiled and analyzed automatically.
And yet, many contact centers have still not implemented an automated call monitoring solution, and are thus not gathering the measurable metrics that can only be garnered through effective call monitoring and evaluation.
Before selecting a technology solution to be used in a quality monitoring effort, three questions should be asked:
- Will it improve agent performance?
- Will the data we collect improve efficiency?
- Will our call center monitoring solution protect us from a legal challenge?
Choose the Right Call Monitoring Software
Without the right software, a quality monitoring program is going to struggle. Monitoring of customer interactions should be simple for agents, and the intelligence gathered through the system should be easy to analyze for managers. Also, consider future growth – the software you select should be able to grow with your company, and meet your needs not only today but tomorrow.
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