Why, When and How SMB Call Centers Can Integrate Quality Management (QM) Teams
These are interesting times for SMB call centers and help desks. Small-scale, in-house and boutique customer contact facilities enjoy unique opportunities in today’s CX-focused market. But the demands for impeccable compliance and better-every-time contact quality often require new systems and processes.
There comes a point in the SMB call center and help desk evolution when, to put it bluntly, spreadsheets aren’t getting it done, and live call monitoring isn’t enough to meet heightened call center quality improvement objectives. Suddenly, contact center leaders start asking themselves—is it time to establish a QM team (gasp!) or a full quality assurance (QA) department?
The prospect can be daunting for operations with limited budgets and tight margins, but QM needn’t be costly or confusing. There are ways to grow into QM as your contact center or help desk grows.
Getting Started with QM Teams
One way to buy some time on the QM journey is to invest in more sophisticated—but not complicated—QM software. Reducing the manual burden of spreadsheets with robust, yet “point and click” call monitoring, recording, and analysis capabilities is a great way to upgrade call center quality improvement with the staffing structure you have.
For many SMB call centers and help desks, their initial QM team interacting with QM software will be a cross-functional one. Team leaders, supervisors and others within the organization can be asked to contribute to the QM mission, and additional training and resources can help them grow their QM know-how.
Although each organization is different, many SMB call centers and help desks will, however, consider dedicating staff to QM as soon as it becomes financially and operationally viable to do so. Here’s why.
#1 Enhance the Focus on Quality
Having even a small call center quality improvement team sends a message—quality is of utmost importance here. What’s more, it assembles specialists dedicated to the study and sharing of quality concepts and skills. These individuals take the lead in creating diagnostic tools like monitoring quality in live and recorded contacts, and identifying ways to train, coach and instill a quality mindset at every level.
All of this takes expertise. Many SMB call centers and help desks benefit from bringing on an experienced QM leader or analyst while also involving individuals with deep background within the company. That way, they can quickly conquer the QM learning curve but ensure that new QM policies and procedures fit the organization’s needs and culture.
#2 Clarify QM “Ownership”
It’s hard to serve two masters, and production floor managers often find that simultaneously attending to outcomes and quality raises conflicts. It can be difficult, for example, to flag the top-selling agent for compliance shortcomings if the supervisor fears a fall-off in sales.
A QM team whose sole mission is to address quality can intervene to promote QM improvements more proactively and effectively. And when the QM team “owns” quality, others across the organization know who to turn to for insights.
#3 Calibrate Quality Evaluations and Metrics
Central to the QM function is the evaluation of contacts for regulatory compliance, adherence to scripting and qualitative features like professionalism, product knowledge and empathy. Few of these measures are clearly black and white—even a Do-Not-Call request can be handled abruptly or with grace.
That doesn’t mean SMB call centers should give up on accurate measurement, though! The key is in calibration among everyone who reviews contacts to ensure they are listening (and looking) for the same things in each call, email, chat and DM.
This is where QM teams—and QM software with recording capabilities and unlimited evaluations—are invaluable. QM specialists can, for example, review and evaluate the same recorded contacts, compare results and adjust team members’ approaches wherever discrepancies appear. Similar processes can be used to train new QM analysts so they monitor and evaluate just like the company’s Old Hats.
With good QM calibration come reliable metrics, so contact center leaders can be confident that the patterns they see in the data are not scoring idiosyncrasies but rather meaningful trends to contemplate.
#4 Drive Quality Organization-Wide
So you’ve got reliable QM data, but what to do with it? Ask the QM team! They are also responsible for acting on QM, from making floor managers aware of quality issues on a particular campaign to engaging in one-on-one, QM-focused coaching with agents. QM teams can advise on training content development, provide contact center leaders with perspective and action items, upskill managers on QM-focused motivation and more.
So what’s your next step in QM? Not sure? Watch our recent webinar, Getting Started with Quality Management, to help you jumpstart your organizations QM process. It provides a wealth of information on how to get your QM processes and practices implemented in your organization, no matter where you are today.