The Four Steps of Quality Monitoring for Call Centers
In many types of businesses, particularly those where product type, quality and price remain relatively consistent from brand to brand, a customer’s selection and subsequent loyalty may largely depend on the type of service he or she receives. Quality monitoring can play an essential role in helping contact centers provide that outstanding customer service. The goals of a quality program are to ensure consistent, high quality service that meets or surpasses expectations, to recognize agents who are doing a great job, and to identify opportunities where additional training may be needed.
While its primary function is to improve the performance of the contact center and not of individual agents, the latter benefit will be achieved as well as the process unfolds. Obviously, there is a direct connection between how agents treat customers, and how loyal those customers remain to the company. Quality monitoring helps to generate quality interactions, which in turn help to grow the business. Creating an integrated quality monitoring program will take time and preparation, but the results are more than worth the effort.
To get started, you will need to focus on four essential solutions:
- Call Recording
- PCI Compliance
- Quality Scorecards
- Screen Capturing
Let’s take a closer look at each of these elements.
Recording calls is an important step in the quality monitoring process, as it provides the raw data from which customer service will be analyzed. While calls can be reviewed through live monitoring, it can be beneficial to review selected calls by listening to them more than once, and to do so in a quieter, more controlled environment than during an agent’s shift. Also, since quality monitoring will require the input of a number of managers and supervisors, a recording makes it easier for everyone concerned to have access to the customer engagement, and to provide feedback. When differences of opinion arise – as they almost always do when specific parts of a call are being evaluated, repeat listening will once again become essential. Call recording systems should be easy to use, and specific recorded calls should be easy to locate. The system should integrate with ACD and other applications.
Before integrating a call recording solution, make certain the system is compliant with PCI guidelines. Start with a review of these three areas:
There must be a means to cease recording when sensitive data is provided but not necessary to capture. This can be as basic as a Pause and Resume option, or a Mute button. When customer credit card data is transmitted and/or stored, it should be done only after this data has been encrypted.
Both physical and logical access controls should be in place to restrict access to sensitive data. Access should be granted on a need-to-know basis only to those individuals who require it for the function of their jobs. Some contact centers address this by assigning a unique ID to all employees, so there will be an audit trail in the case of an unauthorized access.
Make certain that every aspect of the contact center technology is as secure as possible. That starts with an effective firewall and router, as well as internal processes that provide additional layers of protection. All traffic from unsafe networks and hosts should be restricted, and there should never be any direct access between any network component containing cardholder data and the Internet.
The quality scorecard process should begin with a meeting among all those involved in creating the contact center’s quality management initiative. This is the time to identify goals, define intended outcomes, clarify objectives, and reach a consensus on what constitutes a successful call between an agent and a customer. Some of your goals will be objective, but it’s the subjective measurements, such as agent courtesy, that may be more difficult to gauge. When developing a quality scorecard, make sure to specifically define how courtesy, patience, cooperation, support etc. is measured. Other areas to consider include voice clarity, accuracy, empathy, product knowledge and adherence to procedures. Larger quality scorecards can be organized by category. It might also be helpful to phrase each item in the form of a question, with a rating system of 1-10 (this can provide a better picture of how each agent is performing compared to coworkers as opposed to a simple Yes/No response). Typically, scorecard questions include some variation on the following:
- Was the problem diagnosed?
- Was the customer listened to patiently?
- Are questioning skills to resolve the call effective?
- Were available resources used effectively to resolve the call?
- Was the follow-up action to be taken after the call conveyed properly?
- Were call closure guidelines adhered to?
Data analysis of the scores tells management how well they are doing, what’s going well, and where further training is needed. It also can highlight where changes need to be made to the scripts the sales team follows or to the procedures the service team uses. Done right, it provides excellent information on the “Voice of the Customer” that is critical to the company’s customer satisfaction program.
Call recording data on agent performance, and indeed the entire integrated quality monitoring process, is greatly enhanced when combined with a screen capture platform. Now, you’re not just listening to agents, you’re watching them as they speak with customers and enter data into their computer. This provides a means to identify when workflow issues are impacted by what agents do while they are on a call. Do they have sufficient knowledge of the call center’s CRM and desktop applications? Are they focused on their work? The additional insight that can be gained from watching a customer interaction can be used to improve such vital metrics as call handling time and first call resolution. Plus, when it’s time to train new agents, having archived audio/video recordings to show how the job should be performed will be invaluable. And for new hires, just knowing that screen capturing is in place will provide a powerful incentive to better performance.
“Quality” can be an elusive goal at a contact center with dozens or hundreds of agents, but an integrated quality monitoring program can make a significant difference in how customer service goals are met. However, once the program is in place it should not remain stagnant. Regular reviews through feedback loops will inspire additional fine-tuning and improvements. To learn more about integrated quality monitoring for contact centers, please click the link to watch a series of videos.
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