1 Increasing the frequency of evaluations improves call center quality performance
2 HyperQuality 1 INCREASING THE FREQUENCY OF EVALUATIONS IMPROVES CALL CENTER QUALIT Y PERFORMANCE HYPERQUALITY Success at a Glance Challenge A travel services company wanted to reduce call handling time and related costs in its two call centers. Managers also wanted call center agents to work smarter, ensuring that they follow all call procedures, correctly use call tools, and improve accuracy. While these improvements were being sought, the travel services company wanted to maintain agent attendance levels and maintain or improve turnover rates. Solution HyperQuality developed a custom monitoring program for the company to be tested on a subsection of calls at both call centers. The program would evaluate agents and deliver evaluations/feedback via HyperQuality s proprietary Web-based reporting tool, HyperView. The purpose was to test the HyperQuality concept in terms of agent improvement, calibration, opportunities for improvement in average call handle times; and benchmarking on overall quality scores. Results HyperQuality conducted 5,072 evaluations of 211 agents at both call centers. The HyperQuality program produced the following results over the three-month pilot program: An increase in the number of evaluations by up to 500% Revenue generated on calls was increased $100,000 Average talk time was reduced by 4%, for a savings of $78,000 in operational expense Overall Quality Assurance scores increased 12%, and accuracy of agents increased 6% Coaching levels of 100% were achieved Industry Travel Award Redemption Services # of Agents 400 Customer Profile Call Volume 100,000 inbound phone calls per month Types of Calls Inbound phone calls from customers wishing to redeem miles or points Overall, we achieved an ROI of over 10 times on HyperQuality s services... What s surprising is that these improvements were achieved primarily by simply increasing the frequency of monitoring and coaching. But that s something we could never have done using just our internal resources. Corporate Director It is important to note that the company achieved these quality and performance improvements with no impact on agent attendance or schedule adherence. 2015, HyperQuality, Inc.
3 2 HyperQuality Executive Summary Customer contact executives know that call quality monitoring and the coaching of call center agents is one of the best ways to improve a call center. A travel services company, with two domestic call centers and over 400 agents, conducted a call quality monitoring and coaching test utilizing HyperQuality and its proprietary web-based reporting tool, HyperView, at its busy call centers. When agents were evaluated more frequently, the call centers experienced a total net ROI of over $100,000 during the pilot program. The company was able to reduce call handle time saving $78,000 while increasing net profits per call. Total Quality Assurance scores improved almost 12% and the call centers achieved a coaching level of 100%. The travel company received powerful proof that agents will improve when they have frequent, consistent quality assurance monitoring and the related coaching feedback. With the right tools, supervisors can be relieved from the constant pressure to monitor and evaluate agents and to focus on the more important and value added activities of supervising, coaching and day-to-day operations. Call center quality: vital to corporate success. In today s competitive marketplace, successful companies have learned that customer service is often a powerful way to differentiate between your services and those of competitors. Since your call center is the primary touch point between your company and your customers, it goes without saying that improving the quality of your call center s service will improve your company s relationship with customers. In fact, your call center s quality directly impacts every customer s perception of who you are, the customer s loyalty to your company and your products and your bottom line. Call quality monitoring is one of the best ways to improve any call center. In the pursuit of better customer service, call center managers will naturally want to evaluate the performance of their center s agents. While most call center managers agree on the importance of call monitoring, according to Dr. Jon Anton, Researcher and Author at Purdue University s Center for Customer Driven Quality, the average call center evaluates just five calls per every 1,000 calls per month, for each agent. Agents are usually evaluated by supervisors or managers, who may sit side-by-side with agents and listen to customer calls real time, or they may listen to recorded calls. After listening to calls, the supervisor or manager will evaluate the agent and create feedback which is delivered to the agent in the form of a written scorecard, via , or directly in a face-to-face meeting. Monitoring five calls per agent per month may be average for the industry, but how effective is that rate? Using the 1,000 calls per agent per month assumption, a call center would have to monitor 350 calls per agent every month to reach a 95% confidence level. There isn t a call center on earth that can devote the time and resources required to ensure this level of statistical reliability! However, increasing the frequency of call monitoring even by just a few calls per agent per month can have a dramatic impact on a call center s quality...and profitability. This national travel services company contracted with Seattle-based HyperQuality, Inc., to conduct a pilot program of agent evaluations in one of its call centers. One of the focuses of the program was increasing the frequency of agent evaluations, and the results were clear. 2015, HyperQuality, Inc.
4 HyperQuality 3 Company Background The company s operations include approximately 400 call center agents in two call center locations. Agents handle over 100,000 customer contacts per month of inbound phone calls from customers wishing to conduct travel-related transactions. The challenge: improve call quality with more monitoring. The travel services company was considering several areas for improvement of its customer contact services. To begin with, they wanted what all call center managers want reduced call handling time and related costs. In addition, managers knew that the more efficient and successful its agents could be in building travel packages with the lowest fares and rates, the more revenue that would be generated for the company. Therefore, the smarter its agents worked, following call procedures, improving accuracy and correctly using call tools, the better. In addition, while these improvements were being sought, the company wanted to maintain agent attendance levels and maintain or improve turnover rates. The company set as a goal the improvement of its call monitoring program in order to improve service, increase revenue and meet COPC certification requirements. Finally, as part of this program of improved call monitoring, the company was considering a large investment in a third party call recording solution. Management wanted to justify the expense of such a solution, and prove that call monitoring could have a measurable and significant impact on company profitability. Like many companies, at this travel services company the QA monitoring and evaluation of phone calls was handled by its own internal teams, using QA tools and procedures developed by supervisors. The company created an internal group whose main responsibility was the monitoring of other agents. This internal monitoring group was made up primarily of their best agents. In some cases dedicated supervisors were appointed to this team, while in other cases supervisors had the monitoring tasks added to their existing management duties. In monitoring and evaluating agents, scores were focused on three key areas of service: 1. Call handling time 2. Basic business policy 3. Information accuracy Each supervisor conducted approximately five evaluations per agent, per month. The average agent group size was 25 agents, so a supervisor was tasked with performing 125 evaluations per month. Supervisors listened to calls and tallied scores and comments on a written scorecard. After creating the written reports, the supervisors would sit down with the agents and review the scores, with the report ultimately placed in the agent s performance file. Tracking of score history was not done, except in cases where the supervisor felt the need to sit down and manually review an individual agent s record. While the company did experience some minor success with their system of internal monitoring and evaluations (after all, some evaluation is better than none at all), it was soon apparent that the program had several flaws. First, with supervisors evaluating a maximum of five calls per agent per month, the evaluations were too infrequent to have a real impact on each agent s behavior. The company wanted to increase their monitoring to 8-10 calls per agent per month. In addition, the small number of evaluations created a statistically invalid sample size for evaluating center-wide trends. 2015, HyperQuality, Inc.
5 4 HyperQuality Further, scores and comments were subjective, with little opportunity for calibration from supervisor to supervisor or from week to week. Finally, the schedule challenges and day-to-day reality of a busy call center meant that supervisors availability and thus, evaluations were inconsistent. The travel services company was experiencing what happens every day in call centers everywhere. In most call centers, quality monitoring and coaching is considered to be a necessary evil. It s something that is mandated by others (upper management) and takes place if at all when time allows. In most call centers, there is simply not enough staff to get the job done with any regularity. And, of course, on any given day, if call volumes increase unexpectedly (as they often do), supervisors must abandon their monitoring to the back burner so they can jump on the phones and help handle calls. Often, supervisors run out of time and find themselves rushed to complete evaluations during the last few days of the month certainly not the most accurate way to judge an agent s or a center s total quality. Solving the problem: in-house or outsource? The company had two main options for tackling its call monitoring and evaluation challenge. First, the company could have continued its efforts to develop an internal monitoring process and system. For a company of their size and scope, this would have required the investment of millions of dollars more in technology and personnel. The second option was to explore outsourcing their call centers quality monitoring and evaluation. According to Dr. Jon Anton, the primary benefit of outsourcing your call quality monitoring is simple: it gets done! Setting aside the cost savings (which can be substantial), simply increasing the number of evaluations will give you a much more accurate report of your call center s performance. From the typical call center manager s point of view, a number of companies offer so-called call center monitoring, evaluation and/or improvement. In reality, most of these companies primarily provide recording solutions or surveys for agent performance. Monitoring is generally conducted randomly, with variable schedules from agent to agent, from call center to call center, and from month to month. When feedback is given, scores are delivered via paper reports or attachments, rather than a web-based ASP-tool accessible from any location. Finally, these traditional call recording or monitoring companies tend to be heavily consultative in their approach. They can be expected to deliver a broad list of things to fix, but not at the agent-level. And, of course, rather than simply evaluating, the consultant s ultimate goal is to sell its own solutions. When considering outsourcing options, it is vital that your partner be completely objective. This is the only way to get an accurate picture of your call center and each and every agent s true performance. In addition, make sure your potential partner is truly focused on quality, rather than simply on workforce management. While many workforce management solutions will deliver some level of improvement in most call center environments, to achieve truly substantive improvement that is long-term, that builds customer loyalty and that delivers a positive impact to your bottom line, your partner must focus on quality. The travel company tests HyperQuality and gets results. The company contracted with HyperQuality for a three-month pilot program, incorporating some of the work that management had already done in developing their quality monitoring program there was no need to lose that investment by starting over. 2015, HyperQuality, Inc.
6 HyperQuality 5 HyperQuality developed a custom monitoring program to be tested on a subsection of calls at both of the company s call centers. At both call centers, HyperQuality s program would evaluate agents and deliver evaluations and feedback via the company s proprietary web-based data collection and dissemination tool, HyperView. While the company had been evaluating 3-5 evaluations per agent, per month, HyperQuality recommended 12 evaluations per agent, per month. The two companies settled on a compromise of 8 evaluations per agent, per month. The purpose of the pilot program was to prove or disprove the HyperQuality concept in terms of: 1. Agent improvement 2. Calibration 3. Opportunities for improvement in average call handle times 4. Benchmarking on overall quality scores During the pilot program, company agents were evaluated on a variety of attributes, including: 1. Proper call handling a. Correct and complete information b. Accurate resolution 2. Policies and procedures a. Client verification b. Qualifying customers c. Proper hold/transfer procedures d. Advise fare rules/car or hotel policies e. Seat assignments/special needs f. Recap itinerary g. Correct documentation 3. Selling skills a. Transition to search fares b. Present/sell benefits c. Offer additional services 4. Soft skills a. Voice tone b. Acknowledgment of additional information c. Professionalism/rapport d. Call control e. Effective handling of caller objections f. Objection transition for probing g. Directional probe 2015, HyperQuality, Inc.
7 6 HyperQuality h. Effectively check/reinforce probing answers i. Proper closing The program was designed so that supervisors would automatically provide coaching to any agent when that agent s performance went below the threshold of a 90% total QA score. Over the course of the three-month pilot program, HyperQuality conducted 5,072 evaluations of 211 agents at the two call center locations. Agents and supervisors were set-up with HyperView accounts, each with their own log-in and password. Calls were monitored daily by HyperQuality staff, and the evaluations and scores were entered into HyperView, with reports able to be generated for managers, supervisors and individual agents. These reports went well beyond merely compiling data or verifying compliance with a laundry list of requirements. Instead, the reports included useful direction and real advice for agent behavior that could deliver measurable improvements in customer care. Agents and/or supervisors were able to log-in to HyperView at any time and review agent evaluations, listen to recorded calls and review up-to-the-minute reports. Agents logged-on to HyperView to view any of the following reports: Quality Evaluation Displays overall quality results and call category results; Weekly Report Allows the agent to view specific call performance details by attribute; Monthly Report Displays the agent s week-toweek performance by individual attribute and by attribute category; Total Quality Trend Allows the agent to monitor his or her progress and see how he/she stacks up against other agents on the team; Attribute Trend Displays the agent s performance by individual attributes or categories; Quality Impact Shows the agent s monthly performance by attribute category. Supervisors viewed the following reports: Periodic Report Displays overall quality scores by agent and highlights opportunities for EvenBetter performance; Quality Score By Week Weekly snapshot, showing the number of evaluations completed by agent, and the overall quality percentage achieved for all completed evaluations; Stack Rank Summary Shows agent results by quality percentage to compare individual agents performance within a category or among peers; 2015, HyperQuality, Inc.
8 HyperQuality 7 Performance By Threshold Displays number of agents performing within each score threshold, emphasizing what percentage of agents need improvement; Attribute Trending Agent evaluations broken down to show strengths and weaknesses by attribute; Comments Report Displays all comments written, with selection available by attribute; CARE Report Change Add Review Escalation: discrepancy review process that allows agents to question scoring of any call. Coaching Log Report Shows detail by agent on all coaching procedures taken by the direct supervisor. User Frequency Report Shows how frequently agents and/or supervisors are logging in to HyperView to view quality results. More agent monitoring + less supervisor time = success! The pilot program with HyperQuality yielded extremely positive results in several ways. First, the company was able to increase the revenue generated on calls, creating over $100,000 in additional revenue over the three-month program. In addition, the company was able to reduce Average Talk Time by 4%, which resulted in savings of $78,000 in operational expense. The travel services company s management was pleased to see that overall Quality Assurance scores increased 12%, and accuracy of agents increased 6%. In addition, the company achieved coaching levels of 100%. It is important to note that the company achieved these quality and performance improvements with no impact on agent attendance or schedule adherence. XYZ Center Base line Pilot Average Metric Change vs. JULY ARC Monthly Avg. Base line % Change vs. Base line Calls Handled 15,812 14, % Avg. Talk TIme % Avg. Hold % Avg. Handle Time % Overall QA (g) 76.00% 85% 9% 11.84% Accuracy (g) 87.00% 92% 5% 5.75% The power of frequent feedback. The travel services company was very satisfied with the improved quality scores, increased call efficiency and increased revenue experienced at their call centers and surprised that these improvements were achieved primarily through simply increasing the frequency of monitoring and coaching. 2015, HyperQuality, Inc.
9 8 HyperQuality The company received powerful proof that agent performance can improve substantially. The secret lies not in high-tech recording gadgetry or complicated systems, but rather in how often quality monitoring occurs and how often feedback and evaluations are delivered to agents. It s common sense, really. If you coach any person on any skill from call handling to a golf swing the more frequently you coach, the more rapidly improvement will occur. Infrequent coaching results in less, if any, improvement, and in fact allows bad habits to form and take hold. Of course, increasing the frequency of evaluations is a challenge when in-house resources are stretched thin. That s why HyperQuality provides the cost effective means to achieve the frequency of monitoring, evaluation and coaching that can have a real, positive impact on your business. It s like shaving points from your golf game and simultaneously saving money. And that s a real win-win solution! 2015, HyperQuality, Inc.
10 For more information, contact: HyperQuality, Inc. One Convention Place, 701 Pike Street, Suite 1560, Seattle WA Copyright 2015 HyperQuality, Inc. All rights reserved. Other trademarks are registered trademarks and the properties of their respective owners. Product specifications and features are subject to change without notice
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