New Practices in Quality Management

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1 New Practices in Quality Management Spend too little and perform poorly, and your contact centre becomes a business liability that consistently drives away Customers and creates market damage. Conversely, spend too much and overperform, and your centre again becomes a financial loss to the company. If you spend efficiently and perform effectively at a level just better than your competitors or peer group, your call centre will most likely be a profit centre for the company, i.e., acquiring, growing, and retaining profitable Customers.. Dr. Jon Anton, Call Centre Benchmarking, Purdue University Press Managing quality as complexity increases Today, Quality Management is seen as strategic resource to drive the overall Customer experience. Customers are undoubtedly one of the greatest sources of invaluable insight into contact centre performance. Their perception of service and quality is fundamental to contact centres increasing their knowledge of Customer needs and expectations. Insights and feedback realised can be structured to align agent performance objectives, training plans, incentive programs and process improvement initiatives to contact centre and cross functional goals. To be the best contact centre, it is imperative to manage agent performance from both a quantity and quality perspective. These perspectives are translated into agent performance objectives. A small number of key quantity performance objectives must be aligned to an agent s ability to bring an efficient resolution to a Customer interaction (first time fix, average handling time etc.). An additional small number of key quality performance objectives must be aligned to an agent s ability to create and maintain loyal Customers (Quality Rating, Agent transactional NPS score etc.). As Customers become increasingly knowledgeable and regulatory bodies (government and industry standards) become more omnipresent, the best contact centre must ensure the Quality framework includes a Governance and Compliance program. Traditionally, much of this activity was conducted outside of the contact centre by a Quality Assurance function and had a relatively limited scope and focus. The QA s primary role was to audit sample interactions of key business processes for adherence to compliance standards. Whilst this information provided good input for process improvements, it rarely had a significant impact on or insight into Customer Experience. Organisational Health is Linked to Customer Satisfaction An American Contact Centre Satisfaction Index indicated that 95% of Customers who had satisfying experiences with agents would do business with the company again (Teodoru, 2008). The American Customer Satisfaction Index concurred and demonstrated a significant link between Customer satisfaction and organisational profitability. "You don t get a second chance to make a first impression. The same organisation benchmarked contact centre satisfaction across multiple sectors in the US. As shown in the graphic below, the 2010 contact centre satisfaction index (CCSI) is 76 out of 100. There are three drivers of satisfaction with the contact centre experience: Customer Service Representatives (CSR) Customer Service Process, The IVR system Contact centre customers are most satisfied with CSRs (score of 83), followed by the Customer Service Process (78), and the IVR (61). The questions that make up each driver are shown in the CCSI 2010 Model graphic below.

2 In these challenging economic times and within a competitive business environment, attaining excellent Customer satisfaction results is a strategic necessity and a key business objective. Progressive companies realise that Customer service remains the most powerful way for a company to gain a competitive advantage. Businesses are starting to realise the impact that Quality Management has over the bottom line. In the past, contact centres identified cost and efficiency-based metrics as a benchmark of success. Average handling times, agent occupancy and calls per minute were regarded as excellent indictors of a contact centre s performance. In more recent times, the focus has shifted to a more balanced view of performance. An increased focus on Customer satisfaction has required contact centres to implemented quality processes and measures that correlate to Customer Satisfaction and business retention. High performing contact centres align and focus their efforts on building a strong foundation of loyal, profitable Customers who advocate and promote their brand. In order to drive sustainable, profitable growth and competitive differentiation, businesses must better integrate the way they treat Customers with their sales and service strategy. In today s multi-channel environment, high performing contact centres ensure that Customers receive excellent service every each touch point. They recognise that this service delivery ethos must infiltrate all areas of the business, both inside and outside of the contact centre. Achieving this is a continuous battle as competitors increasingly raise the stakes as their needs and expectations change. The Best want to build strong foundations of loyal, profitable Customers who are also advocates of the brand. In order to drive sustainable, profitable growth and competitive differentiation, businesses must better integrate and align the way they treat Customers with their sales and service strategy at each touch point of the relationship, especially those that occur within the contact centre. Achieving this is a continuous battle as competitors increasingly raise the stakes and Customer s expectations evolve. Real-time Post Call Surveys The emerging Quality Model recommends starting with direct Customer feedback and having the frontline agent s performance rating be determined by the Customers themselves. In the new model, the quality monitoring function is re-configured to an audit that determines whether internal procedures are being followed by those front-line agents that do not receive a high volume of low scores. The question of monitoring frequency must take into account not only those agents who are fully functioning but also new hires and exceptions handling. Through post calls surveys, the Customer can provide feedback specifically to the agent about what aspects he/she liked or didn t like about the interaction quickly. The dimensions to measure are the characteristics that have a direct correlation to the overall satisfaction of the Customer. Many software companies provide real time post call surveys. These post-call surveys let contact centres collect Customer feedback more diligently and use the resulting data to pinpoint areas of dissatisfaction. Well designed customer surveys identify the key determinants of satisfaction a that when delivered can help take service quality from more than satisfactory to superior.

3 The current trends in gaining an insight into how service delivery is perceived by Customers include Real Time Post Call Surveys and Customer Effort Score. Whilst Net Promoter Score and Customer Satisfaction Indices are still considered important, contact centres are increasing identifying ways to make it easier for Customers to do business and provide immediate feedback on their interaction. Net Promoter V Customer Effort New measurements have emerged in recent years to further identify areas of quality leakage. Customer Effort Score and Net Promoter Score have a recognised and proven strong link to the Quality Framework. In their article for the Harvard Business Review Stop Trying to Delight your Customers Matthew Dixon, Karen Freeman, Nicholas Toman, propose that the notion that companies must go above and beyond in their Customer service activities is so entrenched that managers rarely examine it. Customer Effort Score (CES) is becoming increasing prevalent in high performing contact centres. There is an increasing amount of evidence to suggest that is a better indicator of loyalty than its predecessors (NPS and CSI). Measuring CES is simple. By capturing the volume and frequency of Customer interactions across all channels over a period of time, it purports to correlate Customer effort with disloyalty. There are multiple ways of measuring CES. Conducting an initial CES survey is of great benefit in understanding how much effort is required by the Customer to do business with your company. The survey is constructed to determine a CES baseline across all channels through which you communicate with the Customer. Once a baseline has been identified, on-going CES scores can be determined through IVR reporting, CLI analysis, CRM solution configuration, post call surveys and internal quality audits. High levels of Customer efforts correlates directly to detractors from your brand. Investment in Quality In order to develop a robust, dynamic and sustainable quality management framework, investment is required. High performing contact centres recognise the need for better sampling, monitoring, calibration, Customer feedback and above all the link to Customer satisfaction and loyalty. Consequently, Quality Managment software companies are increasing their span of products to better support their Customer base and in doing so have changed the Quality Management technology landscape. The introduction of the following capabilities has changed the way quality technology is viewed today; Interaction Evaluation Full call recording Precision monitoring / emotion detection / word spotting Coaching and development tools Interaction Analytics / Data Analytics Real time process optimisation Real time Customer feedback Speech and text analytics High performing contact centres invest more in technology per employee than most other departments. An investment if a Quality Management solution enables greater efficiencies and monitoring frequency. This typically results in an increase in sample size and your scores having greater validity. Moreover, a blend of multimedia voice and screen capturing will provide an enhanced view of an agent s performance and a Customer s experience. Quality Management companies can now offer post call surveys and calibration tools to users within and outside of a contact centre. The ability to remotely monitor quality interactions and view performance on configured dashboards is very beneficial, especially where you have a distributed network of contact centres or if your contact is outsourced. Real-time quality reporting and dashboards can be a key differentiator in service delivery as they allow high performing contact centres to act quickly and adopt to changing business needs.

4 Multiple Interaction Channels Interaction quality monitoring should cover every channel type. Any channel that serves Customer s needs should have a supporting quality monitoring process that effectively identifies quality outcomes. Most companies monitor the quality of inbound and outbound calls. However as Customer channel preferences and demographics change, it is increasingly necessary to measure the quality of s, live chat and post. Live chat is gaining popularity as a new way of interacting with Customers within a particular demographic. While the technology is available, adoption is slow. There is a learning curve to successful implementation and realisation of its full benefits. As with all system implementations, it is fundamental to fully identify business requirements before benefits are realised. More emphasis is placed on governance and compliance with business and industry regulations. Additional focus is also needed to ensure consistency in service, service delivery efficiency and a deeper understanding of Customer expectations. Targeted quality monitoring, calibration techniques and results driven coaching is required for all contact monitoring staff to protect the Customers experience in dealing with your company. More and more companies are now moving towards cloud based solutions as they are seen as more flexible and scalable in today s environment. Solutions such as Scorebuddy offered by Sentient allow for ease of access anytime / anywhere. This is effectively Cloud Based Monitoring, an agent scoring solution to replace quality spreadsheets and reporting, helping call centres scores calls, s or web chats. In addition the scorecard is real time, flexible and can be adapted to suit contact centre business requirements. These solutions have real time agent dashboards, scorecard designer features, scoring interfaces and calibration tools. Increasing use of Agent Calibration Sessions. Increasingly companies are using agent calibration sessions to feed into improving scorecard design and highlighting redundant, misleading or confusing questions How it works: Select a group of 6-10 agents and provide them a blank copy of a quality form. The group then review calls together walking through the current evaluation process discussing their understanding of the purpose of each question, best practice, expected outcomes, and the quality process in general. It is important for a moderator to record their input. Review good calls as well as bad. You will get just as much value in each, use a random selection calls, however, it does make the participants feel good to have their (positive) calls chosen. The benefits from these sessions include: Agents see the QA process in action firsthand Gives the agents an opportunity to interact with the QA team Allows the QA team to see how agents react to the process Gives the agents the time to ask clarifying questions Allows the agents to hear ideas and input from their peers Afterwards, send a quick survey to the attendees to gauge impact. The responses will help build your case for time to do more sessions. Here are a few questions we ask: Do you feel the information provided in this session will assist you in your current role? Do you feel that this session helped you in the overall understanding of the QA guidelines? Does the scorecard reflect what you consider best practice? Do you understand your expectations in regards to the quality guidelines? Would you recommend this session to other agents?

5 Additional Reading This article was commissioned by scorebuddy as one of series focusing on quality strategy and measurement. Other Articles in this series include: What s Driving the focus on Quality in Contact Centres? Common Practices in Quality Management in Today s Contact Centre How aligned is your Quality Model? The Best and the Rest? 12 Tips for Aligning Customer Contact Strategy with your Quality Framework The Role of Calibration in Quality Assessment Author: Ann Marie O Donnell, Senior Consultant, Contact Centre Fusion Contact Centre Fusion are industry recognised, independent experts in the provision of Contact Centre Consulting Services. Their aim is to help Contact Centres deliver better results on core key performance indicators and strategic initiatives. With over 20 years experience in the industry, they provide professional and valuable guidance to Contact Centre Leaders in their pursuit of performance excellence. About scorebuddy Scorebuddy is an award winning simple staff scoring system that replaces spreadsheets and legacy systems for quality scoring. Scorecards can be designed and deployed online to meet every requirement and the quality scores can be easily shared and reviewed. Take a free trial at

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