A call center is a team of people that handles incoming or outgoing customer calls for a business. It may be an-house department of your company or could be part of another organization that you use as an outsourced call center, many of which may go well beyond just calls. Call centers around the world are tasked with effectively managing customer issues through a wide variety of channels — websites, social media, emails, chats, applications, etc.
Call center agents often deal with live calls on the phone, but may commonly also send text messages as a follow-up to service calls. How they handle voice interactions with customers can make or break a business. The effectiveness of a call center and its workflow is measured through quality monitoring.
Call center quality monitoring, which is also known as quality assurance (QA) or quality management (QM), looks at how agents respond to calls based on the customer expectations and requirements. Continuously examining agent performance is an effective method for improving the call center’s service. Call center managers can then look for problems in real-time and deliver solutions that ultimately improve operational performance.
For example, frequent monitoring may reveal that agents are spending too much time on the computer instead of talking to customers. The root cause may be that they’re opening, closing, and managing too many applications to maintain quality standards. Combining these functions into one integrated platform could ease computer use, allowing agents to return to delivering a strong customer experience — but it would take metrics found via quality monitoring to bring this issue to light.
QA is a standardized process that determines whether a call center meets quality standards through such metrics as call volume, number of resolved phone calls, and customer feedback ratings. It also provides a measurable objective so your agents know what they should strive for while solidifying your brand message.
Specific agent behaviors can occasionally lead to mistakes. Something as simple as keeping the caller on hold for 90 seconds while the agent searches for an answer can lead to hanging up. This is something that QA easily measures. To prevent this issue, quality assurance may create a 60-second hold time as a benchmark, which then prompts the agent to check back with the customer before that minute is up.
One common business goal for all organizations is improving caller satisfaction by satisfying customer needs. To do that, you need to ensure that the way you do business meets or exceeds customer expectations. It’s important to know that the people responsible for providing the client experience are doing so in a way that aligns with your company standards and values.
Quality monitoring not only creates a better customer experience, therefore, benefiting customers, but also helps provide employees with clearly outlined goals and expectations for their work. Quality monitoring can increase the efficiency of employees as well, which in turn leads to benefits for the entire company.
The objective metrics that come out of call center quality monitoring are called key performance indicators or KPIs. Managers, QA specialists, and agents must periodically evaluate these numbers to find out how the call center is fulfilling customer needs and expectations. KPIs also assist in setting goals, discovering problems, improving processes, and enhancing the customer experience.
The following are some of the most common KPIs, although it is up to your team to pick the ones that work best for your organization.
Monitoring the quality of a call center produces reams of data that appear on dashboards, graphs, and analysis reports. Managers and customer agents no longer have to rely on a general feeling, such as call responses seem lackluster, or an exceptional event, such as a screaming customer, to define whether their team is doing well or poorly.
Managers can look to increases in first-call resolutions to determine whether an agent deserves a raise. Employees can examine their average handling time with each script to determine which is most effective. Even marketing can point to shorter wait times to encourage customers to use your call center.
Quality monitoring provides hard numbers to justify actions and prompt changes in the process. This transparency increases understanding, and trust, which adds to the benefits described later.
It’s no secret that call centers suffer from high turnovers with an average of 30 to 40 percent and as high as 100 percent in one year. The high-stress environment, abusive customers, low pay, strict schedules, and constant repetition can take their toll.
Quality monitoring helps reduce agent turnover by providing an objective way to measure the performance of agents. Knowing what they need to improve allows them to set goals, particularly if they’re given time each week to evaluate their performance and learn from their mistakes.
These measures empower agents and also act as the foundation for training. Team members benefit from a structured method to improve their performance together. They can also share experiences and learn from each other’s successes and mistakes. Common education boosts morale, which in turn increases the job satisfaction that encourages employees to remain on the job.
Call centers exist to keep customers happy and increase their retention. The odds of selling to an existing customer is 60-70 percent as reported by Forbes. That percentage drops to around 5 to 20 percent when trying to convince a new buyer.
Quality monitoring improves the experience of customers to increase their retention. Modern consumers expect high-quality and personal service. If your company does not align with their expectations, they can easily jump to a different competitor with the click of a button. So quality assurance should not only happen with call centers but with all your contact center channels, including emails, chats, social media, and websites.
For maximum effectiveness, monitoring must cover the entire conversation between the customer and agent and any other members of the team who get involved. Only then can you completely assess whether the call met quality standards. Agents must know what metrics the organization uses to evaluate customer interactions. Feedback from the customer in the form of surveys after the call can contribute to the assessment.
When monitoring identifies the factors that improve customer experience, you can use those factors to identify potential hires who would be a good fit for your call center. You may, for example, discover that agents who use “please” every time that they say “yes,” have the highest conversion rates. If you’re interviewing individual candidates, this can be something you screen for.
Your KPIs may also reveal issues with your call center that can only be addressed by hiring applicants with particular skills. One example may be that the lack of foreign language skills among your agents leads to high abandonment rates from certain customers. You could then hire interviewees who can speak that language fluently.
When you’re ready to start quality monitoring at your call center, you can follow several strategies, including the one outlined in the following steps. If you need help in implementing quality monitoring standards or want a resource for outsourcing to a call center, contact us at TDS Global Solutions. We provide a variety of business solutions for a variety of industries across the globe — finance, healthcare, hospitality, insurance, tech, etc.
A quality assurance manager can implement and take charge of your quality monitoring. They can assemble and lead a team of call center managers and high-performing agents to execute a quality assurance process. He must also have the power to request that team members specialize in the QA process. Their primary goal is to provide providing monitoring solutions that enhance the caller experience.
For the manager and team to succeed, the members must be thoroughly familiar with your brand and how exemplary customer service impacts it. They are ultimately responsible for the success or failure of the QA process.
Then QA team can then choose the most relevant KPIs and create the standards for improving those benchmarks. Eventually, every customer interaction must meet those standards to be considered a success. A typical goal might be to answer 80 percent of calls in 20 seconds or less.
It’s important to measure these KPIs in real-time or throughout the workday for more insightful analysis. One way to achieve that is to create call quality monitoring forms or scorecards that reveal what is important to your organization and its customers. Keep the form short and organize its questions and ratings to follow the flow of a typical call. The form also provides a handy way to give feedback to new employees.
Off-the-shelf training programs may seem to save time and money because they’re readily available. However, these programs don’t take into account the different experience levels, skills, and learning styles of individual call agents. So they may lead to poor training results and lower KPIs.
In contrast, customized agent training adapts the format and content to the learner. It takes into consideration what the individuals need to learn and how he or she prefers to absorb new information. For example, one person may need to be taught more about specific products through written documents while another who has better listening skills benefits from watching multimedia demonstrations.
Personalizing the program increases employee engagement, making trainees eager to meet the goals set by the QA team. This leads to more productive call interactions and boosts the satisfaction of both the employee and his or her customers.
Call center scripts are documents used by agents to guide their customer interactions during live calls. They provide accurate company-approved responses that advance the company’s message. These scripts can range from basic outlines that allow the agents to personalize their encounters to a detailed dialogue with specific language that ensures compliance with regulations and standards.
You can use many techniques to develop scripts. Call recording reveals how customers respond to specific agents, positive reinforcement assures callers that the company will handle the issue, and apologies calm irate customers.
All call center agents should be trained on how to use scripts properly, as they’ll vary from business to business. These documents ensure consistency in customer responses and produce more efficient and effective solutions.
The following are just a few of the tools that you can implement to analyze the effectiveness of your quality monitoring process.
Analyzing agent calls and reviewing his or her quality scores helps you identify strengths and weaknesses in the individual’s training and development. You can then form a plan that magnifies the positive skills and offer one-on-one coaching with the employee to improve performance and customer satisfaction.
One-on-one coaching communicates your plans to agents while giving them personal feedback and encouraging them to learn new skills. Empower them to set their own goals by role-playing certain recordings where you can act as the agent and he or she can act as the customer. The individual then observes first-hand the best way to handle a call.
You can also encourage them to set their own calls by asking them to assess the call: what succeeded, how frustrated was the customer, and what could be done differently. Approach feedback positively with specific suggestions for improvement to allay any fears about the process. Coaching agents periodically rather than once a year helps them to monitor their own growth and improvements in call quality.
The call center often stands out as the only person-to-person contact that your company has with your clients. Quality monitoring measures the effectiveness of your workflow by looking at how agents respond to service calls with an assist from call center software.
It objectively uses numerical metrics called key performance indicators (KPIs). Utilizing these benchmarks to feed the quality assurance process can find the root cause of any issues and determine if the call interaction is meeting customer expectations. Quality monitoring to improve KPIs increases transparency, reduces call center agent turnover, and identifies hiring criteria for agents. All these benefits ultimately enhance the customer experience.
When it comes to quality monitoring and assurance, partners in the TDS network understand how to leverage that information to generate real results for our clients and their call centers. Whether you want to stay close with nearshore outsourcing, score major cost savings in Asia Pacific, or benefit from multi-lingual agents in Latin America, we’ll help you skip the hassle of setting this all up yourself. Contact us today to see how we can help you connect with the right call center partner for your BPO needs.