We’ve covered quality
monitoring (QM) before, but it’s such an important topic that there is always
more to say, and more good ideas worth exploring. If your call center is still
not getting the results you desire, try some of these tips.
A New Focus Every Month
Complacency can result from
following the same quality monitoring formula every month. Rather than repeat
the same procedures, review recorded calls and select the one issue where
correction is needed most. Focus only on that one for the next 30 days, and
then review the results at the next QM session. If positive changes have been
made, move onto the next most pressing problem.
Recording customer calls
will give you all the raw data you need for effective quality monitoring. But
some call centers still find it beneficial to test agents, especially new ones,
with specific challenges in a role-play scenario. These calls are then
monitored just like an actual customer call, to determine if the agent is
capable of handling these situations when the real thing comes along.
Your call center agents know
it is their performances that are being scrutinized in QM
sessions. They’ll feel better about this, and more responsive to its
conclusions, if they are invited to be part of the process. That starts with
the preparation of the QM checklist on what areas to review and where
improvement is needed. If they are consulted in this effort they will be more
invested in the result.
Agents can also be involved
in the review process. Have them listen to calls from other agents and offer
feedback. This also provides excellent preparation for listening to and
reviewing their own calls. Some call center coaches have taken to not offering
specific feedback, instead letting agents draw their own conclusions on how
they can sharpen their skills.
There is an inherent
fairness in treating every call center agent equally, and devoting the same
amount of time to reviewing their performances via quality monitoring. But
given the limited time and personnel resources available, it makes more sense
to spend less time with agents who are excelling, and more time bringing those
that are struggling up to speed.
What is ‘Quality’?
Before starting a QM
program, a call center needs to define a quality customer interaction, and set
benchmarks and standards for getting there. When everyone is in agreement on
what constitutes a “good” call, this will make it easier to achieve the goals
of the program.
Another benefit of
including agents in the process, as described previously, is how it can ease
tensions over QM sessions, and fears that they are being used as a way to get
rid of slackers.
Quality management should
be introduced in positive terms, as a way to improve both individual
performance and that of the entire call center. Managers and trainers should
place equal emphasis on great experiences, by saving the best calls and using
them in training sessions. The agents responsible for those engagements should
be rewarded for their fine work.
How is Your Competition Doing?
With QM you regularly
measure call center performance internally, comparing this month’s results to
last month’s and adjusting accordingly. For a fresh perspective, compare your
call center to a similar operation for another company. This type of external
benchmarking may yield useful ideas on how to get better.
What happens if an agent
believes his or her evaluation was unfair? Have a system in place to review
results – perhaps bring in a second manager or an experienced agent to provide
Don’t Forget Customer Feedback
As your team prepares its
monitoring process and quality definitions, some effort should be made to
incorporate the views of the most important people in this equation – the
customers you are trying to serve better. This information can be gathered from
phone surveys or comment cards or social media, or by inviting customers in to
attend focus groups. Following the initial implementation, customer feedback
should remain an ongoing part of your QM strategy.
Review Evaluation Forms and Agent Scripts
When actors get stuck in a
bad play they always say, “If it’s not on the page, it’s not on the stage.”
That works with call centers as well. The evaluation form is a key cog in your
QM routine, so review it and refine it to make sure the right questions are
being asked, the scoring results are consistent and accurate, and the answers
are prompting the right form of training. Similarly, make sure that any quality
issues with agent performance are not coming from the script read to each
High Value Calls
While every customer is
important, some customer calls are more valuable than others when it comes to
quality assurance. Focus on those that expose potential issues with new
products or marketing campaigns, or those from the type of customers that are
vital to your company’s success. Desktop analytics software can make it easier
to locate these calls.
Don’t Wait a Month
It’s not that quality monitoring can’t be effective with monthly
meetings – but there are still things that can be done between those sessions
to improve call center service. Some managers start each day reviewing the last
five calls of a handful of agents from the previous day. Those notes can then
be presented at the start of their shifts, or saved for the next QM meeting.