The level of call quality may be the single most important determining factor in a contact center’s level of success. When customer inquiries, issues and questions arise, these calls may be one of the few personal interactions your customer has with your company and how it’s perceived. To increase customer satisfaction and public opinions, companies must maintain a high level of customer service which is often measured through contact center quality scores. Here we review some tips to help increase quality and improve customer service in your contact center.
1. Monitor Customer Interactions and Collect Data for Improved Performance
The modern contact center uses omni-channel communication tools. As a result, all channels should be monitored and reviewed for quality assurance. However, few people like the feeling of being watched or someone looking over their shoulder. This feeling holds true where performance monitoring is concerned as well. To help put employees at ease, companies might implement real-time data monitoring tools that allow agents to keep tabs on their own performance and statistics. Using this tactic may even spark some friendly competition amongst their peers.
For quality assurance, it’s also important to record calls and compare them against Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) such as call duration, hold times, transfer times and call types. Using screen recording along with call recording - and scoring the call quality while also viewing the synchronized on-screen agent activity of the agent - gives management a comprehensive view and greater insight into performance. This gives managers and agents a better level of understanding in determining how to take customer experiences to the next level. Last but not least, contact centers can use quality scoring in conjunction with customer satisfaction surveys for process checking and comparison to performance standards.
2. Invest Time and Training when Hiring Agents
Finding the right candidate for the job is the goal of any HR staff member. Although there are many individuals in the job-seeking market that can “work the phones,” it is important to be selective in the hiring process for contact center agents. Companies should be looking for agents that seek to help others and have a pleasant disposition. Attrition rates will decrease and call-quality handling will increase when organizations hire the right people for the right job. A certain amount of experience will be required, of course, but the rest of the job preparation can be accomplished through a solid training program that gets candidates ready to use the software and tools they will be using to perform their daily job functions. Continuous training will help in this area but it all starts with the proper mindset from the onset. Peer training can also be valuable for both seasoned and newer agents, as tips and tricks of the trade can be shared to improve new hire performance, while simultaneously grooming senior staff members for management positions.
3. Provide Individualized Attention for Agent Development
According to a recent report from Customer Contact Week , 61 percent of contact center organizations view coaching as an investment priority for 2018. Coaching is valuable part of call center quality improvement. As contact interactions are reviewed by management, it’s vital to review the outliers – calls that are on either end of the spectrum. Doing so looks at not only what’s going wrong, but also what’s going right so that best practices of top performers can be applied across the board. Additionally, newer employees struggling to use a system that’s new to them may need additional training and practice in a “sandbox” database or time sitting in with other users. Also, employees performing under standards may need refresher training, closer monitoring and individualized coaching. Reinforcing behaviors like script adherence, customer attrition reversal and sales conversation techniques can also provide individualized advice leading to a greater level of quality in the contact center.
Moreover, to avoid making performance evaluations during peak call volumes, it makes sense to run coaching sessions during quieter times, like when you typically experience low connection rates or fewer incoming calls/chats/email inquiries etc. And to automate this process, managers can utilize integrated Workforce Management tools to calculate the best time of day and day of the week to run training based on the natural peaks and valleys in contact levels throughout the average week. Within these one-on-one sessions, company standards and metrics should be reemphasized to ensure expectations are clear. These interactions between a manager and agent are also a good opportunity for agents to rate their own calls and offer suggestions for improvement, or ways to fill gaps in knowledge or experience. And to provide a different perspective, mix up agents and managers across the organization, to obtain new feedback and varying advice.
4. Highly Motivated Agents Produce High-Quality Results
As with any industry, when people are motivated toward an end goal and to produce high-quality work along the way, everyone wins – customer and employer alike. Contact center jobs could easily be categorized as monotonous, with employees performing essentially the same job functions day-in, day-out. With the exception of those staff members that are internally motivated to perform well each day by nature, most companies will find they need to continuously offer ways to keep the majority of their agents motivated. The trick is to find what motivates most employees and implement it. To make that determination, you may need to poll your employees and ask them what incentives they are willing to reach for to improve the quantity and quality of their work. Some are motivated to achieve the most positive customer feedback and some want paid time off or cash bonuses for meeting goals. Playing games as individuals or putting together group competitions to best other agents can be a valid source of motivation. It brings out the competitive nature in everyone and pushes everyone to perform at their best.
5. “Google” your Office Space
Google, Inc. has a reputation for having a fun, play-like office space – perfect for sparking creativity and relaxation. Offering a fun environment with a foosball or ping pong table – plus drinks and snacks - provides a nice break area for employees to recharge their batteries and break up their workday. The average employee spends roughly 1/3 of their lifetime at work. So bringing food in for potlucks or company-sponsored luncheons brings people together and makes that day feel special and provides a nice “reward” for employees. It also helps managers make their employees feel valued. To keep the quality of their work on the rise, the average agent seeks to find ways to make their workday and workplace more enjoyable, and a fun and low-stress environment helps meet this goal.
6. Put your Contact Center Tools to Work
An integrated contact center toolset provides your agents the interfaces they need to access information & resources, as well as update customer data quickly. Having a properly configured Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Solution, with logically-configured routing parameters in place, not only increases the efficiency of call-handling, it also increases customer satisfaction as customers are directed to the agent that can best resolve their issue from the start. And with quality monitoring tools in place containing dashboards, alerts and KPIs, instant alerts can be customized to flag any calls that need attention or are deviating from standards. Gleaning real-time information from these pre-configured tools ensures agents and managers can quickly respond to, and handle issues, before they escalate.
Improving quality and customer service in contact centers is and should be a priority for today’s organizations. Some of these improvement methods include monitoring customer interactions and collecting data statistics to help increase agent performance; putting time into the hiring process as well as the development of agents. Furthermore, experienced contact centers have found that agents who are motivated have better quality interactions with customers. Also, when companies create a low-stress, fun work atmosphere and offer their agents access to the best contact center tools, contact quality scores go up in tandem with the overall level of customer service. And to help your company achieve its quality goals in the contact center, be sure to partner with West. We can help improve call center quality in your organization today!
Within the call center, quality monitoring is vital. Make sure that this is built into the company ethos and day to day life of the business. It should also be continually monitored for effectiveness with a cycle of continuous improvement. It's not just quality score that will improve; with happier staff and improved customer service, it's much easier to keep ahead of the competition and build a loyal following.
If you'd like to learn more about improving customer service and the impact it has on your bottom line, read our research whitepaper "Converting Customer Experience into Revenue."