For most contact centre managers there are a number of important priorities to achieve including:
- Having an efficient operation
- Remaining compliant
- Improving customer satisfaction
While there’s generally no shortage of data available, there are a myriad of metrics to consider.
First there’s the challenge of deciding which metrics to prioritise. Should it be Average Handling Time (AHT), Customer Satisfaction (CSat), First Contact Resolution (FCR) or Net Promoter Score (NPS)? Then, there’s the problem of getting metrics to correlate.
Some scores may be high while others are low, providing conflicting information, and as a result it becomes difficult to gauge the real level of performance and service.
The real question is what does “good” like? And does “good” look different from the customer perspective compared to the organisation’s view?
Structuring Quality Assurance
Scorebuddy suggests that there are three frameworks within which quality assurance should be considered, namely, operational, strategic and tactical.
Deciding on which framework to use will depend on the industry the contact centre operates in as well as the lifecycle stage the business is in.
This framework focuses on the basics such as adherence to processes and procedures so that a consistent basic level of service is delivered. These metrics can track how agents are performing and identify poor performers and training needs.
In terms of QA, it’s the starting point to improving customer service and needs to be in place before managers try to move on to a more strategic or tactical approach.
This framework starts to consider other elements of the overall customer experience, focusing on metrics such as customer retention. Managers may be interested in data that identifies and follows industry trends, or on metrics that align with core business goals.
In terms of agents, managers are interested in identifying knowledge gaps and causes of possible poor performance. There is also the recognition that employee retention/attrition has an impact on the performance of the team.
This framework has a long-term focus and is more challenging to implement. It requires a buy-in from all departments in an organisation recognising that they all have a part to play in delivering a better customer experience.
Metrics that are important are customer loyalty and Net Promoter Score. Employee engagement also plays a more important role and there’s a shift in management style. Agents are empowered to make their own decisions and encouraged to take more responsibility for delivering a better customer service.
Benefits of Self-Assessments
There is a real-time benefit to managers of implementing self-assessments as there is a vast amount of data managers need to be able to analyse in order make decisions, and this can be very time consuming.
When agents do self-assessments then managers are freed up to focus on coaching and mentoring their team. Aside from empowering and motivating agents, self-assessments can also improve learning and development and contribute to better employee retention.
It is worth using technology to help streamline the quality assurance process. Quality assurance can be integrated with interaction analytics to take the human time and subjectivity out of quality assessments.
Can Self-Assessment Really Work?
There is the assumption by many in top management that if agents are allowed to score themselves then everyone will automatically give themselves 100% and it won’t be a true reflection of what’s really happening in the contact centre. However, there is no one more attuned to what the customer is experiencing or the quality of calls than the agents who are handling the contacts.
In a small-scale experiment one call centre manager introduced self-assessment with his agents. The results were not at all what was expected. The manager found that instead of scoring themselves highly, agents were actually more critical of themselves.
Additionally, the exercise showed that agents wanted to learn and improve themselves. More importantly, they could pinpoint the knowledge gaps or service failures far more accurately. Agents picked up on 7 out of 7 areas that could be improved upon for both quality and customer satisfaction, compared to independent assessments that picked up just 3 or 4 out of the 7.
Initially, the metrics reflected that the quality scores dropped but came more in line with the CSat and NPS. Then over time both the quality and CSat scores increased. To support the evidence, one agent stopped doing the self-assessments due to a technical issue and there was subsequently a marked decline in her CSat scores compared to everyone else.
Tips to Try
Here are 3 ideas to try in your contact centre:
- Self-assessments – if not already in use then worth trialling.
- Peer-to-peer coaching – what do their colleagues think? Agents often enjoy learning socially and informally.
- Gamify & Reward – it is important that there is value attributed to good performance. Creating a leaderboard and prizes can be a motivational factor. Quality strategies should always build agents’ confidence up, not knock them down.