Dick Bourke discusses how to drive shareholder value by examining the contact centre’s Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Quality Assurance (QA).
To drive true shareholder value, contact centre customer service across all customer-facing channels must be nothing short of excellent.
But how can something as seemingly subjective as a contact centre customer service experience be measured in an effective way that directly correlates to shareholder value?
The truth is that this is not easy as these metrics tend to be measured using different platforms and can be difficult to cross-reference. NPS is typically measured using surveys generated by the marketing department and QA is an operational metric gathered by evaluators and supervisors in the contact centre.
To understand how NPS and QA work together, let’s review how we define these measurements and how they fit into a quality assurance framework.
Understanding Quality Assurance
Most simplistically, quality assurance is a process to maintain the quality of a given product or service.
In a call centre, quality assurance keeps checks and balances on the customer’s experience taking into account things like agent performance, adherence to process and outcomes. The QA process of gathering data, organising it and reporting on outcomes can be thought of as a framework.
The QA scoring process typically evolves from operational through tactical to strategic. In short, operational call centres focus on managing day-to-day process and workflows while tactical call centres are more concerned with growth and scalability. Focused on medium-term business objectives and impact, strategic call centre QA frameworks address longer-term goals and are agents for positive fundamental change.
As call centres evolve between operational, tactical and strategic QA frameworks, more time is dedicated to measuring and identifying potential areas of improvement.
Every call is unique, but uncovering training gaps, negative behaviours or broken internal processes impacts the bigger picture, ultimately driving a greater customer experience and improved NPS.
How Can NPS Be Used to Analyse the Customer Journey?
NPS is used across organisations and sectors as a benchmarking metric to test customer loyalty and sentiment towards the brand. The goal is to drive scores that result in fewer detractors and more promoters through consistently positive customer experiences and outcomes.
Brand NPS vs. Transactional NPS
Think about how many companies you might recommend to friends, or like so much that you might share information about them on social media. The number is likely not very high, which is why high NPS are hard to come by, but also worth working towards.
In his Harvard Business Review article, Frederick Reicheld of Bain & Company writes that “a customer’s willingness to recommend to a friend results from how well the customer is treated by frontline employees…”. Nowhere is this sentiment more relevant than in call centres.
While a broad-scale brand NPS score is a bird’s eye view of how the brand is being perceived, it remains just as, if not more, important to examine specific transactional interactions.
Here we are referring to two different types of NPS scoring: Brand NPS (the holistic approach) and Transactional NPS (the detailed approach):
“How likely are you to recommend our company to a friend?”
“How likely are you to recommend this product you just purchased to a friend?” or, “How likely are you to speak highly of your recent customer service experience with our company?”
If brand NPS is the bird’s eye view, then, as its name implies, transactional NPS gauges a consumer’s feeling about a particular transaction or touchpoint.
A transactional NPS question may be triggered after a sale, call, or email, for example. It will reference a specific consumer transaction that very recently took place.
This type of feedback focuses on understanding what the customer experiences at these particular moments and how it influences their overall brand loyalty. Then, and only then, areas of improvement may be appropriately identified, adjusted, and measured once again.
How to Move the NPS Needle for Greater Impact
In the 2017 Guide to Improving Your Contact Centre Net Promoter Score, Bright UK Limited breaks down the drivers of improved NPS. They are: customer effort, agent engagement, and agent knowledge.
Bright highlights the following actions that can be taken to really push the NPS needle over towards those promoter scores of nine and ten.
- Be fast: There exists a direct relationship between speed of answer and NPS. Also, it is recommended to survey within 10 seconds of the interaction.
- Engage employees: There is a 1:1 relationship between employee NPS scores and customers. Happier employees tend to drive NPS.
- Be knowledgeable: It has been found that knowledge trumps empathy when it comes to NPS. “[Agents] need to demonstrate to the customer that they… have the ability to answer complex queries in a confident and eloquent way.”
- Automate: Automated transactional surveys have nearly a 20% better return than SMS or email.
- Quantify the results: As NPS increases, look to your ROI to understand exactly how much NPS is driving revenue.
Actions taken by Voxpro, an international outsource call centre that services high-volume clients such as Google, Stripe and Airbnb, helped them move the NPS needle.
Kieren McCarthy, Head of Quality at Voxpro, summarises how his team tackled the list above by paying particular attention to engaging employees through a self-scoring mechanism. As employees began to look at each consumer transaction with more dedicated self-awareness, their own brand loyalty increased.
While quality assurance initially dropped, it became more aligned with NPS and customer sentiment, so that managers could make more sense out of what was really going on in each transaction. They were suddenly given precise insight into the challenges agents and customers were facing.
In time, because of this proven 1:1 relationship between employee satisfaction and consumer NPS, Voxpro’s quality assurance and NPS began to successfully climb as intended.
Driving true shareholder value takes time, monitoring, insight and effort. The key connection is the quality of the agent service and the customer NPS score, right down to the individual agent. There’s a certain amount of testing that must be done in order to ask the right questions at the right time, internally and externally, but the results and knowledge are worth it.
The needle gets pushed as call centres evolve their quality assurance initiatives and overlay NPS to provide a clear understanding of the meaningful changes that can be made to deliver improved NPS.
There are several research papers that demonstrate that companies with best-in-class NPS have share values that outperform the market and their competition. This is no easy feat, but it delivers big results.
This is Blog #2 in a Scorebuddy series exploring how Quality Assurance in the contact centre is being used by organisations, large and small, to improve NPS and overall customer experience.