Achieving Results-Driven Quality in Call Centers

Taking the Right Measurements, Analyzing the Right Analytics and Implementing the Right Coaching Techniques

Putting the Right Measurements in Place
Many people in your organization, from the call center front line to the C-suite, make decisions for your customers and interact with them. To ensure your customers get the best possible service and experience, your organization must consistently measure the quality of that experience. When deciding what to measure, it’s wise to seek input from all stakeholders involved.

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Of course, you’ll want to include any KPIs determined by senior management, but you should also look beyond these to the stakeholders at every level of your organization—and you can’t forget your customers.

The best way to find out what the customer needs and wants? Ask them directly. And once you have their response, make sure your people, processes and technology are ready and able to deliver to those expectations.

You will need to ensure the goals for all stakeholder groups are aligned. Check back periodically – at least once a year – to be sure that each group’s goals are still being correctly defined and measured.  There is one exception, though: whenever a Company shifts strategy or focus, or undergoes significant change, you should revisit your goals to ensure they remain current and accurate.

At the end of this process, you should have a written guide defining the skills and behaviors for delivering an exceptional customer experience. Once all personnel levels have signed off on the metrics, you should train your front line to consistently deliver service that fosters loyal customers. I believe you’ll find that these efforts will also create satisfied employees who will understand exactly what is expected of them.

Regularly Analyzing the Results
To benefit from all the effort you put into measuring performance, you must also analyze performance regularly. And rather than stopping short by simply analyzing, you should then make pertinent recommendations to your employees, one-on-one.

Implementing the Right Coaching Techniques
Of all our advice at CSR, the most important bit is that coaching is the key to any employee development program – without it you are just measuring for measurement’s sake, and not to create any ongoing value.

QA programs hinge on several mission-critical components. Without coaching change just will not happen, no matter how many times an agent’s call is monitored and evaluated.

I equate it to being on a diet: stepping on a scale will not bring about the weight loss you want. You need to cut down on your intake (in our case, increase coaching) and exercise (hold staff accountable for changing behavior).

Best practices include constructive feedback designed to develop the employee. Here are some tips for coaching:

  • Let the employee go first – they are often their own worst enemy.
  • When it’s your turn, start with what was done well and highlight the positive.
  • Always balance the positive with what could have been done better – you’d be amazed at how often people don’t realize they need to change a behavior.
  • You’ll need to tackle the tough issues and repeat offenders directly. Let them know the consequences of not changing their behavior.
  • Respect your employee and their right to privacy by keeping what was discussed confidential.
  • Sessions should be scheduled regularly—not just when errors are made.
  • Be consultative – work together to set goals and discuss how employees can achieve them.
  • Enable the supervisor to keep track of individual employee goals.

Specific Metrics to Guide Your Coaching
As promised from last month’s post, here are some common customer engagement metrics that are important to keep an eye on:

  • Did the agent express appreciation?
    For instance, did they thank the customer for their loyalty and show appreciation for their business? This may seem basic, but you would be surprised how often it is skipped. The same goes for apologizing – and yes, it too is often overlooked.
  • Did the agent build rapport during the call, and make the customer feel they were on their side?
    Agents need to make a personal connection with the customer by relating to their needs, showing understanding and creating harmony. To do this, the agent must first uncover the customer’s needs and incorporate them into the conversation.The next step is to address those needs, which can only be done by knowing your products well enough to pinpoint and present the products, services or solution the customer seeks. Building rapport and ensuring the customer feels that the agent is on their side are separate skills. And be aware that rapport-building can be difficult to score, since it’s often subjective or only partially achieved during a call.
  • Did the agent make the experience effortless for the customer?
    How the customer feels at the end of the call is paramount. Is the customer happy about the outcome? Are they relieved? Do they still have to jump through more hoops to get what they want? Making the experience effortless is about advocating for the customer. It’s about the agent taking ownership of the problem and following through until the customer’s issue is resolved. This is done through listening, relating and empathizing, while respecting the customer’s time by keeping the conversation completely focused on addressing their needs.
  • Are your agents brand ambassadors?
    Delivering results-driven quality is an integral, step-by-step process. To properly engage a customer and provide them with a positive customer experience, prerequisites must be met – one of which is the agent’s breadth of knowledge about your brand. To avoid putting the customer on hold for long periods of time – which automatically translates to a poor customer experience – the agent must be an adept brand ambassador, sufficiently familiar with the products and empowered to use what is available to meet the customer’s needs.

Ensuring an optimal experience for every customer requires a diverse skill set, but results-driven coaching can make it a reality for each of your customer service agents.

Have you used results-driven coaching in your call center?