CSR is currently in the process of developing & implementing a new Quality program for a new client. It’s a (dare I say it? fun) process which never gets old – probably due to the truly individual characteristics and particulars specific to each client.
As we’ve developed quality programs for clients over the years, the industries (both our own quality assurance industry, as well as our client’s customer service and call center industries) have continued to change and evolve.
Staying up-to-speed with developments – and having programs remain relevant in the face of change - has contributed a great deal to CSR’s success over the last few decades.
Key Quality Basics
Strangely, sometimes identifying and implementing the ‘new stuff’ (think: procedures, policies or technology) is less important than the points we’ve long taken for granted. We always make sure to share these key pearls of wisdom with our new clients - and we also frequently remind our old clients of these Quality basics.
Calibrations Aren’t Just a Chore. They’re a Tool –
and An Important One.
All four of these basics tend to go without saying, which is why they really are the most fundamental points of any Quality program. That’s why it’s important to repeat them:
1. It All Starts at the Top - It Always Starts at the Top.
It is the supervisors who coach agents that make or break a quality program. And to deliver on the promise of a quality program, supervisors must be supported by management. From the get-go, management buy-in is critically important, and will be one of the largest success factors. Management must commit to the process and provide all the support they can. This includes the tools to make the job efficient, and the time to learn the ropes via the training to make it stick.
Follow up Coaching the Coach sessions (LINK TO TRAINING MODULE) are great refreshers. Supervisors need to be engaged and also supported on a regular basis. It’s almost an axiom in Quality Assurance: if the supervisors sour, so does the program.
2. Calibrations Aren’t Just a Chore. They’re a Tool – and An Important One.
One of the ways in which managers can support their team is to ensure that supervisors have the time they need to undertake routine calibrations.
Calibrations can be tedious, so they sometimes seem like a chore or task to be checked off. But to ensure a consistent focus on the customer service traits management cares about, they really need to be productive and positive learning experiences for the supervisor who will – in turn - eventually coach the agent.
Calibrations run smoothest when healthy conversation is fostered. Ensure that the Supervisors understand the objective, and know how to inspire their agents to provide that experience to your customers.
3. Scoring & Scripts are Great, But Concentrate on the Customer
Don’t get lost in the measurement. The whole point of a quality assurance program isn’t to ensure an agent sticks to a script or receives a certain score. All of these tools are designed for one purpose: to ensure customer service meets a specific company-driven quality standard. The focus is – and should be – on the customer and whether the agent met their needs, with less emphasis on what specifically the agent said or their particular call score. Outcomes matter.
4. Positivity Translates to Success.
The most successful quality assurance programs involve a representative sampling of all employee groups. From the top down (as mentioned above), this should be an ‘all hands on deck’ program, and it must be presented to the team as a force for positive change. Always start coaching sessions by telling the agents what they did well. Remember, the more positive the program, the more helpful it will be to both the agents and the customer – which improves your odds of success.