Today’s customers have more choices than ever before. The credit card industry provides a good example. During just one month in 2016, providers sent out 381 million credit card offers. The range of options is virtually incomprehensible, and switching is usually no more complicated than filling out an online form.
In an economy where customers have so much power, it’s no longer enough for businesses to focus on growing their customer base; they also need to retain the customers they have. And the research is clear on the most important factor affecting retention: customer service.
According to one survey, by 2020, customers will give more weight to the quality of service than to either price or product. Even now, 86% of customers are willing to pay more for better service. And 67% of customers cite poor service as a reason for leaving a company.
Those statistics should make any call center manager sit up and take notice: Customer satisfaction is critical to success. On the other hand, business goals also play a role. Your customer satisfaction numbers would go through the roof if you gave callers everything they asked for — but you’d soon go out of business.
The solution is to identify which of your agents’ actions — your key performance indicators (KPIs) — make the biggest impact on the bottom line and to implement a quality assurance program that tells you whether (and to what degree) your agents are performing those behaviors. For many call centers, that’s best accomplished by monitoring calls and using a scorecard to evaluate performance.
If you’re still not sure a quality assurance program founded on quality monitoring would add real value, here are 3 critical and often overlooked aspects of call center QA:
#1 QA Helps you measure what’s important to the business
The most fundamental decision for any business is to decide what you’re trying to accomplish. The next step is to decide how you’ll know whether you’re successful. Once you’ve identified the most important things to focus on, a quality assurance program tells you how well you’re doing and lets you know when you need to take corrective action to get things back on track
The most relevant key performance indicators vary from company to company (and even within the same company, as business needs change), so it’s easy to assume that the answer is, “It depends.” In reality, though, it’s pretty simple: Identify the things that matter, and make sure they’re being done.
As the old business cliché says, what gets measured is what gets done. The very fact that you measure a particular behavior sends employees a strong message about what’s important to the company. Monitoring carefully selected KPIs encourages employee behavior that supports your objectives and discourages behavior that works against those objectives.
The raw data will also help you flag processes which need improvement to further better agent performance and, ultimately, better customer satisfaction.
#2 Give better feedback on agent behavior
If you’ve determined that reducing the amount of time spent on a single call impacts the bottom line, then measuring call length reinforces that message. If you’ve determined that resolving a customer’s problem on the first call benefits retention, then measuring how frequently agents resolve customers’ problems on the first call tells employees what to strive toward.
Today’s customers have made it clear that quality of service matters. Things like rudeness, lack of knowledge, and even lack of interest all work to undermine the customer experience. A good quality assurance program flags problem behavior so that you’ll have a chance to correct it before it costs you a customer.
Again, data comes into play to support your coaching efforts being established as routine. Consistency counts and when it’s supported by metrics, you’ll establish a productive pattern of improvement for the center.
#3 Ensuring regulatory compliance
One overlooked area of quality assurance is that it can help you achieve and maintain regulatory compliance. The digital revolution has unleashed a tsunami of additional regulations, most of them pertaining to data security and customer privacy. PCI-DSS standards, for example, regulate the collection and storage of payment information. Something as simple as jotting down a credit card number to enter later could — if it ever came to light — result in hefty fines. And, when the European Union’s GDPR goes into effect in May of 2018, businesses that have even a single customer in the EU will have a slew of additional regulations to worry about.
A quality assurance program that includes quality monitoring not only helps you identify areas where your agents need more training on regulatory compliance; it also could help you prove your compliance in the event of an investigation.
A call center quality assurance program that includes quality monitoring delivers a number of benefits. The process of creating a strategic QA program helps you determine what’s most important to your business. Knowing that you’re measuring certain behaviors encourages agents to focus on those things. Finally, quality monitoring gives you the foundation you need to lead your agents to success.