The 29 Quality Assurance Mistakes to Avoid e-book and self-assessment includes the question “Are your customers evaluating their level of confidence in the information provided to them as part of your quality process?” The e-book contains a thought-provoking self-assessment that is designed to create self-awareness and leading practice awareness. Unlike benchmarking your Quality Assurance program and ending up being average or acting like someone else, you can deliver the uniqueness that customers are looking for today. Now is the time to discard activities that help you standardize performance to be mediocre. This e-book was designed to help you become a leader.
Why not assessing organizational confidence is a problem?
Saying that brand matters more to Marketing is an incorrect assumption. Contact centers must fulfill the brand promise and uncover gaps in the brand’s promise. When a customer calls a customer service center, they do so with the assumption that the agent they speak with will be more knowledgeable than they themselves and are able to answer their questions. What happens when that perception is not the reality of the situation? Customers lose trust in your brand.
Let’s think for a moment about where an agent obtains product, service, and process knowledge. Contact centers have some type of a learning and development department that is tasked with creating and facilitating training courses for the agents on the phones. How do your trainers get information from and about the organization? How do they know what new courses need to be developed or which existing courses need to be updated? Like the agents on the phones, they are only as good as the information that they are given or that they develop.
Over the course of the 20+ years we have been working with contact centers, we have witnessed firsthand the vital role the organization plays when it comes to the customers being confident and trusting in the answers provided. The organization is responsible for building a foundation of service that fosters trust, and one that strengthens the brand perception and customer relationships. How is your Quality Assurance program supporting this critical need?
Many companies have a clearly defined process in place to ensure that there isn’t a breakdown in communication between the front lines (the agents on the phone) and the development staff that provides the training they receive, but many others operate at the opposite end of that spectrum. For example, one company had a large learning and development department that worked closely with Marketing and Product Development to arm the staff with the tools needed to serve the customers on the phones. New-hire employees would go through a rigorous training program spending several weeks in the classroom absorbing information before taking their first phone calls. During this training the agents were taught the A-Z of what they would face with the customers. But over the years, that new-hire curriculum didn’t change much. The problem was that during those same years, the customers’ needs evolved away from the curriculum. Therefore when the newly hired, freshly trained representatives went live on the phones, they weren’t armed with the current practices and product knowledge in place. In addition to the obvious frustration from the customer who receives sub-par service, the new agent perceived that they were set up to fail – not a desirable frame of reference for the agents. Ultimately the agents were left with disappointed, upset customers and agents were being scrutinized for higher than average attrition rates.
Question #1 of Impact Quality Assurance, “How are we, as an organization, doing at representing our company to customers?”, addresses this issue. How would you rate a customer experience by the example call center? Do you think the company is fulfilling the brand promise by doing their part? Is your quality assurance program assessing if the organization is putting their best foot forward by giving agents the tools to build confidence with customers? How does it feel to a customer when the agent sounds unsure, unaware, or is obviously delivering incorrect information? Are you capturing this and leveraging the insights to develop a holistic Quality Assurance strategy?
Agent development has become a crucial piece to all contact centers. With inadequate agent development, it is likely that customers will lose trust in your brand promise and share their lack of confidence in a public forum. Removing the inadequacies in your agent development programs begins with collecting the right data with your Quality Assurance program. The iQA (Impact Quality Assurance) model provides a holistic strategy to gather the evidence you need, and the supporting elements necessary to drive the right actions, to close the gap between what customers perceive as quality and what the company perceives as quality.
Use this strategy to engage with other departments and build the learning and development tools that build customer centricity. Ultimately, the impact of the organization on the customers’ confidence in information, and delivering on the brand promise, begins with the Quality Assurance program. Implementing iQA will not only help your company get to the front of the pack, it will help you stay there!