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How to Elevate Your Quality Program to Have a Lasting Impact on Customers, Agents, and Your Organization

Today’s contact center leaders are tasked with continual improvement, encompassing everything from bettering agent engagement and CSAT scores to driving organizational changes needed to meet goals. Quality assurance programs can play a strategic role in helping leaders achieve these goals, but in many organizations, they haven’t yet begun to make an impact. 

According to a recent ICMI benchmark report, only 25% of contact center leaders are currently satisfied with the impact and influence of their quality management programs. This report provides insight as to why:

  • 42% of programs are highly manual. Quality tasks are time-consuming and error prone, and many quality programs don’t scale across a business.
  • Only 3% of phone interactions are evaluated, restricting the insight and impact quality programs can have.
  • Only 9% of agents strongly agree that QA is helping them be successful. The quality process overwhelms them and makes them feel unappreciated, so they are less likely to improve or stay with the organization for the long term.

Quality leaders, however, have an opportunity to buck the trend. They can create a quality program – or elevate an existing one – that has a lasting impact on customers, agents and the overall organization. Consider, for example, the case of an insurance company with more than 1,000 agents that had no cohesive quality program. Evaluations were performed ad hoc, agents never heard their calls and there were no consistent, regular activities that leveraged evaluations to meet business goals. Interactions were selected for evaluation through random sampling and coaching was completed manually.

Recognizing the potential for a new function that could help them drive better outcomes, the company rebuilt a quality program from the bottom up by providing all internal stakeholder with the tools and information they needed to improve on key business metrics.

The company started by surveying agents, supervisors and managers to uncover their greatest needs for a quality program. It found that supervisors wanted quick insights into their team’s performance, while managers wanted KPI tracking and agents wanted coaching that would enable them to improve.

Next, the company invested in a quality management solution along with analytics that automatically monitored 100% of interactions. The insurance company could now identify interactions that impacted its business goals, uncover new opportunities for coaching, and provide the tracking and insights its managers and supervisors wanted. Supervisors leveraged quality results to help them focus on improving specific behaviors that had the greatest impact on metrics, and for the first time, agents were able to self-correct because they could access their calls and perform self-evaluations.

The results were outstanding: The insurance company was able to save $2 million per year on policy renewals and reduce agent evaluation time by 50%. Average handle time was reduced by six seconds per call, and the company experienced a 40% improvement in reporting efficiency.

Want to see similar results as the insurance company? Aligning quality with business goals isn’t as simple as running down a checklist of activities such as evaluating a certain number of interactions per agent per month. It’s about making concerted changes that tie the quality program to your organization’s business objectives. Every initiative in a quality program must connect back to organizational metrics. Here are the steps you must take to create a more impactful quality program.

Know Your Mission

First, you need to determine the role your quality program can play in achieving the contact center’s overarching goals. A retail company, for example, might want to make sure that its quality program is improving CSAT scores, or a bank might want to focus quality on driving higher levels of compliance. Knowing your mission enables you to implement changes that allow your program to adjust the employee behaviors that influence your key metrics. The approach also enables quality programs to provide a foundation for organization-transforming actions and drive the powerful long-term impact that contact center leaders are looking for from quality programs.

Your mission should provide detail on the outcome you want to achieve and how the quality initiatives will support it. For example, if your quality program’s goal is to improve customer satisfaction, you will need to understand what metrics are driving it. Is it escalations, long handle times or specific procedures? The right metric to track may be different for each line of business, product or service. Every quality monitoring metric should clearly tie back to the overarching organizational mission. Putting this into action at the outset accelerates quality’s ability to make an impact across the business.

Conduct a Needs Assessment  

Like the insurance company, your next step should be to survey your internal teams to see how quality can better support them. You can do this by interviewing stakeholders across roles, seniority levels and departments. These insights are often the ideal place for quality managers to start improving their programs.

Once you’ve uncovered what various internal stakeholders need to be successful, you then have an opportunity to meet those needs. The insurance company found that agents wanted coaching that enabled metrics improvements, so it used analytics to uncover the most critical interactions and the quality solution to enable targeted evaluations and coaching. Taking this step empowers quality leaders to get stakeholders at all levels involved and helps them understand the new role that quality is playing.

Benchmark Your Existing Program

Identifying how and where your organization can improve its quality program and better align with business goals requires that you have a firm understanding of where your program stands in comparison to competitors, similar companies and industry trends. Think about it like a road trip: You must know your starting point and what routes and destinations are available before you can make any decisions about your trip.

Benchmarking using industry data allows you to see how top-tier organizations are finding success. It helps you identify best practices and trends that you’re not yet capitalizing on. And it provides direction as to how best to incorporate the trends and best practices you uncover.

Create a Plan

Once you’ve assessed your organization’s immediate needs and understand where your quality program needs to be, it’s time to develop a plan to get there. This is your personalized model – what’s going to work best for your organization and its agents, the processes you should use to achieve goals and the technology that can support your mission.

To minimize disruption, make a plan to roll out the program in phases. Consistent, steady progress and a set cadence will make the biggest impact and show internal leaders how quality is improving without changing too quickly.

Your plan should include governance for how processes should be enacted as well as how data should be utilized. This will ensure that employees moving between groups have a consistent experience and that all groups have the same expectations.

Support Your Mission with Quality Automation

Delivering on your quality program’s mission isn’t a one-and-done project. It requires frequent change and adjustments as new people join your organization and new processes are implemented. 

The most effective way to consistently assess your organization’s performance and make it more effective is by leveraging modern quality management tools that include analytics. Because analytics monitors all interactions, it provides an efficient way for organization to focus on the most meaningful conversations between agents and customers across all channels. Together with a quality solution, analytics helps organization gain deeper insight into how individuals and the business as a whole are tracking against specific KPIs.

Quality evaluation forms that automatically answer and score questions using speech, text and desktop analytics as well as metadata provide efficiencies and consistency in a QA program. If less complex or scripted questions are automatically answered, supervisors can spend more time focusing on the subjective aspects of an interaction and provide coaching on specific behaviors. Modern quality solutions have real-time dashboards, making it easy for stakeholders at all levels to see only the pertinent information.

In turn, this ensures that agents feel that the quality program is representative of their performance, so they’re more engaged with coaching and training efforts. And executives feel similarly, so they’re empowered to take quality results into account when making business decisions.

Reassess Regularly

New opportunities to support employees’ pursuit of business goals can occur at any time, and to identify them, regular assessment must be built into your quality model. Empower agents to provide feedback on the quality process by having them complete a survey or a self-evaluation and then calibrate with their supervisor. This enables your quality team and supervisors to consistently gather new insights needed to update and enhance its processes, and it ensures that gents better understand quality and how it can help them improve.

Your organization can achieve transformational quality results – just as the insurance company did – by taking a strategic approach tied to the company’s goals. Quality leaders that do so have a more strategic impact on the organization, ultimately improving customer experience, engaging agents, and making quality central to executives’ decision-making. 

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