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Realizing the True Potential of Quality Monitoring

Monitoring, measuring, and managing service quality and agent performance have become basic “block and tackle” tactics in many contact centers today. However, many organizations are failing to master these tactics even though a single, quick transaction in the contact center can make or break a customer relationship. According to Harris Interactive’s “2011 Customer Experience Impact Report,” 89 percent of consumers quit doing business with a company because of one bad customer experience (up from 59 percent four years ago). By understanding the features and functionality of quality monitoring, organizations can position the software as a competitive advantage versus a commodity. It solves pressing customer concerns and issues before they become the business-disrupting problems that lose business.

The Disconnect between “Ideal” and “Reality”

Quality monitoring software is known for enabling managers, supervisors and quality assurance specialists to monitor and evaluate how well contact center agents handle customer transactions. In an ideal world, the insights gathered from this process are combined with results from customer satisfaction surveys to provide a holistic view of the customer experience.

The reality, however, looks much different. Many companies fail to perform the critical and basic function of call monitoring, or they don’t monitor feedback coming in through different channels like email, instant messaging or the web. Most of the time, the focus is placed on managing internal efficiency-based metrics, while the metrics driven by the customer experience are forgotten. These companies fail to see that it’s not the time of the call that matters, but the outcome⎯if the customers’ issues have not actually been addressed, any other criteria being measured are not important.

While the contact center may do a decent job of addressing one-off customer issues, it often overlooks the step tied to correcting the underlying root causes that are prompting the customer interactions to begin with.

New Requirements for Quality Monitoring

To full maximize the benefits of quality monitoring, the software needs to be seen as a strategic workforce optimization (WFO) tool that a company can use to better understand its customers and improve the overall customer experience.

The basic blue print for effective quality monitoring includes six key steps:

1. Make sure that the transactions you are monitoring are relevant to your business. Ask questions such as: are these transactions related to the company’s goals and objectives, or are they related to specific areas of concern such as customer attrition? Evaluate and calibrate monitoring practices to ensure that the interactions being monitored relate to business goals and objectives and known areas of customer concern. This is the reason that analytics has become a prize technology for the contact center. Speech analytics identifies calls that are relative for evaluation and text analytics identifies email and chat interactions that should be monitored.

2. Capture all of your customer feedback channels. Apply the same quality standard that is used for calls to text-based interactions like email and chat.

3. Listen to the voice of your customer. Instead of using your organization’s internal metrics to measure the quality of a call, ask the customer: “What did you think of your experience and the agent you worked with?” or “Did your service experience match the promise made in our advertising?” It’s important to map high-quality interactions with your customers’ expectations, comparing internal evaluation scores with customer scores. Avoid offering rewards for poor service.

4. Use quality monitoring to help agents improve skills. Evaluate transactions to identify skills gaps, and provide individual learning opportunities where there are deficiencies. Too often training is cancelled due to service level. In the world of WFO, both have to be achieved. That is why eLearning has become integral to agent development.

5.Do not view agent development as a one-off activity. Provide continuous coaching that will help improve agent performance and productivity. Coaching is key to agent success. The ability to automatically identify the need for coaching is a necessity to track the agent’s performance afterwards.

6. Measure your results and keep up a cycle of continuous feedback and evaluation to track and measure progress.

The Competitive Advantage

Thinking about quality monitoring holistically allows organizations to learn from their customer interactions. While monitoring, measuring, and managing agent performance and service quality remain a priority, moving beyond traditional quality monitoring allows companies to use “voice of the customer” intelligence captured across multiple channels to drive better decisions on products, services, and processes. By positioning quality monitoring as more strategic rather than tactical, companies will start to see an improvement in the overall customer experience.

Oscar Alban is Principal, Global Market Consultant, Verint Systems. www.verint.com .