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Quality Management Across Channels: Back to the Basics

As contact centers continue to evolve, quality management processes will need to keep up. So, why not go back to basics?! Today we review key areas where quality management needs to evolve for multi-channel to keep you ahead of the game.  First let’s discuss transparency. Remaining transparent in business is critical to keeping focus on the objectives at hand. Coaching is a large piece of that transparency. There are five basic steps to coaching that every organization should incorporate.

  1. Educate your staff on what is expected.
  2. Discuss with your staff how to relate their personal goals to driving the bigger company objectives to validate your expectations.
  3. Confirm that your staff understands what is expected.
  4. Establish the escalation steps that will be taken if expectations are not met and the tools available for employees to help them meet these expectations.
  5. Hold your staff accountable.

Keep in mind that goals and objectives across channels may be different, so be clear and specific! It is also important to know where you’re going. What does this mean?  Each employee needs to receive clear top-down direction and feedback as to where they are, what their goals are, and the best way to reach them.

Next let’s discuss how to keep QM consistent across channels in YOUR world.

Remember, every channel is not equal. You cannot carry your forms over from channel to channel and expect to be effective in coaching your agents to better serve customers. There may be a few core behaviors that can be consistent, but the entire form cannot be leveraged successfully.  So, find out what behaviors measure the customer experience for the channel, and monitor them consistently. This goes back to measuring the data that matters. As you gather insight, forms may have to change, and that is expected. Remember to continually update processes and compendiums as you make changes!

Your quality form is in place, a great first step, but you are far from done! Don’t laugh, it’s the truth. Assemble a team to create guidelines which measure what makes “good good” and “bad bad” using specific descriptors, causes, behaviors, and examples.  Document, document, document! It drives consistency across agents, locations, lines of business, and all points in between. Frankly, until you actual define and document the behaviors within in your form, it is not a QM program. 

<Ok Ok, now I have a form AND guidelines. So, I’m done, right?!?>

Wrong again… communicate! Train agents and management on the guidelines so they know what’s expected and how to perform. This leads to QM and management having better reference points for evaluation.

As part of your QM process you must calibrate regularly! Be deliberate about your calibration process. Plan group calibrations carefully to create processes that minimize “the loudest voice wins” effect, explore scoring contacts independently, submit scores ahead of time, and come together to discuss areas of divergence. Create focus in group calibrations to discuss specific parts of the form and expect that participants are well-versed in quality guidelines. Most importantly, remember to update those guidelines as processes change! This is a living document that should evolve and be shared as guidelines change.

Now, how does QM work within your organization? Build a culture that understands how important quality is. They are not the police. They hear your customers and your agents, and can help you drive better processes. Hiring, Quality, Training, Incentives and Motivation all need to be on the same page!

My final tip, take it to the cloud! I have worked in the premise based world for a long time, and the cloud has significant advantages, especially when building workforce optimization in your contact center.  It is easy to experiment and add new connection channels with customers when you are in the cloud. As you add more channels it easier to expand points of service, whether to homes or offices. The cloud allows you to change at the speed of your business and pay for what you use. With premise platforms you are often stuck with old hardware because maintenance and upgrades are just too costly. In the cloud, maintenance and upgrades are included! You are always on the top platform with the newest features. The cloud is more unified, more agile, and more cost-effective. What are you waiting for?

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