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Multichannel Monitoring; Much More than a QA Score

Why do you monitor any customer service channels?

To ensure your business is delivering the high quality customer service you have promised, to ensure your customers are happy but ultimately to retain your existing customers. Notice a trend? It’s all about customers. There are many other reasons for quality monitoring customer service channels but they are all secondary to customers. Customers are the top priority and throughout the monitoring process they need to stay the top priority (they often slip down through the pecking order).

The other priority groups are; the business and compliance.

Multichannel monitoring is much more than scoring a different quality monitoring scorecard per channel. Before you get to quality scoring you need to consider your multichannel strategy and then the monitoring tactics for each channel. To get into the mind-set let’s review the top challenges that arise in multichannel monitoring and potential solutions.

Solutions to Common Multichannel Monitoring Challenges

Challenge: Not understanding why you are using some channels.

Solution: Justify why your organisation is using each channel (probably because your customers use these channels and there’s a demand for it). If you can’t justify any particular channel you probably shouldn’t be using it. Communicate the justification to necessary parties.

Challenge: Not understanding the different approaches that should be applied per channel.

Solution: Research best practices for customer service in each channel and use these in training, show worst case and best case scenarios, good answers and bad answers. Showcase how you want agents to deal with customers on each channel, outline what’s appropriate and what’s not and be realistic. Walk agents through sample interactions.

Challenge: FUD – Fear, uncertainty and doubt; experienced by all or any stakeholders (and yes that includes customers).

Solution: Ensure your call centre agents are well trained with soft skills to reassure customers when they are in doubt, having a good level of emotional intelligence in a customer service role can make a difference in putting a customer at ease or not. The best way to reduce FUD for everyone is to inform and educate: get to the root of the cause of why supervisors are uncertain about their team’s quality monitoring results. Understand why agents are fearful of performance reviews involving multichannel monitoring scores.

Challenge: How to measure and compare the performance across all channels.

Solution: Document what is important on each channel, as they won’t be the same from one channel to the next. Monitor interactions on each channel based on their dedicated criteria. A simple way to monitor is to use scorecards that give scores on a percentage, flag critical fails and award kudos points for great work. This way you can have a variety of scorecards for each channel but the end results are comparable.

Challenge: Consistency of service across multiple channels.

Solution: This is a loaded challenge with many solutions, here are two:

  1. Scenario & role playing.
    In training showcase an example of the same problem and the same customer and what it would look/sound like if it came through from various challenges. Agree on the appropriate response per channel for each of these. The “response” must be described in detail, the words are only one part of it, identify the appropriate time to respond for each, the tone, the amount of information given to customer and requested from the customer and if appropriate the direction to a different channel.
  2. Analysing your metrics and scores by slicing and dicing.
    Metrics to measure customer service can be quality monitoring scores, voice of the customer surveys, NPS scores, C-sat. You must analyse the metrics you do use (and make sure you can see them per channel) and take action based on the insights gathered from the analysis. Make sure your analysis drills down to compare channels, teams, individuals, etc. as this is where you will truly identify whether consistency exists or not and where exactly needs to be worked on.

Challenge: Using separate applications.

Solution: There are two options here; change to an application that allows you to monitor all channels or use a robust system to tie results from applications into one place. The second option can be as simple or as complex as you wish. Some organisations will only want to compare basic headline metrics whereas others will want to drill down and up, forwards, backwards etc. The more complex the requirement the greater the opportunity cost of not using an all in one solution is.

Challenge: Choosing solutions: all in one or best of breed?

Solution: Making the choice is the challenge. The best way to do this is to assess what you are currently using and note how it is and isn’t fulfilling your current and future needs. Then check out the alternatives for multichannel monitoring; the pros and cons of using an all-in-on solution for quality monitoring, all-in-one for all your metrics and channels or best of breed for quality monitoring per channel. There are many variables and you should try to narrow your list of options to two or three. Then you need to test these options. Sometimes applications are great in theory but don’t work as you anticipate them to, other times you find a feature that you hadn’t thought of that adds really great value. These points can only be discovered when you test and trial and error is better to do in testing phase than the launch phase.

Challenge: Omnichannel: transparency and priority.

Solution: Omnichannel is when a customer is using more than one customer service channel at the same time and it can be tricky to manage. Firstly if your agents don’t have transparency of all channels the omnichannel challenge won’t be overcome. Prioritizing channels needs to be a company policy that is clearly outlined to agents, so document, distribute and communicate the policy to all contact centre agents.

Challenge: Resource management: predicting volume.

Solution: The best way to predict volumes on all channels is to count the interactions on each channel and have a system that counts these on an ongoing basis. You need to see the information around the flow of interactions information such as: day of the week, time of the day, length of time taken to deal with interaction, how many interactions are being dealt with by an agent at one time, etc. Once you have a counting system in place you should try to identify busy and slack periods and triggers for surges. This will help predict volumes and provide lessons around your customer preferences.

To arm yourself and be ready to combat all these challenges collectively you need to do three things:

  • Document the needs and wants per channel and per priority (customer, business and compliance).
  • Set out guidelines for achieving these needs and wants.
  • Monitor the things that attribute to the needs and wants and in the appropriate order.

Document the Needs and Wants per channel and per priority

It doesn’t need to be lengthy, it just needs to be written down. Here’s an example of one I drew up for two channels.

Multichannel QA chart

Set out guidelines for achieving these needs and wants.

This will form the foundation of training programs and they will guide agents to achieve all the requirements.

Monitor the things that attribute to the needs and wants and in the appropriate order.

You do not need to monitor everything, you only need to monitor needs and wants. In the same fashion you should prioritize and weight everything you are monitoring to ensure you’re focusing on the most important aspects.