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4 Best Practices to Implement a Quality Monitoring Program that Counts

It’s something you hear on nearly every phone call to a business: “This call may be monitored and recorded for quality assurance purposes.” Most people disregard that part of the call. Good quality monitoring systems are “invisible” and most customers don’t know if their interaction was recorded or not. Have you ever had follow up from a company based on something that happened in your call? The odds of that are low.

It’s one thing to monitor a call and potentially step in to assist the agent. But when calls are recorded—what do companies do with those recordings to follow through on the “assuring quality” element? Do they make changes based on what they hear in calls? Do they strive to improve the customer experience?

Some companies do nothing. They may have good intentions of improving quality but don’t have the resources or internal champion necessary to follow through.

Quality Monitoring

Smart companies, on the other hand, analyze and put those call recordings to work. They use what they hear to make improvements that benefit both the company and customers. Improvements such as:

  • Streamlining the customer experience
  • Enhancing agent and overall contact center performance
  • Delivering first-contact resolution
  • Increasing customer satisfaction
  • Boosting the bottom line

Smart companies that make the most of their quality monitoring programs follow a multitude of best practices. Here are four “best of the best” practices to implement a quality monitoring program that counts.

Set up for success.

One of the first steps is to make sure the goals of your quality monitoring program are clear before you move to implementation. Come to consensus with the team involved—executives, contact center leaders and agents—on all of the details before you begin monitoring. Details including:

  • What KPIs will you measure?
  • What does your scorecard include?
  • Who is performing the monitoring?
  • How many calls per agent, in what time period, will be evaluated?
  • How will the numbers be crunched?
  • Who will review the data and recommend changes?
  • How will you implement changes?

If you handle monitoring the right way, there will be a lot of data to review and evaluate. It can be overwhelming, but take it one step at a time. Look for trends and common complaints, as well as common compliments. Try not to react strongly to a single negative incident or feedback. You’re trying to make every customer happy but don’t want to make huge changes based on one person’s opinion or experience. Determine what changes will have the biggest positive impact and start there.

Focus on agent coaching.

Agents can be wary of quality monitoring because it can seem like “big brother” is watching their every move. It can be stressful to agents and that comes through in their interactions with customers. Try to avoid an “us vs. them” mentality by emphasizing coaching and improvement. Make your quality monitoring program a collaborative process with agent involvement. Agents are more likely to participate if it is clear the monitoring and analysis are intended to help them improve, not to punish them.

It’s also important to remember that metrics should be used as a guide, allowing room for subjective ratings as well. For example, an agent with low scores on the Average Handling Time metric may have exceptional scores on customer satisfaction because she is taking more time with each customer to understand and resolve the issue the first time. That brings greater benefits to the company and should definitely not be held against the agent. Take the time to put all the pieces together to understand the whole picture. Valuing your agents and helping them be successful will result in greater company success with more satisfied customers.

Target high-value calls for evaluation in addition to a random sampling.

This may seem counterintuitive but think about it. Companies typically sample random calls for evaluation. That keeps things “even,” but it won’t provide a complete picture. Choosing to check on every fifth call or the first three calls at the beginning of each agent’s shift may mean you’re missing key elements that can help you improve. To get the full picture, you need to dive deeper.

Take a closer look at high-value calls: those with VIPs, high dollar values and calls where customers are following up on an issue, for example. You want to be sure agents are rolling out the red carpet treatment for important customers and those who are spending a lot of money—even exceeding your usual high level of service. Monitoring these interactions will provide even more helpful/useful information to improve the process and indicate where agent coaching and education is needed.

Calibrate regularly.

Calibrating regularly is absolutely essential for ensuring that your quality monitoring process, scorecards and evaluators are consistent. For example, ask all evaluators to review the same call and compare notes. Ideally, all of the notes are consistent, without wildly divergent conclusions or recommendations. If there are big differences between evaluators, more evaluator training may be needed.

Remember, this should be a coaching-focused atmosphere rather than punitive. Data-driven feedback is most helpful to agents to improve—and calibration makes sure that feedback is solid, consistent and impartial.

Quality monitoring programs have the potential to make significant contributions to the success of a contact center—but they must be done right. If you aren’t going to invest the time, money and resources needed to effect change and improve your customer experience, you don’t need a quality monitoring program. But smart companies (and leaders) understand the importance. They prioritize implementing best practices to make the contact center’s quality monitoring program count. And they count each benefit that results.