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Want to Improve Quality? Ditch the Score From Your Scorecards

Learn more about Navy Federal Credit Union, winner of the 2017 ICMI Global Contact Center Award for Best QA/Customer Experience Program

"Moving away from a checklist to a short, scoreless, behavioral based model is a vast improvement. It is thrilling to see an organization understand and adopt this philosophy. Thumbs up on the formal process for recording member compliments. Navy Federal Credit Union's overall quality approach and impact are quite impressive."

       - 2017 ICMI Global Contact Center Awards Judges

Scorecards are a standard component of most quality management programs. What's not so common, but becoming more trendy, is dropping the actual score from those scorecards. That's what the Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU) contact center decided to do last year. The result? Higher employee and member satisfaction, as well as better quality. And the icing on the cake was an ICMI Global Contact Center Awards trophy for Best QA/Customer Experience. Learn more about NFCU's unique approach in this interview with Kristy Powers (aka K-POW), their Manager of CCO Quality Service.

Navy Federal Credit Union, ICMI Global Contact Center Awards

EM: What is your contact center's philosophy on Customer Experience?

K-POW: Everything we do, every single day, is done with the goal of providing effortless experiences and "wow"-worthy service. Our member experience scores are one of our primary benchmarks of success. We view our QA process as a vital tool to evaluate where we're doing well and identify any opportunities for improvement that can help us achieve an ever-higher level of member satisfaction.

EM: How does your team gather customer feedback?

K-POW: With more than 7 million members, and a contact center of over 4000 team members, we have countless opportunities to serve and receive feedback. Our Member Experience Program is more than just QA; we have an infrastructure of several groups under the Training and Member Experience department that contribute.

Though each group involved in our Member Experience program uses tools to capture and facilitate action on customer and team member feedback, the core of the program is handled by our Quality Service group. The Quality Service (QS) philosophy regarding QA is that we exist to help agents enhance the member experience, and we built our processes around that supportive model. Quality Service team members (referred to as Quality Partners) invest a lot of time and energy into building relationships of trust and collaboration with the representatives whose work they review.

EM: Your approach to quality monitoring is unique. Can you explain how your QA process works?

K-POW: Our Quality Service team wants the same thing for our employees that we want for our members— for them to have a meaningful, personalized experience. With that in mind, our Quality Service group embarked on an initiative to transition all teams in the contact center away from a 23-section checklist with multiple forms, to the new one page, scoreless, behavioral based model. This shift in feedback style encourages agents to focus on the content of the feedback rather than dwelling on a number, and it has modified the stereotypical mindset that certain things must happen to earn "points."

Our Quality Partners review five interactions and complete one feedback for per month, per agent, with a focus on behaviors in four key areas:

  • Highlights – Things that were great
  • Opportunities – Areas for improvement, along with tips
  • Areas of Focus – Priorities to focus on right away
  • Resources – Links to internal and external resources that can help the agent gain skills

The agent, their supervisors, and team mentors are alerted right away that feedback and the recorded interactions are available for them to review together. Supervisors share the feedback with their agents and strategize ways to improve the performance or share best practices with other team members.

Furthermore, while our Quality Service group primarily exists to give our agents feedback, it is also essential for the Quality Partners themselves to be open to receiving feedback on the assistance they provide. Quality Partners listen to their representatives and adjust their feedback styles as needed. This approach has proven successful in making our agents feel much more comfortable opening up and communicating how their Quality Partner can better assist them.

Quality Service also strives to be seen as approachable, so they're available by phone, email, instant message chat, and in person. They attend team meetings regularly, building rapport with our partnered representatives and fostering trust in our commitment to the agents' growth. The Quality Service group regularly evaluates the relationship-building techniques it uses to ensure the best possible collaboration with the representatives they support.

EM: What do your agents think of the new QA program?

K-POW: Now, more than ever, they understand Quality Specialists are here to help them deliver world-class experiences to our members. Our Quality Partners cultivated a sense of camaraderie by aligning to specific teams and providing meaningful coaching, rather than scores from random evaluators. They now see Quality Specialists as a source of knowledge, inspiration, and as someone who is rooting for them. Agents and their leaders tell us they feel more confident knowing that they have the resources and ability to assist our members in the best possible way. They understand we aren't picking apart individual calls, but instead, reviewing their performance as a whole and providing them with actionable feedback that can help them grow.

Most of our team was thrilled to go scoreless with the model, but there were a few agents who had concerns about gauging their performance without a score. Our question to them was "What do you do to earn those scores?" Agents could not articulate what they did to make their scores. They were just satisfied with a high score and ready to dispute a score they didn't prefer. To combat these fears, we showed them examples of how they could be more successful if they focused on their behaviors instead of just the score. Additionally, through consistent and frequent communication from leaders, pilot group members and agents who advocated for the change, we were able to help everyone understand the benefits of removing the score.

Agents now overwhelmingly prefer the new model and give constant feedback about how it has improved the level of service they provide. They now take the time to read the feedback in more detail rather than glance at a number and move on. Agents can also see more clearly that it is not about what they do on a phone call to earn "points," but it is about how they engage with Navy Federal's customers.

EM: How does your team follow up with dissatisfied customers?

K-POW: If someone is unhappy with the service they received, we have processes in place to turn that experience around. We also capture all feedback possible to identify opportunities for future improvement. We give equal weight to concerns brought to our attention through all channels, including phone, secure online message, chat, branch visit, paper letter, and social media. If a member expresses annoyance or dismay, our agents possess resources and training to ascertain the situation and identify possible solutions for the issue. If the member is not satisfied with the agent's efforts and asks to speak to a supervisor, we employ a dedicated team of Resolution Specialists who are available 24/7. They are empowered to assist the member and review all possible avenues for resolution of the concern. They also help dissatisfied members who reach out through alternate channels. Additionally, if Quality Services identifies a disappointed member that has not received a resolution, through a survey or call review, the call is shared with the appropriate supervisor and a Resolutions Specialist for immediate attention. Regarding tracking and reporting on DSAT, we use a variety of methods to ensure we are capturing feedback from all sources. Tools include post call surveys, a complaint/concern tracking database to obtain holistic feedback from members, reporting and analytics drawn from social media interactions, speech analytics, and more.

EM: What's next for your team?

K-POW: In Quality Service we've developed the Quality Service University, and those are the basics, and the next level is called the "Masters Program."  We are doing something similar for our agents.  We are creating more, easy to access resources to take their service to the next level.  It includes a Member Experience Guide, a Call Resource Library and on-going communications based on member feedback that offers tips and techniques to tweak their approach when necessary.  Additionally, in partnership with our corporate Learning & Development team and  Contact Center Operations, the Member Experience and Training team just launched a Leadership Development Program contact center wide that is focused on our Supervisors and above.  We've already seen dividends from this in the way our leaders approach the development of their own team members.  It's an exciting time for us in Quality Service here at Navy Federal.

Think you have what it takes to win the trophy in 2018? We're now accepting applications! Submit by 12/22 and save 50% on entry fees.