Date Published: July 20, 2023 - Last Updated 140 Days, 14 Hours, 53 Minutes ago
Continuous monitoring and evaluating customer interactions, such as phone calls, chats, or emails, help contact centers identify areas for improvement and take corrective actions to enhance the customer experience. However, for QA to have its desired impact, the following five components are important.
These often-downplayed skills refer to the interpersonal and communication abilities of contact center agents’ ability to build rapport with customers, resolve issues effectively, and create positive customer experiences. Soft skills include active listening, empathy, problem-solving, and effective communication. By emphasizing soft skills in a quality program, contact centers can ensure that their agents have the necessary capabilities to handle customer interactions professionally and efficiently.
To ensure these skills are developed early, agents should undergo role-playing exercises during training sessions, where they simulate customer interactions and practice their soft skills. Customers appreciate agents who can understand their concerns, offer empathetic support, and communicate effectively.
The process component of a contact center quality program refers to the well-defined procedures and guidelines that agents follow to handle customer interactions. It involves documenting standard operating procedures (SOPs), call-handling scripts, escalation paths, and resolution protocols. Having a clear and standardized process ensures consistency in service delivery and helps agents provide accurate and efficient assistance to customers.
Agents can have access to a knowledge base or a centralized database that contains relevant information about products, services, and common customer queries. This enables them to quickly retrieve accurate information and provide timely solutions to customer issues. Several AI tools can augment this and help ensure a seamless end-to-end transaction. Implementing well-defined processes ensures that all agents are aligned with the organization's service standards. It minimizes the chances of errors, reduces handle time, and improves first-call resolution rates.
Compliance refers to adhering to regulatory requirements, industry standards, and company policies. In certain industries, such as finance, healthcare, or telecommunications, contact centers must adhere to regulatory requirements and compliance standards. Compliance is crucial to protect customer data, ensure legal and ethical practices, and maintain data privacy.
An effective quality program should include measures to monitor and enforce compliance across all customer interactions and should be tailored toward your organization's risk controls. Agents should be trained on data protection regulations as applicable, and understand the importance of securing customer information. They should follow strict authentication protocols and maintain confidentiality while handling sensitive data. Compliance is vital to building trust, maintaining the integrity of the contact center, helps protect customer privacy, avoiding legal issues, and preventing data breaches.
Calibration sessions involve evaluating and aligning the scoring and evaluation criteria used in the quality program across different evaluators or teams. These sessions aim to ensure consistency in evaluating agent performance, identifying areas for improvement, and providing feedback. Managers or quality assurance (QA) teams should hold regular calibration sessions where they review recorded customer interactions and assess them using predefined evaluation forms. They discuss and agree upon the scoring criteria and provide feedback to align evaluations across evaluators.
Calibration sessions help maintain the fairness and objectivity of the quality program, ensuring that all agents are evaluated consistently and receive similar feedback. This enables them to understand their performance and work towards improvement. To ensure this is not another routine time-filler, calibration sessions should include specific action items that need to be followed up on. For example, if authentication gaps are identified during the calibration session, managers/coaches should ensure this is addressed promptly.
This involves providing regular feedback, training, and support to agents. By including effective coaching in your QA workstream, you develop agent skills, address performance gaps, and encourage ongoing improvement. During coaching sessions, agents should receive feedback that focuses on what they are doing well, areas for improvement, and best practices. Coaching sessions could also involve role-playing exercises or targeted training modules to develop specific skills.
When opportunities are identified for agents struggling in a particular area, coaching should include specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound (SMART) action plans. This helps hold agents accountable for working towards desired behaviors. When employees feel supported and empowered to deliver their best, it positively impacts their motivation, retention, and overall productivity.
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Ensuring your contact center quality assurance program has these five elements will not only help bolster it but also ensure your agents are set up to deliver excellent service for your organization and customers.