This article originally appeared in the March issue of Customer Interaction Solutions
This is the 19th year Customer Interaction Solutions proudly presents its MVP Quality Awards.
Each year, award winners represent the best of the outsourcing community, setting new standards for service quality and customer care by integrating the latest technology trends with time-tested practices for exceeding customer expectations.
This year is no different. Winners at all levels have completed an exhaustive 16-point essay (including a customer case study detailing the program’s success) to accompany specific statistics on their call center volumes, staffing, and technology. This year’s essays exemplify a continuing understanding that neither technology nor agent quality alone can succeed in such a competitive environment. Rather, the winners of this year’s MVP Quality Awards have combined the two, along with management commitment and organizational standards to provide the highest levels of service to their varied customers.
We congratulate the 2012 MVP Quality Award winners and are pleased to share some of the compelling comments from their essays that exemplify their drive for excellence in outsourced teleservices.
Agero (formerly Cross Country Automotive)
What types of technologies do you use to enhance quality?
Any customer that calls upon Agero quickly finds out that we will never turn a caller away in their time of need. First and foremost, we verify their safety and dispatch emergency services if necessary. We also train our associates that customer service is our No. 1 priority and invest in our front line supervisors and associates to ensure that they have mastery of the latest techniques to provide customer delight. We have also certified our trainers in the Radclyffe call handling training. This training empowers associates to completely satisfy customer’s needs. Our agents ask each caller if we have completely satisfied their request. If we have not, we will take the necessary action.
Agero manages four contact center sites; each is operated daily 24/7 and each is fully independent with its own telecom switch and can serve as a backup to any other site. Agero does not outsource call volume; customer calls do not leave the Agero environment. Agero maintains redundancy between all four contact centers so that calls can be dynamically routed between sites and utilizes Best Services Routing technology to route calls to the site that will deliver the best service level.
What is your policy and philosophy on quality?
We developed our Q3 quality assurance system to ensure quality remains consistent across the board. Our procedures on policy are so thorough that, when we add a new call center, within the first month we are able to match its quality and performance to that of existing call centers – all due to the detailed quality analyses of Q3, our proprietary quality assurance system, and targeted training methods. When we developed Q3, our goal was to identify the skills necessary to complete a quality phone call and create a form that measured them. Traditionally, many evaluation systems in the industry have one way of measuring procedures and another way of measuring skill sets. Our system blends these two categories together to form a comprehensive overview of easily quantifiable factors such as adherence to the script with qualitative factors such as internalization. The Q3 system brings these measurements together and allows evaluators to provide instantaneous feedback to the Communicator.
What is your policy and philosophy on quality?
At Aegis, our unique focus is at the business level – we focus on business performance, not agents.
The goal is to get an accurate picture of the business, not what is happening with transactions. We are interested in the key drivers that impact the business, our partners’ customer lifetime value, and the end user experience. At the business level, these include some challenges such as: process limitation and deficiency, training and development of agents, communication challenges, and company policies and ethics causing dissatisfaction.
NCO Financial Systems Inc.
How has quality evolved in your contact center, and how it is sustained/measured?
We work with our clients during program implementation to identify the operational metrics to be included in our quality benchmarking; we tailor our tracking and reporting systems according to these metrics. The ability to gather and report data is an integral part of our quality framework. Performance data is essential to helping NCO identify opportunities for improvement, evaluating the effectiveness of process improvements, and monitoring the long-term success of those changes. We use a five-step process from COPC (News - Alert) called CUIKA for quality reporting:
1. Collected – Data must be collected on all targets and performance.
2. Usable – There must be enough data gathered to provide insight into trends.
3. Integrity – All data must be relevant, accurate, and objective.
4. Known – Data must be disseminated to all appropriate personnel.
5. Actions – Actions must be taken if performance falls below target metrics.
What is special or unique about your staff that contributes to quality?
At The Connection, we have unique values and ideas regarding our staff that greatly contributes to our overall quality. We strongly believe in service values and employee-focused cultures that can often be found in rural communities. Three of our four call centers are located in rural communities throughout Nebraska and New York. We have found that we are able to invest in rural communities and attract top-notch skilled employees with strong work ethics. Another unique attribute is our bilingual capability, which allows us to provide a significant level of Spanish-language support to our clients. We have team supervisors and supervisors fluent in Spanish who evaluate CSRs in their native language.
How do you measure customer satisfaction?
We have moved our focus from customer satisfaction to customer loyalty, which is a critical measure and indicator of a company’s current and future success. NPS (Net Promoter Score) is measured by asking customers how likely they are to recommend a company to a friend or colleague based on our performance, and why they provided their particular rating. Each customer ranks their willingness to recommend (0 being not at all likely, 10 being extremely likely). Customers are segmented into one of three loyalty categories: Promoters (scores of 9 and 10) are highly loyal customers that will keep buying and refer others; passives (scores of 7 and 8) are satisfied customers but may consider competitive offerings; and detractors (scores from 0 to 6) are unhappy customers that are less likely to buy from you again and may spread negative word of mouth. With this information, we can determine how well we are performing on our clients’ behalf and identify areas where we can improve the customer experience.
ACCENT Marketing Services
What elements make it easy to do business with your firm?
As an engagement solutions provider, ACCENT continually educates clients on the importance of leveraging every customer interaction to solidify the relationship, provide excellent care, and ensure prompt issue resolution. This is accomplished by providing the right tools, strategies, and resources to positively impact customer satisfaction, engagement and retention. This includes utilizing a proprietary contact management system to initiate, track, and resolve customer inquiries across multiple channels, including phone, direct mail, e-mail, web-based chat, IVR, social media and fax.
We believe so strongly in our performance that we have developed a pay-for-performance model that further increases our vested interest in delivering against key performance indicators. This model is linked to engagement specialist performance, in which quality is a major factor in ensuring customer and client satisfaction. Additionally, this model is linked to customer buying and sales, which can be a direct reflection of engagement specialist performance.
What are your monitoring practices?
In the event a CSR (News - Alert) is not consistently meeting the quality goal or is observed not adhering to Alorica or client policies and procedures during a customer transaction, an alert form is sent to the operations team. The alert form requires the quality assurance rep to document details of a customer transaction (phone, e-mail or fulfillment). Once feedback is given to an agent regarding an error, the error should be corrected immediately. The team manager is expected to provide QA with his or her response and take action as a result of the alert within 48 hours. Alerts also help keep track of repeat offenders and identify negative patterns or consistently low scores. This information is valuable in determining agent deficiencies and if they would benefit from additional training and or coaching. More than one alert could lead to disciplinary action. Conversely, “WOW” alerts allow us to recognize exceptional performance by focusing on positive agent conduct. These alerts are sent by QA and agents may be recognized with prizes, certificates or a simple pat on the back in front of their peers as a way of reinforcing service quality.
Ansafone Contact Centers
How do you handle complaints from your clients’ customers?
Handling complaints from our clients’ customers is accomplished by never losing sight of our role as the voice of the customer, and by following client specific instructions along with practicing the basic common courtesy guidelines under which all Ansafone CSRs are trained, including:
- listening carefully to identify the caller’s concern;
- displaying sincerity, empathy and understanding;
- maintaining a professional, confident and friendly demeanor, and by never taking angry comments personally or allowing a comment to effectively diminish our level of courtesy and professionalism;
- never promising beyond our capability to deliver and always reassuring the caller that his or her message or concern is very important to us and will be relayed expeditiously to the appropriate person or department; and
- expressing gratitude to the caller for bringing a specific issue or concern to our attention.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi