BPA Featured Article

What Does "Quality" Mean to Your Contact Center?

By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor
February 23, 2017

With customer support today, it’s a given that “this call may be monitored for quality.” What’s less clear is how the company is determining quality. Do they mean quality for their customers? Quality budget reductions at the expense of customers? Quality of information required to fire bad agents? “Quality” means different things to different business processes, so before you build a quality program, determine what it is you want to qualify.

Some companies measure quality simply because they believe that agents will do better if they think they’re being recorded. The Hawthorne Effect, an old manufacturing rule, is that workers will always perform better when they’re being observed. If nothing else, quality monitoring pushes workers to do better, at least until they discover that there are no repercussions for putting in the minimum effort. But you can’t build return on investment on psychology alone: for that, you need quantifiable data.

“Agents must be provided with a strongly supported feedback mechanism that they can easily understand,” according to Craig Antonucci, Director of Client Strategies for BPA Quality, in a recent white paper.

In other words, you need to use the quality data you gather in a proactive manner, and use it in a way that truly helps agents perform better. Your quality monitoring program should have a clear definition of what you expect agents to do, and whether their performance is hitting the mark on specific skills: greetings, script adherence, soft skills, closing sales, internal procedure, empathy, etc. The best way to do this is with recorded calls. Companies should choose a solution or a service provider that makes calls searchable, accessible and easy to share. Work on these skills one at a time (to avoid overwhelming agents) and be sure to acknowledge or even reward measurable improvements.

Another function of quality monitoring is cost savings, of course. While it would be nice to be able to spend unlimited amounts of time with each customer resolving his or her problem, it’s somewhat impractical from a cost standpoint. Of course, you can’t cut your customer off after a set time, but you can ensure that agents are engaging in the kind of best practices that resolve issues faster. The most important metric is first-call resolution (FCR), which solves each customer issue on only one call (meaning, they don’t have to call back again). Quality monitoring can ensure that agents are taking the right steps to achieve FCR.

Of course, improving customer satisfaction will also contribute to return on investment – happier customers buy more and stay with your longer – but this one is harder to quantify.

“Happy customers remain customers, refer their friends and associates, and tend to spend more freely with your organization, which all make you money,” wrote Antonucci. “Unhappy customers cancel, spend less and tell their friends bad things about your company, which costs you money.”

Before you purchase a quality monitoring solution or engage a quality monitoring partner (such as a third-party remote call monitoring service), be sure you’ve defined what “quality” means to your organization, and how you expect to use the solution or service to measure it. 

Edited by Alicia Young