10 Call Center Quality Monitoring Best Practices for Process Improvement
August 28, 2018
By: Jon Williams
As a call center, we are a transactional business. Everything we do is a transaction. Whether it comes in the form of a phone call, web chat, email response, or even data entry, it’s all a touchpoint with a customer.
That’s why quality monitoring — the process of ensuring all customer service transactions are carried out the right way to the exact standards decided on internally or by our partners — is necessary to improve operations and agent performance.
I’ve been in quality for 13 years and in that time have developed a list of best practices on which I’ve come to rely. Of that number, here are ten that we employ every day at Transparent BPO, our Belize call center, to ensure we hit the mark on quality for process improvement.
1. Make Quality Monitoring a Priority
As hard as it is to believe, not all call centers use quality monitoring. In our case, it’s a must. Quality monitoring has not only helped the management team understand the customer’s requirement but is also the key to success in enhancing customer service and decreasing operational costs.
2. Define What Quality Means to You and Your Clients
The aim of quality monitoring from an operational standpoint is to identify the calls that fail to meet predefined standards and uncover the cause. We can then take steps to improve the process. To do that, however, it’s necessary that we first establish with the client what those standards are.
3. Keep It Simple
Many times, a client may want to put in a question to inspect every small aspect of the interaction. As much as we appreciate the client’s diligence, such precision can often take away from the customer experience and bog down the agent in minute details.
Quality for the agent then becomes a “check the box activity” and not part of the natural transaction process. The agent stops focusing on the customer and centers his or her attention on getting a high CSAT score.
The key, however, is to keep things simple by measuring only those activities that are truly important. That enable agents to provide the customer with a quality experience rather than completing an all-too-detailed checklist.
4. Use a Different QA Form for Each Business Line
Quality monitoring differs from line of business to line of business, and each program and channel likely involves different customer expectations, business objectives, and measures of success. Using the same monitoring form for everything limits your ability to gain valuable insight into the specific requirements of each.
That’s why the QA form for a phone call should be different from the one used for web chat or email, or even different types of calls (inbound customer service vs. outbound sales, for example). Each transaction type should have a unique corresponding quality form.
5. Put a Specialist in Charge
When possible, appoint a QA specialist to create a comprehensive quality monitoring program and oversee the process.
At Transparent BPO, we are fortunate to have a process improvement manager whose job it is to take multiple pieces of data (including quality) and figure out how to maximize performance.
Regarding quality, the manager has a goal of monitoring so many agents per week. She pulls calls at random out of the phone system and goes through the quality monitoring form asking specific questions:
- Did the agent greet the customer appropriately?
- Did she make sure she understood the customer’s questions and concerns?
- Did the agent resolve the issue in a timely way and to the customer’s satisfaction?
- Did she thank the customer and close the call correctly?
- Did she follow the correct processes and procedures during the call?
The process improvement manager is a unique role within an organization and not every call center utilizes such a person, but it is necessary if you want to improve processes and quality.
6. Understand Quality Monitoring Isn’t Just About Process
Every customer transaction must contain both a business process (making sure all the steps are completed correctly) and customer service (human interaction) element.
If process equates to crossing the “T’s” and dotting the “I’s,” then customer service relates to the tenor of the call — how courteous, empathetic, and understanding the agent was. Both aspects should be part of the quality monitoring process.
7. Hire Right and Train Continually
Quality monitoring begins at the hiring phase and continues through training. The call center’s hiring practices are the starting point for ensuring the workforce delivers on quality consistently. That’s why call centers should evaluate agent candidates carefully to ensure they have the essential customer service skills needed to meet the client’s quality metrics.
Training takes the baton and sets the standard for quality to ensure agent success. Agent training doesn’t stop with the initial introductory period, either, but, along with coaching, continues throughout the agent’s tenure with the company.
Hiring the right agents for the job and training them continually develops a sense of excellence that permeates through the entire organization.
8. Get Everyone Involved in Quality Monitoring
Everyone has a role to play in quality monitoring. That includes the client, people whose job it is to oversee quality monitoring (the QA lead and operations manager), team leaders, and the agents themselves. Getting everyone involved makes it a team effort that builds morale and makes quality an ideal to aspire to in every respect.
9. Make Quality Part of Everything You Do
There’s a reason why quality is first on the list of Transparent BPO’s core values. For us, quality isn’t just about service delivery, but the business practices we employ, the employees we hire, the facility we operate, and the technology we use. It is quite literally at the heart of everything we do.
10. Don’t Be Afraid to Provide Feedback
I have worked in big-box call center operations where I was given a quality form and expected to follow it to the letter — there was no asking questions or providing feedback. At Transparent BPO, we are not afraid to take the client’s input and to offer our own advice as well.
If we see something that we feel will make the client’s results better, we’re not afraid to speak up. Our willingness to innovate has resulted in reaching performance goals that exceed those expected by the client.
What’s most important to our clients? Keeping the customer satisfied and coming back to do business again and again.
That’s why monitoring quality is so vitally important to us. We don’t look at it as part of the KPIs that we expect agents to meet, but as a ticket to entry: If an agent can’t reach the quality standards set by the client and our management team, then none of the other metrics matter. At Transparent BPO, monitoring quality is a must and just one part of a philosophy we refer to as The Transparent Difference.