Audit is one word which can give any business owner sleepless nights. Especially, when we talk about ‘call centre audits’. In a typically run call center, the variables involved are way too many. There will always be a black swan scenario happening every now and then.
In such a dynamic environment, it can become tough and really challenging to keep track on all the happenings and have a smooth record of events. If you closely look at the definition of an ‘audit’ in a dictionary, you will find this- an official inspection of an organisation’s account by an independent body. But in contact centers, the concept of auditing extends beyond only taking into consideration their accounts. It is a more invasive process. It also covers verticals for monitoring customer experiences; overall agent’s productivity; quality of service rendered and finding means of methodically improving general operations.
Call center audits are conducted to understand what is happening in the center, how processes, technologies and information are connected and interdependent. You need to really look ‘under the hood’ to see what dependencies and prerequisites are, to actually be able to do root-level analysis.
Here are some insights and tips for a fool-proof call center audit, no more sleepless nights.
1. First Things First- Assign an Audit Liaison
An audit liaison can help you smoothen your call center audit process, by being the ‘go-to-person’ for the audit team or the auditor. This person will receive all your audit requests and route them to specific departments accordingly. She/he necessarily doesn’t have to be someone you hire dedicatedly; this person can be the on-floor manager, team supervisor or any anyone with good analytical ability and managerial experience. This can ease the pressure of surviving an audit on your shoulders.
2. Focus on the Right Issues
An audit is essentially conducted to focus on the business risks and relevant issues from the beginning. Sometimes, internal and external audits require rigorous time and resources. It is not just the auditor’s time, but your effort as well, your team’s effort in fact. This time can be well spent only if the final report can give you some valuable insights, reflect areas of key considerations, boost productivity. If you think that the audit is not going in accordance with your organisation’s setup and vision, feel free to highlight your concern.
3. Be Well Prepared
Surprise audits can be a nightmare, for you and your employees.The best resolution to emerge out as a winner in such a scenario would be, ‘to be prepared.’ Do not leave anything for the last minute. Keep a smooth record of all your customer database, company accounts, daily on-going transactions and just about everything. This can minimise the tension and stress immensely. Also, keep your agents informed about the changing policies and dynamic statistics of the process. Giving them regular trainings, conducting mock audit drills, having a strict regulation policy in place can be some of the ways to minimise collateral damage.
4. Procedures and Policies
As soon as the auditor walks in, hand him your set of procedures and policies. Tell him how religiously you follow your code of conduct. This can lead the call center audit in your desired direction. If there will be no ‘guidelines’ for him, he will steer things as per his thoughts. Any competent auditor would appreciate a little guidance, so as to start with ‘the what and how of things’, in your organisation. Also, carefully instruct your agents and their supervisors to absolutely avoid any goof-ups. Your first impression will speak the most of you.
5. Put your Best Foot Forward
This is pretty much self-explanatory. This can be taken forward as per your choice. Some call centers save their ‘golden calls’ and ‘appreciation mails’ to showcase as trophies of upbeat customer satisfaction. Some make sure that all their ‘star performers’ are at their work station, as soon as the auditor walks in. You need to be proactive to survive an audit. Keep all your documented data ready. Be ready to answer long, tiring and often repetitive questions, with a smile and humility.
In service industry, it can be rather frustrating to deal with customers and cope up with huge internal pressure as well. The best practise here can be to take precautions and not wait till the problem needs to be cured.