Customer service is the backbone of every organization. It helps businesses to improve their brand and consumer relations. It does not matter how much interaction an organization has with its customer base, customer experience determines the level of success it has. Since revenue is often tied to quality and customer service, it is in the best interest of businesses to incorporate quality monitoring solutions to improve their customer service.
In today's world, consumers know they have a voice and they know how to use it. In addition to using it to vocalize their concerns, they know how to use their voice to influence others, thus, affecting the customer base and profits of organizations. Businesses looking to harness that power know that it all starts with keeping consumers satisfied by exceeding their expectations so they have a great experience. In order to do that, businesses must be prepared for every possible outcome.
Call Centers and Their Roles in the Customer Service Experience
Call centers, their agents and customer service workers are vital resources for businesses. Their main purpose is to intercept customer correspondence and interactions to handle all concerns. To some businesses, this means making sure that each call, email and chat is answered, to others it means sending out canned responses. While these actions may serve to satisfy some customers, the majority of customers have much higher expectations.To meet these expectations, your business must be prepared to engage its customers with great customer service.
Employing enough workers to ensure minimal wait and response time is not enough for your business to gain an edge in today’s economy. Call center agents must be highly-adaptable and efficient at performing their jobs. Not only do they need to know how to talk and interact with each consumer, but they also need to act in a manner that wows each one. There may be some agents in your organization who excel at delivering spectacular customer service, but there are also others who will only do just enough to get by. To help bridge the gap between the top performers and the laggards, you need to integrate a good quality monitoring system that creates accountability and ownership for your workers. One such system or business intelligence solution involves quality assurance and monitoring.
Quality Assurance Provides Guidance and Structure
Quality assurance is a very effective way for businesses to measure the level of services they provide to their customers. Protocols and operational procedures need to be developed so you can measure what is actually being delivered against what is expected. Listening to a few calls here and there does not really address the issue. Sampling small number of calls does not paint an accurate picture of what’s really going on. To know for certain how your organization is faring with its customers, you need to make a plan and take a diversified approach to ensure that the right quality assurance standards are in place.
Quality assurance can provide your customer service operations with guidance and direction. You can’t make a plan or implement measures to improve customer service if you don’t know what’s wrong. That’s like trying to perform brain surgery but you don’t know where to start.
Assessing the Need for a Quality Monitoring System
First, you need to define what quality customer service is. Take some time to think hard about what your consumer base wants. Listen to old calls, survey your agents and current customers to gather feedback. You need to have a good understanding of what your consumers want and expect. Once you have a firm grasp of what they need, you can begin the process of implementing goals, standards, protocols and other procedures to ensure that those expectations are met and exceeded. Here are some best practices for quality monitoring.
Customer Expectations Push Businesses to Strive for Better
Consumers are paying more attention to where their money is being spent. They are more proactive about the companies they decide to purchase their services and products from. They have much higher expectations today than they did in the past. Any organization that can’t deliver wow customer service will experience the effects of customer defection. So how do you prevent that from happening? Easy, by continuing to strive for better in all aspects of customer service. The best way to ensure that is with a quality monitoring system that captures analytics in all aspects of your customer service operations.
You need to maintain a track of each and every call your call center receives. You need to know how many calls are answered and how many calls are not on a daily basis. You also need to know how long each call takes to resolve, what the average call time is and how each call is resolved. This is only a small percentage of the data you need to improve customer service and deliver consistent results. A good quality monitoring system is an efficient and cost-effective way for you to manage all calls and gather the data you need to measure your call center’s operations, efficiency and your agents’ competence. Basically, you need a solution that will allow you to monitor and track every single aspect of your call center operations.
Fortunately, this also presents the perfect opportunity for you to evaluate your workers’performance to see if they have the right level of competency and skill to consistently improve customer experience. You can’t just rely on a certain amount of credentials and training alone to provide your workers with the right attributes. There need to be several benchmarks in place that will motivate and encourage your workers to continue to reach new levels of competency without falling below any set standards. Show employees how meeting certain targets can benefit them so they will remain engaged. Rewards, recognition, contests and other incentives can serve as motivation as well.
Benefits of Using the Right Quality Assurance Software and Technology
Today’s generation of quality monitoring systems and software can do so much more than record calls. They make it possible for supervisors and upper management to intervene as needed to prevent hiccups in the delivery of customer service. These systems also encourage customers to leave feedback. They routinely assess your organization, its performance and the performance of your employees and makes recommendations for improvement. A recent report by Cisco shows that customer service operations are more efficient when business intelligence tools and technologies are used. It also shows that:
- First contact resolutions can be increased by four to 13 percent with the use of advanced analytical and reporting technologies.
- Incorporating technology into cross-channel communication tools can significantly improve agent performance and customer experience.
- Businesses can enjoy lower operational expenses, such as cost per call and improved customer satisfaction with the use of more advanced solutions, such as quality assurance and monitoring technologies.
By taking the time to integrate a good quality monitoring system, you can ensure that your customers get more of the services they want and so they can experience higher levels of satisfaction. Remember, customers are satisfied when their needs are anticipated, met and resolved in an efficient and polite manner. These technologies also provide evidence (analytics) of how effective your operational strategies and tactics are so you can make adjustments as needed.
Quality Assurance Monitoring Equals Improved Customer Service and Higher Profits
Tech Radar mentions that businesses need to develop new strategies and standards to improve the accuracy, consistency and efficiency at which they deliver their services. There are new standards that have evolved in the digital world because of the way that social, mobile and other technologies enhance each other. It’s hard to manipulate and analyze data, especially where there is no way to control or measure it. The use of business intelligence tools, such as quality monitoring and quality assurance software can prevent inaccuracies and improve data reliability so that operational deficiencies can be reduced and goals can be maintained.
According to Forrester, companies that have higher profits do so because they continuously deliver better customer service. This means businesses have a major incentive for pulling out the stops to improve customer service. Even though it means investing into areas that were previously outsourced or downsized, the benefits are far too advantageous to overlook. While providing ongoing training for agents is vital, quality assurance software can automate some aspects of your operations and streamline others to help alleviate the burden on your agents so they are better able to perform and wow your customers.
The use of the right quality assurance software and technologies is a very effective way to get rid of any operational deficiencies in your call center. When implemented with the following strategies, your company’s customer service performance and profits will soar.
Make customer service more accessible.
Even though more consumers want to conduct their business online, that does not absolve your organization of its duty to assist them. Even companies that have the most user-friendly website interfaces and designs have made it possible for their visitors to contact their customer service with a quick click of the mouse. They do not just wait for consumers to decide if they want to chat with someone. They use intuitive tools, such as pop-up chat boxes just in case their visitors do not know how to navigate their website to get the assistance they desire.
Focus on customer retention.
All too often businesses lose sight of what really matters, their customers. Without them, there would be no profits and those organizations would not exist. By going the extra mile to ensure that each customer is impressed with the level of service they receive, you can create the perfect opportunity for repeat business and new customers.
Lower the frequency in which consumers have to contact your organization for resolutions.
One big sore point for consumers is having to repeatedly contact organizations just to be heard. While automation has enabled many businesses to increase profits along with decreasing operational expenses, it has not worked well in some aspects of customer service. For example, the majority of customers do not like talking to machines. Many of them will call back several times just so they can speak with an actual person. However, that does not mean that your contact center can’t benefit from the use of automation, it just means that you need to be selective about the technologies you use.
Also, time is not is just a big commodity for businesses, it is also a major one for consumers. If they have to constantly take time from their day to keep calling or emailing only to be given the run around or no response at all, you stand to lose a lot more than you think. Keep in mind that your company’s credibility is directly related to customer experience.
Offer more than one contact method.
Customers generally do not like to contact companies unless they have a valid reason to do so. Once they decide to initiate contact, they may not want to do so by phone. They may feel more comfortable sending an email or chatting online. This is a digital age. Make sure your business is fully equipped to engage with its customers on every digital interface possible.
Stop downsizing contact agents to increase profits.
This can lead to higher wait times, less problem resolution and a break down in your company’s customer service efficiency. Customers don’t want and shouldn’t have to endure long hold times, speak to agents they can’t understand or who can barely understand them or have to speak to more than one agent.
Give your organization an edge so it can sharpen it to compete effectively.
Competition is so stiff in today’s economy that businesses are in search of resources they can use to gain the edge and keep it. It’s a no-brainer that quality is linked to customer experience. Although quality means having enough employees so that customers are not left waiting for service, it also means having quality agents that are delivering the best service possible, each and every time.
Even with a great training system, your organization should have a quality assurance system in place that measures the performance of each employee. It is far too tempting to take the word of an employee over a customer or vice versa. Unless you are actively listening to each and every call that comes through your call center (it’s highly unlikely due to the volume of business), you have no grounds to act upon. It helps if you think of quality assurance like this. A good quality monitoring system can ensure that a certain level of service, the proper protocols, verbiage and decorum are maintained on each call.
Normalize the quality standard.
The same standards that you use to ensure quality should be implemented all across the board. This prevents conflicting messages and provides a much more accurate picture for you to analyze your organization’s performance. You want your agents to become used to performing at a certain level so that providing exceptional customer service becomes the norm for your organization.
Pay attention to your customers.
Don’t assume that every complaint is groundless and do not assume that every customer wants to complain. You‘d be surprised what you can learn about your organization’s quality, agent performance and image from recording customer conversations. It goes both ways. Just like you want to capitalize on any beneficial suggestions that come from your customers, you should also turn a scrutinizing eye to your employees. Encourage customers to give feedback about how they feel when they are interacting with your agents.
Provide ongoing coaching to enable your agents to perform their jobs the right way.
Don’t let them settle for doing enough to get by. Implement higher standards with quality monitoring technology and make them mandatory. Eliminate the option of subpar service. Agents that continuously strive to meet those benchmarks are in an excellent position to deliver excellent results and wow your customers.
You need to know exactly how helpful and receptive your workers are to your customers. For example, irate customers who end up speaking with representatives who tune them out only end upfeeling more unsatisfied, alienated and angry. They do not feel connected with the agents who assisted them. As a result, they have had poor customer service because those agents failed to engage them, acknowledge them and their feelings and weren’t genuinely concerned about rectifying their issues. Keep in mind that all it takes is just one time for customers to have a bad experience before they tell others. They may even resort to using social media to do so.
Continuous Monitoring Gives Your Organization an Edge
Don’t get complacent. Change things up often. Make sure all of your workers are accountable so they take ownership for their actions towards customers. Implement call sampling software and practices to capture analytics to measure results and better train your agents. Research your options for quality monitoring and assurance software and technologies carefully. You may need to test several different software before you find the solution that works best for your organization.
Remember, you want a good system that not only enables you to effectively track all customer calls, correspondence and interactions with your organization, but you also want a solution that reduces call times while improving the manner, rate and efficiency that customer issues are resolved.Depending on the needs of your company, there may not be a good one-size fits all solution. You may be better off leveraging several applications to get the same or better results. Incorporate technology to streamline your organization’s quality assurance and monitoring processes to create spectacular customer experience and improve your bottom-line.
If you are ready to transform your organization’s call center operations so that it delivers exceptional customer service consistently, give the experts at E-Tech Global a call. We offer a variety of resources and technologies to improve every aspect of your call center’s operations.
Jim Iyoob, EVP Customer Experience & Operational Excellence at Etech Global Service
Jim is the Executive Vice President of Customer Experience for Etech Global Services. He is responsibile for strategy, marketing, business development, program implementation, operational Excellence and product development across all of Etech’s existing lines of business – Etech, Etech Monitoring Solutions (EMS), Etech Receivables Management Services (ERMS), Enterprise Technology Solutions (ETS) and Etech Social Media Solutions. Jim has 20+ years of omni-channel contact center outsourcing experience utilizing on onshore, nearshore and offshore.