Call monitoring to support Agent quality management is routine for most contact centres. Randomly selected call recordings are assessed by Quality Analysts who evaluate an Agent’s call performance against defined quality criteria. From the individual assessment criterion an over-arching Quality Score is then derived as indication of an Agent’s compliance with call quality standards. The assessment criteria, publishing processes, performance review impacts, and administrative technologies vary dramatically from one contact centre to the next. But one aspect remains the same; nearly all call monitoring focuses solely on the Agent!
When call monitoring focuses solely on the Agent it creates value from only 50% of the conversation. Extending assessment criteria to the customer yields value from 100% of the conversation. Double the value from the same call assessment!
Obviously customer centric assessment criteria would not contribute to an Agent’s performance assessment, but the results gained from customer assessment can certainly contribute to the performance assessment and improvement of other areas of your organisation. But what sort of assessment criteria would you use, and why? I hope the following examples help to clarify.
“Was the customer confused by our marketing material?”
When customers are reading your organisation’s brochures, website, letters, or notices, but frequently call asking for clarification of what those publications mean, you face a communication challenge that generates additional Agent servicing costs, creates customer dissatisfaction with increased time investment, and reduces sales propensity by creating confusion. An assessment criteria that identifies the confusing publication, and describes the reason for confusion, offers a valuable source of feedback for customer communication improvement; reducing operating costs, improving customer satisfaction, and improving sales results.
“Did the customer route to the right Agent?”
When customers first share their reason for calling, do Agents need to transfer their call through to the right department? There are many reasons why customer calls arrive at the wrong Agent, and while their frequency may be automatically measured, their reason for misdirection is usually unfathomable to your communication system. An assessment criteria identifying call arrival, transfer destination, and the nature of the misdirected enquiry can dramatically improve your contact centre’s customer routing strategies.
“Did the Agent use a phrase or approach that should be shared with others?”
Agent training aims to equip every Agent with the tools necessary to satisfy customers and achieve your organisation’s goals. The training offered to Agents may be uniform, but the results usually aren’t. Some Agents are simply far better in their role than others. When a Quality Analyst hears an Agent use a phrase, or conversation approach, which repeatedly exceeds customer or organisational expectations it should be captured and considered for use throughout the contact centre. Recognise and learn from your best performing Agents.
“Was this the first time the customer called regarding their enquiry?”
The detrimental effects of low ‘first call resolution’ rates on operating costs, customer satisfaction, and sales propensity are widely accepted. However, the availability of system generated data that accurately measures frequency and reason for repeat calls is scarce and often ambiguous. An assessment criteria identifying if a call is a follow-up for a previous enquiry, the channel of that previous enquiry, and the nature of the enquiry, creates an insightful pool of data for ‘first call resolution’ improvement initiatives.
Customer Assessment Comes at a Cost
Extending your call monitoring assessment criteria will lengthen the time it takes to assess each phone call, reducing the overall number of call assessments your Quality Analysts can complete. As a result, you’ll need to either increase your Quality Analyst costs, or accept a reduction in the number of completed call assessments. However, increased assessment durations can be minimised by limiting the number of customer assessment criteria used at any given time. Contact Centre Quality: Hammer or Scalpel Approach? explores the benefits of targeting specific initiatives or campaigns with limited assessment criteria.
Cost versus Benefit
While the increased cost of customer assessment can be minimised, the business benefit generated can be immense. The art of crafting customer assessment questions to yield useful analytical data, the intuition to know where to begin your search, and the flexibility to quickly adapt and refine assessment criteria, comes with training and practice. But once perfected, your contact centre call monitoring can yield gold from both sides of your customer conversations.
Jason Metcalfe, QPC Solutions Manager