Contact Centre Quality: Hammer or Scalpel Approach?

Contact Centre Quality - hammer scalpel

Most contact centre quality management programs depend on comparison of recorded customer calls against criteria reflected by a common “best practice” standard. The comparisons are usually made by dedicated Quality Analysts and Team Leaders, with the standard being defined by a combination of centre management and customer feedback. The standard remains relatively static, generating a quality score to allow the comparison of agent ability to adhere to the standard. This is the ‘Hammer’ approach to quality management, an approach that seeks to homogenise the customer experience offered by each call centre agent. Resource intensive and repetitive! But does it work? Does it add value to your business? And is there a better way?

If the frequency of under-resourced contact centre Quality Management Teams can be used as a gauge, the answer is no. The Hammer approach to quality is not highly valued by contact centre management, or the wider organisation in which they serve. But is there an alternative approach?

The ‘Scalpel’ approach to call centre quality management seeks to target specific customer experience challenges, identify a solution, and create the change necessary to implement the solution. There will always be a need to ensure general consistency in customer experience, but leave the responsibility of maintaining this consistency to your Team Leaders. Reserve your Quality Analyst to improving business performance, not maintaining the status quo.

Consider the challenge of call centre transfers. While the research may vary in regards to the number and type of transfers required to destroy your customer’s service experience or likelihood to purchase; transferring a customer rarely improves their disposition! If your customers are telling you inappropriate transfers are a problem, focus your Quality Analyst on fixing the problem.

Instead of your Quality Analysts listening to a random selection of calls, have them focus on only those calls that include transfers, with the intent of determining why calls are being transferred, and what can be done to reduce the transfer rate. From this analysis a strategy can be created to address the challenges. The solution will most likely be a combination of process change, staff training, and reinforcement of expected behaviours. Once these changes have been introduced to the centre, have your Quality Analysts maintain their focus on customer transfers until the issue is addressed. You can then move their attention to your next service challenge.

This approach reveals the efforts of your Quality Analysts in a manner reflected by business valued measures; reduced staff requirements, increased sales, and increased customer satisfaction.

The ability to focus Quality Analyst activity on specific interaction types, and rapidly modify assessment forms, has been made easy with leading contact centre solutions such as HP Qfiniti and Interactive Intelligence that allow rapid location of calls by a wide range of criteria such as occurrence of transfers, location or number of caller, length of call, or even key words – particularly useful for targeting challenges in selling specific products, dealing with complaints, or offering complex advice.

Every quality management toolkit needs a hammer, but sometimes a scalpel that can focus attention, maximise the benefit of limited resources, and demonstrate direct and visible value to the business, can be a great alternative.

Jason Metcalfe, QPC Solutions Manager