July 18, 2014 - Call center quality control – both for inbound customer service and order processing and outbound B2B lead generation and appointment setting – is an ethic and a process.
That is, the outsourced call center needs to have more than agents and managers dedicated to providing quality service for the client. It also requires a process for monitoring, measuring and ensuring quality.
This means assigning staff resources dedicated to quality assurance and tasking senior managers with regular quality reviews. It also means having the ability to monitor inbound and outbound phone calls, either live or recorded.
A minimum of 10 percent of calls should be reviewed by call center QA managers. Agent performance during those calls should be assessed and captured on a spreadsheet scorecard that grades such elements as the tone, content of the call opening, whether the purpose of the call is clearly identified, if a good resolution – matching the customer need with a solution – has been reached and, finally, if the representative closes the call with a succinct and accurate summary of actions to be taken, if any.
The scorecard should also measure politeness, friendliness and overall demeanor.
These results should be used both collectively and individually. They go toward assessing the overall performance of a client team, identifying areas of strength and weakness. On an individual basis, they can be used in coaching sessions to addresses areas that need improvement and for rewarding good work with performance incentives, raises and promotions.
The results of call monitoring are gathered and used as the basis for frequent calibration sessions with clients of outsource call centers. At these meetings the data is examined by the client and the call center and is measured against the quality standards established at the outset of the call center engagement. Clients should be given access to call recordings so that examples of good and bad calls can be discussed.
Program reports – capturing such data as average talk time, time to answer, first call resolution, sales appointments scheduled and average order size – are also measured against program goals and examined during calibration sessions.
Another layer of quality control that can be implemented is gauging customer satisfaction using outbound calling to solicit the voice of the customer. Post contact outreach to your customers by phone or email provides the opportunity to request feedback on their service experience.
Instrumental to the quality assurance process is open and frequent communications
The Team Leader meets with the VP of Operations at least every other day to review results and discuss any needs or challenges. They develop a plan of action to address concerns in an expeditious manner and include department managers from quality assurance, training, personnel and information technology, when appropriate, regarding the matter at hand. The call center team should collectively determine if problems have arisen due to systems, personnel, training or any other reason, along with the required steps to remedy the problem. The managers should then develop an action plan for quick implementation. The team should meet daily to measure the effect of the solution and make any additional adjustments required until the program is back on track.
Quality assurance is strongest at call centers with a premise-based staffing model, rather than a virtual model with agents working at home. Team meetings are more effective, and real-time suggestions can be made by supervisors as they walk the call center floor and listen to representatives at work. Knowledge sharing and overall accountability is also enhanced with on-site staffing.
Mark Fichera, CEO
Beverly, MAPortsmouth, NH