For years quality management (QM) has remained stuck in a time bubble while the world has moved on. “Traditionally, quality has meant focusing purely on tangible performance targets and operating contact centres on a command and control basis,” says Thomas Rødseth (pictured right), VP of Product and Marketing at Intelecom.
The truth is quality management of the ‘tick the box’ variety is history. Customer experience and a team-based culture are now the name of the game. As contact centres move from a purely service level, metrics and costs model to a valued-based approach that matches customer needs to the ideal product or service and loyalty is paramount – quality management is back in focus.
Here are five-steps to re-inventing QM and your overall business in one fell swoop, from Rødseth:
1. Put the customer at the heart of everything – customer experience now competes head on with the efficiency agenda which has dictated contact centre priorities for decades. Truly listen to the voice of the customer. Why not ask them what makes a quality experience and then build your people, processes and technology around it? Finally, check back in with customers for their direct, honest feedback to make meaningful changes, boost customer satisfaction and ultimately brand loyalty.
2. Empower agents – gone are the days when managers operated a command and control contact centre. Agents need freedom to apply their expert knowledge and experienced judgment to deliver the best possible customer service. Rather than treat them like cogs in a restricted, process-driven wheel, make them feel like respected contributors in a collective mission to improve service quality and the customer experience.
3. Promote a culture of continuous improvement – assessing quality levels is critical. Invest in interaction analytics to monitor the performance of individuals and team compliance against regulatory targets. Use shared dashboards to stay up to speed with top performers and celebrate team successes. Create a culture of continuous improvement with peer-to-peer and self-evaluations of calls to share learning and new ways of interacting with customers. Team leaders are now coaches – encourage them to motivate staff to achieve personal breakthroughs through a mix of quality bootcamps and individual face-to-face sessions.
4. You can’t do it alone – involve other parts of the business and encourage collaboration to align quality strategies, provide practical guidance and introduce consistent ways of working for customer-facing teams like sales or marketing. Share customer feedback to improve business processes and support commercial decisions or marketing campaigns. Align contact centre Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) with the overall goals of the organisation and use relevant management information to discover new trends, gather valuable customer intelligence and business insights that can be shared. A company-wide approach to quality has the power to drive business success.
5. Cloud is the way to go – the latest cloud-based contact centre solutions will simplify your QM programme. Record calls to capture the end-to-end experience of the customer even if the call has been transferred outside the contact centre environment or occurs across multiple channels. Implement post-call surveys to elicit customers’ views and automatically generate detailed reports on any feedback captured. Investing in software solutions will improve insight for contact centre managers and arm them with the hard evidence they need to mould their operations for maximum impact.