External Quality Monitoring
External Quality Monitoring (EQM) is Customer Relationship Metrics’ most popular customer experience analytics program. The EQM program is a fully managed services program that combines survey calibration, real-time surveys and professional services.
I have recently overheard discussions around creative ways to improve a company’s customer satisfaction ratings from their External Quality Monitoring program using a post-call survey methodology. “How can we break that 95%+ glass ceiling in customer satisfaction ratings?” “Why couldn’t the agent ask the customer at the end of each call if they have done enough for them to give them a top box rating?” Sure, it sounds straightforward. In theory, the agent would know before they hung up if they had provided the level of customer service and answered the questions that the customer wanted them to or if they needed to do more before ending the call. They could fix the problem right then and there, right? If only it were that simple. While this concept sounds like an uncomplicated fix – ask and you shall receive – it may be anything but. “Be careful what you wish for” might be more applicable to this scenario than anyone realizes. Continue reading “Are you earning that high post-call survey score?” »
Culture. A popular buzz word across corporate America; but what does it mean and why is it so important? Hofstede, Namenwirth and Weber defined culture as “A system of values and norms that are shared among a group of people and that when taken together constitute a design for living.” Based on their definition, in order to be successful, you need to start with the core foundation of the enterprise – the office culture.
Take a minute and think back to a time (whether at work or in your personal life) when you walked into a room and could immediately feel the tension in the air. Now think of a different scenario when you walked into a room of people who were smiling, interacting with one another, possibly even laughing. Which room would you rather be in? Continue reading “How much does office culture affect customer satisfaction?” »
When is enough, enough? During these lean economic times companies, like many households, are trying to do more with less. At what point does all of that scrimping and saving end up costing the company more? Let’s take head count and span of control for instance. In our example company, the External Quality Monitoring program using a post-call survey methodology shows that customers are happy with the current span of control ratio of approximately 15:1. The customers are not delighted, but not necessarily discontent. What if the management team of this company decides that ‘happy’ is the new ‘delighted’ and decides to tweak the span of control slightly in an attempt to reduce costs even more? If the company increases team size, they would be able to eliminate a supervisor position. They could simply function the same way they currently do when a supervisor is on vacation. Customers don’t notice vacation days so they won’t notice this, right? Continue reading “Scrimping in the call center can cost you” »
Voice of the Customer; a catch phrase commonly uttered in offices around the globe. But what does it mean exactly? Where does it come from? How does a business decipher constructive (and valuable) feedback from noise? It is not uncommon to hear a manager say that you need to listen to the voice of the customer (VOC), but often that’s where the initiative stops. Proclaiming the need to listen and actually listening are two very different things. So is acting on the information heard.
One of our clients focused on turning such a proclamation into action and made some changes to the internal processes causing customer dissatisfaction. The External Quality Monitoring program using a post-call survey methodology revealed that only 51.6% of their callers stated that their question or problem had been resolved on the first call. With barely more than one out of every two calls yielding a resolution, FCR was obviously an extremely costly issue for them because repeat calls have direct and indirect costs. It was definitely time to take action.
Customer experience analytics clarified a common theme from the callers who reported that their issue had not been resolved on the call. Callers frequently stated that they had to call back to check on the status of the application because the agent they had spoken with did not have a way to check. “Wait and see and call back” is not a good answer for these callers. How can this information about an issue that increases the customer effort be alleviated within the internal process(es)? After taking a hard look at the outcome of this internal process from the customers’ perspective, a strategy was developed to dedicate a specific team of representatives to support the call center agents behind the scenes. Frontline agents could not have access to the needed information but this support team had the resources to review a caller’s application, claim and status. The agent can now provide the information needed to the caller upon request and eliminate the need for many customer repeat calls. Continue reading “All you have to do is listen to your customers.” »
I was setting up my electricity for my new house and the provider offered to connect me to a third party that could coordinate my move and offer me discounts at home improvement stores. How convenient! The third party compared rates of the two local TV/Phone/Internet providers so I was able to also schedule those services to be hooked up. I was identified as someone in the midst of a move and the utility added value to our relationship. This partnership saved me an additional call to set up my entertainment services and, before the call was over, I had several Home Depot coupons waiting in my Inbox.
We are all looking for ways to cross-sell and to up-sell when we talk to our customers. Thinking like a customer helps to increase revenue through partnering. It is important to bundle a logical, related service or product. If you’re selling home appliances and you have a customer that’s ordering several appliances, your call center agent could ask if they are remodeling their kitchen. Would it then be fair to connect them with a design firm to assist in their remodel? It’s acceptable to do a few follow-up questions (maybe they are a DIYer) to see if they would like coupons or a consultation with a home improvement store. But, attempting to sell a PC is not. Knowing your customer and thinking about logical, related products and services will not only increase your revenue and enhances your corporate partnerships, but you may just gain a loyal customer for life!
See the intelligence that can be captured from customer experience. Continue reading “Selling for service improves customer experiences in contact centers.” »
I recently had a small issue with Verizon that I wasn’t able to resolve on the web site. Not a big deal. But when clicked on ‘Contact Us’ and then ‘By Phone’, instead of giving me the phone number, I was met with a pop-up window that said: “We’re sorry…we are not able to process your request.” Great, if you are going to hide the number you need to cough it up when we follow the clicking path to get it! Is this a new call avoidance tactic that I missed? Now my small problem is bigger. Understandably miffed, I relayed this story to a co-worker who had just called Verizon a week prior and had a completely different experience. She said she got right through to a knowledgeable call center agent and after the billing issues were resolved was transferred to another live agent in service to get the phone line checked. She even said how surprised she was that a company so big had such good customer service, while I on the other hand, couldn’t even locate a number to call. Do you worry about the consistency of the customer service experience? Are you protecting your brand by having a uniform calibration process and parameters for evaluating service?
While collecting scores and customer comments for analysis as part of our External Quality Monitoring (EQM) managed services we uncover significantly more than ratings about contact center agents. See what I mean:
“I tried calling your service number and each time it rang once and disconnected me. Talk about poor customer satisfaction.”
“I usually get right to a contact center agent whenever I have service issues but this time when I called I was on hold for 30 minutes. I got so frustrated I finally hung up. What gives?”
“Every time I order from your company my package is delivered quickly but this time it took almost a month and it was damaged. I don’t know what’s going on with your customer service.”
“Last week I was told by Kevin that I would get a form in the mail to request my refund. I didn’t get the form so I called today and was told by Susanne that I am not eligible for a refund and she’s not sure why Kevin told me that I was.”
How many of you remember getting a gold star from your teacher for good work or good behavior? I remember thinking that the tiny little symbol filled me with a sense of pride for a job well done. What we find over and over again in our External Quality Monitoring programs is that call center agents want to feel empowered and they thrive on performance recognition. Just like those gold stars from our younger years, when call center agents are held accountable for resolving customer complaints quickly and efficiently, and they are provided the tools to improve their performance, it’s not hard to see the link between satisfied agents and quality customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. Continue reading “Call center agent empowerment leads to customer satisfaction and customer retention.” »