Call Center Quality

Call center quality often refers to the efficient operating of a call center business unit. For organizations that are more customer focused, call center quality refers to the levels of customer experience delivered.

How courtesy can undermine agent performance

How can courtesy undermine agent performance? How does that happen? The 29 Quality Assurance Mistakes to Avoid e-book and self-assessment includes the question “Do your customers rate your agents’ level of courtesy as part of your current quality process?” The e-book contains questions that are designed to help you uncover issues with Quality Assurance programs within your customer contact center. Our desire is to help prevent you from following an industry trend of reliance on benchmarking (with the average performers) in order to evaluate your operations. We would hate to see you make a costly mistake of striving to reach average results. Nobody wants to dedicate valuable resources that undermine the ability to excel. This e-book was designed to help you sprint past mediocre; straight to the front of the pack. Continue reading

What is Inter-Rater Reliability Testing

What is inter-rater reliability testingWhat is Inter-Rater Reliability Testing?

The contact center industry is facing wide-spread instances of low employee morale and low overall customer satisfaction performance. Inter-rater Reliability (IRR) testing may help you to turn around this trend in your contact center. In order for this to occur the old method of quality monitoring calibration would need to be replaced with IRR testing.

Inter-Rater Reliability testing allows you to increase the consistency with your quality monitoring calibration process. Inter-Rater Reliability (IRR) testing for internal quality monitoring (iQM) practices is being used in leading contact centers to increase their agent performance and to address many of the chronic problems expereinced by using the traditional quality monitoring calibration process. IRR enables contact centers to be even more customer-centric by increasing the level of consistency from one agent to the next and from one grader of calls to the next. Continue reading

Do customers need more empathy

Do customers need more empathy? How do you know? The 29 Quality Assurance Mistakes to Avoid e-book and self-assessment includes the question Do you include the customers’ rating of agents’ empathy to their situation as part of your current quality process?  The e-book contains reflective questions designed to uncover opportunities with Quality Assurance programs within contact centers. Identifying opportunities or detecting weaknesses is a critical step on the journey to elevate your contact center to one of undeniable importance to the organization. Let’s not get too focused on finding answers in a benchmarking report. Find your own path to excellence by leveraging your Quality Assurance program. No one has resources to waste on the assumed outcomes from a benchmark study. This e-book was designed to help you become a leader and not a follower and get a better understanding of empathy and several other topics associated with contact center quality. Continue reading

Video – 8 Wants of Contact Center Leaders

Contact center leaders want improved qualityWhen asked, contact center leaders agreed to these 8 things being on their list of wants. They are striving for these things and are looking to make changes. It is likely that all other leaders would be in agreement. In this video get the list and get answers.

What do you think contact center leaders want?

As contact centers are pressured by doing more with less and higher performance expectations, are their common requests and wants? It is more technology? Is it less complexity? At a recent contact center conference we polled many contact center leaders and found 8 common wants and wishes. Are they the same for you?

Please share your thoughts and your wants in the comment section below.

Gallery – 29 mistakes to avoid with quality assurance programs

Below are the question pages in image format for 29 Mistakes to Avoid with Quality Assurance Programs eBook with Self- assessment. You can download the entire quality assurance ebook for free in our contact center resource library. If you would like permission to use these, or have any questions, you may contact us anytime.

mistakes to avoid with quality assurance programs self-assessment cover
29 quality assurance mistakes to avoid ebook 90 percent contact center budget impact

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29 Mistakes to avoid with quality assurance programs

Mistakes to avoid with quality

Mistakes to Avoid with Quality Assurance Self-Assessment and Tips

Today Customer Relationship Metrics, L.C. released a new ebook 29 Mistakes to Avoid with Quality Assurance that includes a 29-point (and a bonus) self-assessment on common mistakes that can be avoided that ultimately undermine a contact center’s ability to maximize customer experiences with service delivery. The findings in the ebook are based on more than a twenty year span of analyzing and designing a holistic approach to quality assurance practices in contact centers.

Virtually unheard of until recently, quality assurance transformation has quickly become one of the hottest activities in contact centers. In the past six months, quality assurance transformation has become a big topic of discussion in the press, blogs, social networks, and industry events.

Contact Center Quality? Quality Problems!

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Wow Customer Experiences from Contact Center Quality

Contact center quality vital questions

Getting Wow Customer Experiences from Contact Center Quality

Do you want to deliver better customer experiences in your contact centers? Do you want customers to be wowed?  Are you happy with your contact center quality program? I know, these seem like stupid questions to actually expect a response. Really, who in their right mind would answer “no”?  This is exactly why I did not ask these questions while at a contact center conference a few weeks ago. At this event I had the opportunity to meet with over a hundred contact center practitioners, all there trying to gain more knowledge and skills. Just like so many of us, these people want to do a better job, and were investing time and effort to do so. No time for stupid questions!

Honestly, I think we all have the same desire to progress and to do a better job. We definitely do not want to fail. It’s these desires that can also lead us to temptation in contact centers. We have to face the fact that at some point we were new to contact centers. Despite a few stories I have read, I do not think people were born to work in contact centers.  It is a learned skill. And for most of us, it chooses us, we did not choose it. When each of us start something new we naturally look to see what others are doing to determine what we should do. A somewhat structured approach of “what are others doing“ is called benchmarking. One thing that may not clearly be understood is that benchmarking actually meets a fundamental human need to avoid risk and to find comfort in familiarity. Continue reading

Internal Quality Monitoring is unable to answer the quality question

Internal Quality Monitoring is not enough to answer the quality questionDo you want to know if internal quality monitoring (iQM) scores help you to answer, what was the customer experience? You are continuously asked how well the contact center is serving the customer – how well is service delivered to customers who call to resolve a problem or to ask a question? In many contact centers, they rely on a summary of operational metrics with the assumption that certain metric levels answers this critical question. You most often rely on internal quality monitoring (iQM) scores to answer the question.

If your iQM is like most, you have to conclude that most customers are extremely satisfied by the telephonic service experience. Scores naturally migrate to the upper part of the iQM scoring scale. If you have 100 points available, the majority of your scores are probably 92 or higher, or even 95 and higher – essentially you use the top 10 points on the scale. Continue reading

What scale should I use for my customer satisfaction surveys?

When selecting the best scale to use when measuring customer satisfaction, the decision should be driven by several key points:

  • What is the methodology for the measurement project?
  • What is the intended use for the results?
  • What are the best analytics to accurately interpret the results? 

What is the methodology for the customer experience measurement project?

The research participants must be easily able to understand and to apply the scale. With the need in post-call IVR survey research to be one of clarity and speed for the respondent, the scale selected must be anchored with a high and a low end rather than identifying a category for the scale points. Categorical scales must be repeated to insure the correct application by the respondent, thereby limiting the effectiveness of the approach in the post-call IVR survey methodology where the goal is to quickly collect responses to as many research variables as will be acceptable. Continue reading

Obama Wins and a big data lesson for the customer experience

customer experience and contact center leaders learnAnalytics predicted an Obama win, and it’s a Big Data lesson for all customer experience and contact center professionals.

Before the votes were cast, New York Times blogger Nate Silver predicted, with 90%+ confidence, that Obama would win the election. He did this while billions of dollars were spent on old methods of people calling me, people knocking on my door, and outbound IVRs calling me all day long. Seriously, I was beginning to think all of that money was spent on me. I am so glad this is over; I can get some productive time back. Whew! Continue reading

Innovations in Mystery Calling would excite Sherlock Holmes

Call Analytics, Speech Analytics, Audio Mining, If Sir Arthur Conan Doyle were alive today, he would have written a story for Sherlock Holmes that would cause everybody in the world to rethink mystery calling for call center interactions.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote fifty-six short stories and four novels about Sherlock Holmes. The first was published in 1887. In my opinion, Sherlock Holmes was the first Crime Scene Investigator (CSI). His use of forensic skills and logical reasoning were on the revolutionary edge and were used to solve very difficult cases. Continue reading

Your agents are only as good as the processes behind them; so what’s wrong with your processes?

Being in the industry makes me hyper sensitive to call center service when I am a caller.  I’d classify myself as a good customer because I try to set them up to be successful.  I try to never raise my voice and I always remember that they are only as good the processes that are behind them.  But there are times when there’s no choice but to feel the same pain that other customers feel. 

Recently, the first call center agent I talked to seemed knowledgeable enough but the call got disconnected.  Okay, but the first thing she asked me when we started the call was for my number in case we got disconnected so she could call me back.  I waited 15 minutes but no call back.  So I called back.  I reached someone new this time.  I started my story over with this new agent.  After about 30 minutes he said he’d have to transfer me to his supervisor who had more experience.  I had to start my story over a third time with the supervisor only to discover that my issue was complicated and would require that a case be opened.  

You are probably thinking the same things that I did:  Why didn’t they call me back when they made me feel like they would?  Why did it take so many agents and so much of my time to figure out a plan?  Why is the knowledge base so ineffective?  What are they doing to address their poor first contact resolution rate?  Continue reading

Why the Quality Assurance and Training Study Results Scare Me

In late May, the QATC (Quality Assurance, Training and Connection organization) published the results of their quarterly survey on critical quality assurance and training topics in call centers, focusing on quality monitoring call calibration practices.  I found the survey results to be quite interesting (sometimes scary), but for very different reasons than highlighted in the QATC report.

1)  Quality Monitoring Calibration requirements – According to the survey, 24% of respondents indicated that calibration participants were not required to review calls prior to the call calibration meeting.  In these cases, it is a feel-good, group-think exercise and not a true call calibration session.  Yikes! Assuming the Quality Assurance team in the call center does not grade every call by committee, such an exercise is ineffective at gauging the degree of disparity that exists within the current call monitoring process.  And since disparity is not being measured, the effectiveness of call calibrations cannot be quantified. Result: Waste of time.

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Reducing volume in your call center is simple, hide your number

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.”

Happy Monday!

Is UPS or FedEx damaging FCR in your Call Center?

I primarily shop online and therefore get many packages delivered.  My UPS deliveryman never makes eye-contact, never says hello; he just tosses me the package and has me sign.  Conversely, whenever I get a package from FedEx, this cheery fellow smiles while he asks me how I’m doing, and tells me to have a nice day; once we even had a laugh about my crazy dog that started licking him uncontrollably.  While in both cases I received my packages, my customer service experience is drastically different.

So let me ask you, based on my delivery customer experience, would you shop more at online retailers that use UPS or FedEx?  Would you be more lenient when a package does not arrive as expected with UPS or FedEx? Would you wait longer to call the retailer’s call center to track the package when you know it’s UPS versus FedEx?

We talk often about the importance of positive service over the phone in the contact center, but quality face-to-face interactions can affect the calls you are receiving in your call center and your first contact resolution rates (FCR); even if your service providers/vendors are involved in the service experience.

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