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Call centers have come a long way since the 1950s when housewives became the first telemarketers by selling home-baked goods over the phone. Today, customers connect with call center agents via voice, chat, text, email, and even video communication platforms like Zoom, with artificial intelligence playing a vital supporting role. Nevertheless, the quality of personal customer-agent interactions continues to make a direct impact on businesses and their bottom lines.

Enter the call center quality monitoring program. Just like call centers themselves, quality monitoring programs have gone through their own technological evolution. While human listening is a key component of evaluating customer-agent interactions, quality assurance monitoring can now integrate with speech analytics technology to capture all communications and leverage Voice of the Customer data to unlock powerful, actionable insights. Still, no matter how advanced the analytics are that support the quality monitoring program, there are a few basic steps each business should take to make sure their program is set-up for success.

Step one:  Begin with the end in mind.

When customers have a high-quality interaction with a call center agent, they are more likely to become repeat customers, upgrade their purchases, or recommend a business to others. In fact, research suggests that 86% of consumers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. On the other hand, 73% of customers would consider switching to a competitor after just one negative customer service experience, according to The Northridge Group’s 2020 State of Customer Service Experience report. Contact centers can be costly, but so is poor customer service.

It’s important to design a quality monitoring program that is grounded in your company’s strategic objectives. Does your business want to improve the quality of customer-agent interactions? Or, having already built high-quality service, do you want to streamline interactions to save money?

Step two: Adapt your goals to your line of business.

If you run a small business with only one call center, executing your quality monitoring system might seem like a simple affair. But is it really? If your customers include both individual consumers and businesses, you may need to evaluate these two kinds of interactions differently. You may also have to create different customer service protocols for each product, or, to save money, focus on only one important product per quarter. You may choose to focus on just one customer service channel that is struggling, such as chat. Then again, you may want omnichannel monitoring.

If you have more than one call center, things get even more complicated. Is it just one or two centers that need improvement, or do you want to upgrade performance at all of them? If you have a national or global operation, you will have to take into account the different laws governing call center operations in each state or country. You will also have to consider cultural differences from region to region: What is polite in one part of the world may be rude or strange in another. Finally, different centers may have different technologies and resources at their disposal.

Step three: Decide who will lead the quality monitoring program and how to pay for it.   

Who should lead your quality monitoring effort? Where will the budget for the program come from? In many multinational organizations, there is a global quality monitoring team responsible for designing programming for the entire company, while regional offices must fund and implement the programming. How will these groups communicate? How will regional leaders ensure that a company-wide program is adapted to their local law, cultural customs, and available resources? Does upper management have a strong familiarity with the concept of quality monitoring? How will the resulting data be collected and distributed? Ensuring that everyone involved in the program communicates clearly and often is essential.

Step four: Use your data.

Once you have a robust data set from your quality monitoring efforts, how will you use this information to improve performance? Advanced analytical reporting can seamlessly uncover the insights needed to make better and more informed business decisions. For instance, Voice of the Customer data garnered from both human listening and automated analytics systems can be leveraged to identify major pain points, drivers of effort, challenges faced when contacting customer service, and other customer experience issues. These insights are pivotal to business decisions and can be transformed into solutions that improve the overall customer experience. Quality monitoring data can also be used to coach employees to better performance and to design new performance incentives for employees and reward them for outstanding work.

Step five: Check your bandwidth.

Quality monitoring programs can be complex and time-consuming, but they are vital to any best-in-class contact center operation. Most organizations don’t have the bandwidth or depth of expertise to execute a consistent, actionable program in-house. That’s when it can make sense to outsource.

The Northridge Group is a leading provider of Quality Monitoring Solutions and Customer Analytics Services. We help companies design tailored quality programs based on best practices to yield actionable outcomes. Contact us to learn how we can help your company achieve its customer service goals.

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