Quality Monitoring is an essential tool used by many businesses to improve customer experience in their contact centers. Quality Monitoring programs leverage call listening, screen monitoring, and advanced data analytics to identify issues faced by individual associates as well as overall operational issues. When Quality Monitoring processes identify specific behavioral issues in individual associates, the behaviors can usually be quickly corrected with monitoring, agent and call level reporting, insights, recommendations, training programs, and/or customized coaching.
The need for robust Quality Monitoring and training can be especially apparent in the contact centers of state and federal government agencies due to the unique nature of the environments they operate in. Many government agencies have already discovered the benefits that Quality Monitoring programs offer, but there are many others with a great need that could benefit as well. The benefits include:
- Compliance Monitoring (an Important Component of Quality Monitoring)
Government programs are often highly regulated, and compliance is imperative. Employing inadequately trained associates to interact with customers can pose compliance risks, so all frontline associates in government contact centers must be trained, monitored, and coached on all relevant verification qualifications, policies, and regulations
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Continuous training, monitoring, and coaching may be necessary for situations where regulations are in flux or are often modified. While the costs associated with non-compliance are high, Compliance Monitoring assures that any gaps in training are identified and remedied before non-compliant behaviors become problematic.
- Empathetic Associates
When customers call government agencies it is often with issues that are quite sensitive and may cause them financial hardship. Additionally, by the time they reach an associate, they have likely been on hold for a significant amount of time. For these reasons, associates taking calls for government agencies must be unusually empathetic, yet their roles can be stressful, which takes a toll on the empathy they deliver. A lack of empathy may come across in either their words or their tone of voice or both and can diminish the customer experience. Fortunately, empathy is a skill that can be taught through coaching and role-playing. Quality Monitoring programs monitor for skills such as empathy and then provide customized training that aligns with any gaps in the monitored skills.
- Coaching and Training
Coaching and training are important parts of Quality Monitoring programs for government agency contact centers and must align with the behavioral issues that have been identified as important by the agency. For example, if the tone of voice is being monitored, training and/or coaching for this specific behavior must be made available for associates with an identified need. Often, associates don’t come across as empathetic to callers because they have difficulty seeing the issue from the caller’s perspective. Well-designed role-playing exercises can help bridge that gap.
- Guideline Development
For a Quality Monitoring program to be successful, enforceable guidelines must be in place. The guidelines should be specific to the contact center’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and the customer issues that it services. Developing guidelines can be a rigorous process, especially for government agencies with strict compliance regulations, but having guidelines in place, optimizes the Quality Monitoring process and makes KPIs easier to track and compare.
- Customer Satisfaction
Government agencies are tasked with customer satisfaction, yet the long wait times that callers to government agencies must often endure, make this difficult to achieve. Most government agencies monitor customer satisfaction and track it over time. An effective Quality Monitoring program, that includes customized training and coaching, can significantly improve customer satisfaction scores.
- Investing Strategically
Funding for Quality Monitoring can be more difficult to come by for government agencies than for for-profit companies. However, the costs of non-compliance with regulations often far exceed the costs of Quality Monitoring. Many government agencies have learned this the hard way and are now investing in Quality Monitoring. Government contact centers that have not done so, should carefully compare the costs of Quality Monitoring with the costs of non-compliance with regulations.
The Northridge Group provides Quality Monitoring to several state and federal government entities, including a few that have awarded us successive multi-year contracts. One of our government clients originally hired us to assist with compliance issues and monitor inbound calls to identify opportunities to improve customer experience. Midway through our first 5-year contract with this entity, our team recognized gaps in associate performance and took the initiative to recommend and develop a new-hire training program to improve the behavioral issues our monitoring identified.
The program was such a success that we were asked to extend our services to include both outbound and technical monitoring. We were also tasked with providing enhanced new-hire behavioral training and designing new guidelines to improve performance standards. The results exceeded the client’s expectations:
- Customer satisfaction drivers improved.
- Empathy scores for contact center associates increased by an unprecedented 15 points year-over-year.
- The new guidelines and the enhanced behavioral training program raised the bar on coaching and performance standards.
Government agencies that implement effective Quality Monitoring programs can avoid the risks of regulatory non-compliance, provide associates with coaching for specific behavioral issues, and improve customer experience. Ongoing Quality Monitoring can help these agencies stay ahead of any new issues that arise in the highly regulated Government sector. To learn more, contact us.