Quality Management for the Contact Center

In recent years, customer experience has come into sharp focus as a prime indicator of organization health. As customers become more empowered, their expectations of customer service have risen exponentially and can be more difficult than ever to meet. To keep your finger on the pulse of your customer’s expectations and experience, you must look beyond the information gleaned from software user interfaces and web analytics to the true information gold mine: your contact center.

With every contact center interaction, your organization has an opportunity to connect with a customer under the best and worst circumstances. The goal is that every agent is able to give a consistent and positive experience each time they interact with a customer. How can you be sure that’s happening? By establishing clear methodologies for contact center quality management that appropriately balance productivity with quality.

New era of customer expectation

Today’s customers have many tools at their fingertips to help them decide how they want to do business, and with whom. There is little room for error when it comes to meeting customer expectations. Not to mention, these expectations span across multiple channels – email, chat, and phone – and customers expect a seamless and consistent experience across all.  In fact, studies have shown that 78% of consumers will permanently change how they feel about a business based on a single contact center interaction (Forbes).

Ensuring a high quality contact center experience can provide a competitive advantage to your business. This means the focus must be customer-centric, not driven solely by costs or out-moded measures of agent productivity. Some key expectations that must be met include seamless omnichannel experiences, a strong sense that they are valued and appreciated, and most importantly, heard, and that their issue is being addressed quickly. When assessing your contact center quality management, these factors must be considered and effective measures of success determined.

Evolution of the contact center

Customer expectations are not all that has changed in recent years. The contact center has rapidly evolved from the old school call center model to a far more decentralized one. Flexible staffing needs (as well as the pandemic) have given rise to remote agents, primarily working from home. The drive towards omnichannel communications means contact centers rely on smarter, cloud-based and AI-driven tools to support customers across channels (Contact Center World).

This evolution can be a double-edged sword for contact center quality assurance. On one side, it is far easier to provide agents with the tools and data they need to support customers effectively. On the flip side are the challenges with quality monitoring to ensure consistent and positive customer experiences. As the contact center and it’s arsenal of tools and communication channels continue to evolve, so must the metrics and methodologies organizations use to monitor and manage contact center quality.

Supporting today’s agents

Contact center agents bear an important weight of responsibility for ensuring that your company’s customer-centric initiatives are being met. They need access to the tools, data, and training required to meet the expectations of both customers and management. Agent metrics need to measure and monitor more than simplistic stats like call time or case volumes. They should focus on meaningful measurements that are channel-appropriate and measure outcomes over inputs.

Contact center quality management must also focus on identifying agent training or knowledge gaps, as well as monitoring adherence to scripts, policies, and regulatory standards. Agents will be their most successful when they are well-supported with training and growth opportunities, have clear performance goals, and feel a sense of ownership towards overall business objectives. A high quality contact center will utilize powerful, cloud-based tools to support agents, providing them with key customer data and context-aware solutions. These tools will also provide management with reporting, analytics, and monitoring tools to fully support their workforce while reducing burnout and churn.

Using QM to Evaluate

In the end, contact center quality management rolls back to metrics and data. These metrics can be key indicators of your organizational health, as customer-centricity comes from the top down. But standard customer service metrics alone cannot paint a complete picture. You must clearly identify your organization’s primary objectives, business goals, and opportunities.

As you establish your key performance indicators that monitor your progress, strategically align them with your customer experience goals. These metrics should include measures from these five categories: customer satisfaction (CSAT), customer loyalty, brand reputation, operational quality, and employee engagement (Gartner).

Many of the metrics in these categories can be monitored through the contact center and related customer data. By implementing effective contact center tools or partnering with a cloud-based contact center provider, you can easily report on metrics that not only monitor contact center quality assurance but overall organizational performance and health.  These partnerships can be the key to achieving your customer-centric business goals and advancing ahead of the competition. While your customer-centric approach needs to start from the top down, your strategic monitoring needs to come from the ground up.

Lear more about contact center quality assurance evaluation methods here.