Today’s reality is that customers no longer think, behave or interact with brands and companies the way they did in the past. The new reality is that social media and social interaction platforms can no longer be dismissed. They are literally impacting business, exposing vulnerabilities and forcing organisations to act to address underlying issues.
If keeping your customers happy and loyal, and growing your customer base is your key driver, reinventing your Quality Management (QA) and Quality Assurance (QA) strategies can’t wait. Today, products, services, pricing and even customer feedback can be compared over the Internet at the click of a button. For more and more businesses the contact centre is quite literally their front door and the agent that picks up the call is the voice of the company and the yardstick against which the company will be measured; therefore, monitoring and managing the quality of service delivered by contact centre agents is vital. But QM is already 30 years old and with the Age of Multimedia upon us it’s probably high time for a serious QM make-over.
The current shortfalls of QM include the fact that recordings are simply too one-dimensional and are being used for evaluation in one area – the crucial information contained in those calls is not being leveraged to drive decision-making on products and services, marketing promotions, internal processes or even, in some instances, agent training and development. In short, supervisors conducting QM are typically focussed on agents’ performance only, they are not using QM as a tool or methodology to improve and change their business at large. The reinvention that is necessary for Quality Management and Assurance programmes is a ‘retooling’ to monitor different metrics – for exponentially greater benefit.
It’s no longer worthwhile for the organisation to just monitor agent performance and development. The organisation (and this usually means the supervisor) needs to monitor organisational performance against strategic initiatives on an enterprise-wide basis. These strategic initiatives may include root-cause analysis to get to the bottom of problems, process improvements, branding through service, service-to-sales initiatives, overall behavioural trends and more. Lines must be opened to senior executives on an ongoing basis and this crucial information must be utilised to drive strategic business decisions and implementation.
In the Age of Converging Multimedia, the contact centre must play a more strategic role, focussing less on addressing one-off customer issues and more on understanding customers and what triggers some of the underlying root causes that prompt the customer interactions to begin with. The aim of these reinvented centres is to help reduce operating costs, as well as enhance service and foster long-term customer relationships by building on data and information gathered.
To do this, QM systems will increasingly be reinvented as end-to-end solutions that reliably capture, store and retrieve customer interactions across multiple channels (e.g., telephone, voice over IP, email and the Web) and sites. The assessment of these interactions will be done against indicators that track the performance of agents and the contact centre, but more importantly will be used to track trends, gauge and facilitate exploration of the relationship among various technology metrics (such as ACD statistics and adherence data), and identify areas of opportunity or improvement.
Companies must look toward QM as leverage to turn ‘once-off’ complaining customers into loyal long-term clients.
Paul Fick, Divisional Managing Director of Jasco Enterprise Communication