quality assurance

Self-Assessment and Self-Coaching for Quality in the Contact Center

 

Traditional quality management solutions support standard processes of scoring, assessment and coaching. Metrics such as average handling time (AHT) are calculated automatically, and quality assurance specialists score calls based on a standardized evaluation form and guidelines. Then these evaluations are reported to managers, who schedule sessions to review and support employees to improve their quality scores.

It’s a good system, and it works. But it could be even better. New quality management solutions offer capabilities that automate more quality processes than ever before. Analytics-driven quality assurance can analyze and score 100 percent of interactions and provide a more holistic view of contact center performance. Automated dashboards provide managers, evaluators and agents alike with insights into key metrics, and they further drive contact center goals and success. These solutions are fluid and robust. Their complex custom and out-of-the-box workflows also include automated self-assessment and coaching processes that enable employees and managers to further boost their performance.

The value of self-assessment and self-coaching has been confirmed by psychologists, educators and business experts. On its own, or combined with group and one-on-one coaching, self-coaching can improve performance. One study found that students who learned self-assessment strategies performed significantly better than those who didn’t. Self-coaching also has shown its value in a business environment, and evidence suggests that it can surpass peer coaching in effectiveness. Similar trends have been recorded many times, both in educational settings and in the workplace.

In the contact center, self-assessment and self-coaching can enhance and supplement more traditional coaching models, in which supervisors send personalized coaching feedback — such as links to knowledge resources, instructions and due dates — as needed.  Because quality is a vital factor in maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction, the added boost provided by self-assessment can determine the long-term survival of an organization.

The success of self-powered quality improvements for your employees depends on your ability to support them in their efforts:

  1. Train your employees to self-assess and self-coach.

Reviewing your own actions and thoughts isn’t always instinctive. Just as employees have to learn how to use scripts, technology and recording tools, they need to learn how to self-assess and to understand the value it brings.  Coach your employees on best practices, such as how to identify problem areas and deconstruct call recordings themselves. Be sure to explain why you are teaching them: “When we first start reflecting, it can feel like a burden,” explains teaching expert Starr Sackstein. “If students don’t understand why they are doing it, then it will seem superfluous to them. Thus, it is crucial that we communicate to students why we reflect.”

  1. Provide thorough, reliable information.

Don’t just teach employees best practices; give them the information they need to act on them. Ensure that they have regular access to up-to-date scores. People who are struggling frequently don’t know that they’re having trouble, according to the researchers who defined the Dunning-Kruger effect, a cognitive bias that causes individuals to assess their ability as much higher than it really is.

“…Incompetent people do not recognize —scratch that, cannot recognize —just how incompetent they are…. Poor performers — and we are all poor performers at some things — fail to see the flaws in their thinking or the answers they lack,” explains David Dunning.

Once people identify the areas that need improvement, they can correct themselves. This applies to quality management too. When employees have regular access to reports and dashboards reflecting their scores, they know whether they are performing well and when to reach out for additional support from peers or management.

  1. Articulate expectations and set criteria.

Learners need more than statistics about their own performance. In an educational environment, students are much more likely to self-assess when they understand what their teacher’s expectations are. To achieve this in the contact center, provide employees with clear outlines and guidance. Calibrate frequently so that everyone is working toward the same goal. Calibrations also improve the perception of transparency and fairness, which makes employees feel more confident that their efforts to self-direct will be rewarded.

Strong self-assessment and self-coaching skills can improve quality scores that in turn contribute to meeting and exceeding contact center goals. They’re natural additions to traditional training programs and, with the self-assessment automation capabilities now offered by top quality management solutions, are accessible to all.

 

How Speech Analytics Affect the Outcome of Calls

By the time a customer has contacted a live agent, they’ve probably tried to troubleshoot the problem on their own with self-service tools. When they’ve reached the point of wanting to speak with someone, they’re already part of the way through their customer journey. Real-time speech analytics take into account customer history so they can pick up where they left off instead of starting from the beginning.

Real-time speech analytics help agents determine the right thing to say to a customer in the moment in a variety of situations. On top of making sure the customer is directed to the correct agent or department, this technology also gives agents the current, relevant information they need to solve the customer’s problem. Examples of up-to-the-minute information agents will receive include:

  • Issues that are trending on social media.
  • Topics customers are currently calling about the most.
  • Recent updates to products or services.

Real-time speech analytics technology, combined with information being fed to agents in the moment, means that the customer support offered will be tailored to the individual.

Management can program speech analytics to choose agent scripts based on specific speech cues. Software is able to identify words and phrases that are present as well as those that are absent. The software also takes into account sentiment; the point in a call when a word or phrase is said; and the absence of a word or phrase when it should have been said. On top of improving the course of a call while an agent is on the phone, speech analytics can also pinpoint larger gaps in training and find areas for improvement.

The best speech analytics technology will understand the context of a conversation in order to appropriately guide the agent. Customer calls are analyzed in real-time and conversational indicators make it possible for agents to proactively handle a call in a way that’s highly beneficial to the customer.

Advanced speech analytics software helps contact centers in a number of ways. It increases first call resolution and improves the customer experience. It monitors agents for regulation compliance and adherence to company policies. Agents can also use real-time speech analytics to recognize and take advantage of sales opportunities.

3 Ways to Use Analytics for Quality Assurance

Trying to optimize your contact center’s quality assurance (QA) program? Consider these three tips.

  1. Your QA should be focused on high-value calls.

Randomly selecting calls for QA gives you an average of QA rates, but no actual insight into particularly good or particularly bad calls. The best and worst calls are important because this is where agents either improve or ruin customer loyalty.

Every interaction between a contact center and a customer costs money. When you QA a low-value call, you’re just adding onto the cost without getting anything insightful in return.

Instead of randomly choosing calls to score, first assess calls based on the data that’s auto-tagged to them via speech analytics. Call transfers, calls that are put on hold, high-value orders and repeat calls are the most important types of calls to score. You can still randomly select calls, but select them from within a certain category.

  1. Use speech analytics to monitor 100% of calls for quality assurance data.

You can setup speech analytics categories for many of the QA agent conformance checklist items. These include:

  • Proper greeting
  • Call recording disclaimer
  • Verification of personal information
  • Proper closing

You’ll be able to get a percentage score of calls where this information was and was not used. By looking at the scorecard, you’ll be able to glean important insight. For example, you may see that a particular agent isn’t closing the call properly most of the time.

This is a way to off-load a big portion of QA monitoring. Instead of doing this manually, you can have your system do it automatically. Then, you can shorten the amount of QA questions you need to answer, such as if the agent provided the customer with the right answer and if the agent had enough product knowledge.

  1. Adjust the amount of QA evaluations you do for agents based on performance.

Agents who regularly perform well don’t need to be monitored for QA as much as other agents. For example, if an agent has a QA score above 90%, they can be monitored less frequently the following month. Furthermore, agents who have low QA scores should be monitored more frequently the following month. While it may take extra time to setup additional monitoring or to reduce the frequency of monitoring, it’s a good way to give struggling agents the extra help and attention they need.

How Contact Centers Benefit from Quality Assurance Programs

Contact center quality assurance (QA) programs are designed to give customers consistently superior service when they contact an agent or when an agent contacts them. These programs assess the agent and spot trends in contact center performance. Since customers use a wide range of channels to contact businesses, QA programs have to monitor performance across all of those channels.

Quality Assurance Software and Agent Monitoring

QA software can capture information including time and date, the agent handling the call and call duration. The call is recorded, as long as the customer is informed ahead of time. Software may also track details like multiple calls from a single customer and transfers between agents.

Speech analytics is can be used to monitor sections of the agent-customer interaction, including proper greeting and closing; disclaimer for the call recording; and verification of name, social security number, mailing address and contract terms. It can also be used to identify customers that are not satisfied. It’s important for contact center agents to know how their performance will be measured and how they’ll be provided with feedback based on performance.

Focusing on High-Value Calls

In the contact center, different calls have different priority levels. Data can be used to assess call value. High-value calls include transfers, calls that are put on hold, high value accounts, large orders and repeat calls. Low-value calls, on the other hand, aren’t usually worth the cost of monitoring or coaching.

Benefits of Quality Assurance Programs

The data collected gives management information that’s helpful when planning future training programs and incentives. Management is also able to identify the problems that can be improved. For example, if there’s an agent who regularly fails to meet first call resolution goals, they may need more training in a certain area, like product knowledge.

QA software can also assess transfers to determine if they’re “good” or “bad.” An example of a good transfer is when the call is transferred to someone who’s able to get a sale from the customer. An example of a bad transfer is when an agent doesn’t know the information they’re supposed to know and has to transfer the call to someone else to handle the inquiry.

Contact center QA programs and software can lower the number of nonessential transfers, help improve first call resolution, improve customer satisfaction and result in more sales. They also improve the quality of customer service, increase agent efficiency and reduce unnecessary spending.