Time for the '09 NACC Reader Survey
Paul Stockford, Research Director, National Association of Call Centers and Chief Analyst, Saddletree Research, Paul.Stockford@nationalcallcenters.org
It’s time once again for us to ask you, our In Queue readers and NACC members, to donate five minutes or less of your time to the NACC and participate in our brief annual survey that helps us gauge what’s important to you today and what you think will be important to you in the future.
Similar to last year, the results of the survey will be published in future issues of In Queue so you can see how your attitudes, opinions and intentions compare to those of your peers in the industry. Also similar to last year – and those of you who participated know this to be true – your responses will be kept confidential. We only ask for demographic information rather than any information related to your identity so your privacy is guaranteed. No salesman will call and neither will we. We only want to know what you’re thinking at this point in time.
The survey can be completed in two or three minutes – literally. We know how busy you are and we respect your time. There are no lengthy answers to fill in; just a few check marks in the appropriate boxes. It’s as simple as that.
You can find the survey by following this link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=26yvz0a7GZ_2b5fJEXRuwF1w_3d_3d
Thanks in advance for your support of the NACC and your support of our research. We promise the two or three minutes you spend helping us out on this survey will be worthwhile.
From the Trenches
Technology Optimization Part 5: Quality Monitoring
Lori Bocklund, President, Strategic Contact, Lori@strategiccontact.com
Try this analogy: Compare quality monitoring in your center to differing approaches to health management. One model awaits the presence of symptoms before bringing specialists into action to treat the disease. The other promotes health proactively for the whole body as a means to ward off problems. I’m all for the latter when it comes to maintaining my own health, and the health of a contact center. If you agree, you’ll see quality assurance (QA) is just what the doctor ordered. A good process with appropriate resources for execution is essential, but technology is the enabler that gets the job done right.
Quality Monitoring (QM) tools help centers meet performance objectives, ensure consistent contact handling and process adherence, and optimize operations. Solutions are available to serve all sizes, levels of sophistication, and business goals. The spotlight tends to shine on products with full-fledged multimedia capabilities integrated in a suite with other performance tools, such as speech analytics, eLearning, and workforce management. Yet there are plenty of affordable options for resource-constrained operations, including low-cost desktop recording devices. Whatever option fits your budget, QM is more than a personal coaching tool for individual representatives. It’s also a means to judge and optimize the performance of the “whole body.”
To their credit, most centers use QM tools in some form or fashion. As powerful as these tools can be, I’ve seen common themes that challenge their effectiveness:
-QM program designers do not align scorecard elements with business goals and key performance indicators. They don’t customize metrics to account for call types and channel differences.
-The QM tool only captures the audio portion of the call, rendering the reviewer blind to how the representative navigated the applications. Chat and email interactions are ignored altogether.
-Centers don’t establish – or stick to – sampling targets for recording and review (e.g., 5-10 calls per rep per month).
-Service representatives don’t receive feedback and coaching in a timely manner.
-Scores are tabulated manually using our old friend, Excel. The “reports” don’t capture trends nor provide thoughtful analysis of what the scores, individual coaching sessions, and trends reveal about the “big picture.” They don’t suggest initiatives that could optimize the center’s performance.
-Centers don’t commit the resources to do the job. It’s the first thing to go when resources are tight.
Poor design, uneven execution, and questionable reporting cause folks at all levels to distrust the process as subjective and of marginal value. If you’re game to champion a wellness campaign, here are some proven remedies to optimize QM technology and its application in the center, ensuring objective use of data for individuals and the organization:
1. Create well-defined processes end-to-end and execute them consistently. Include scoring, calibration, reporting, trending, and feeding QM data into scorecards in these processes. Provide individual feedback in coaching sessions with specific actions for improvement. Use representative “best practices” calls to reinforce training principles and recognize excellence in service.
2. Extend your vision beyond individual scoring and feedback. Think of QM as a key mechanism for promoting operational efficiency and competitive differentiation. Use your results to identify organization-wide improvements, such as training additions/changes, system enhancements (e.g., user interface, screen layout), and process improvements. That’s where the big bang for your QM buck lies.
3. Take a holistic view of quality assurance. Capture voice and data and monitor all forms of contact. Screen capture shows how your reps use your systems and what they’re really doing when they put people on hold. The growth in use of other media suggests a need to include them in the QA process.
4. Integrate QM scoring with other performance tools. Use your workforce management system to decide when to score calls and when to provide feedback. Leverage eLearning to trigger action based on QA scores. Link your QA assessments with your customer satisfaction surveys to bring an external perspective to balance with your internal views. And when you’re ready to take the next step, build in speech analytics capability to add further value to your recordings and depth to the learning you glean from them.
Call Center Newsworthy
David Butler, Executive Director, National Association of Call Centers David.Butler@nationalcallcenters.org
I track the news weekly, and sometimes daily, reading and digesting call center related news, data and events. Two items this week are worth sharing with you.
One of my students forwarded me the following conference announcement from the Cato Institute- "Fusion Centers: Domestic Spying or Sensible Surveillance?" The conference description continues with the followings summary
Police departments across the country are starting to create networks of databases called "fusion centers" in an effort to detect and prevent acts of terrorism. The ultimate objective is to create a nationwide reporting system of suspicious behaviors so that the authorities can "connect the dots" before an attack can occur. Civil liberties groups claim these fusion centers are beset with legal and practical problems. One legal problem is that the police should not be opening files on people because they exercised their right to free speech, such as demonstrating against the foreign policies of the United States.
What is interesting is that what they are talking about, in a nutshell, is a virtual national domestic call center with localized centers in areas throughout the country. It would be like connecting all of the 9-11 call centers in the United States into a single virtual center to see all events as they transpire. An interesting proposal to fight terrorism.
On the May 27,2009, National Public Radio show "Here and Now" the host interviewed Stephen Gandel who is a senior writer at Time Magazine and has a special issue out examining the future of work in the United States. The key element that he said that caught my ear was the companies are going to spend more time developing relationships with their customers, knowing their customers better, and meeting those needs. He suggested that customer service centers would be an important element and that they would be domestic. Moreover, because of the new generation, companies will start to use Web 2.0 and social networking to build brands and loyalty with their customers, something that we have been talking about for months in this newsletter.
In short, it appears that whether we are talking about fighting terrorism events domestically or reconnecting with customers, call centers are seen as a solution to the challenges.
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