How do you rate the quality of your customer service?
15th February 2013 - Steve Rosier, director of Voice of the Customer Analytics, Verint
In today’s competitive environment, the quality of your customer service is an increasingly important factor in nurturing positive customer loyalty. However, it remains the case that many organisations are still not monitoring, measuring or even managing the service quality of their contact centre agents, despite the fact that a single interaction between them and the customer can make or break a relationship. Verint recently carried out some research looking at the state of customer service in the UK. It found that despite the current economic climate, only 22% of consumers value price over service and as many as 38% of consumers admit to never contacting their suppliers, and those that do don’t get in touch very often. How can you build customer relationships and create a loyal customer base if this is the case?
Organisations need to ensure that the few interactions a customer has with the contact centre are handled efficiently and leave the customer feeling satisfied. Quality monitoring software should be seen as a competitive advantage, as it can solve many customer concerns and issues before they become damaging to the relationship with the customer.
Making quality the ‘norm’
In an ideal scenario, supervisors and quality assurance specialists will use quality monitoring software to gain insight into how contact centre agents handle customer issues and evaluate the outcomes. While the customer’s personal experience cannot always be completely captured and analysed, this information - call recordings in contact centres, customer emails and social media interactions - combined with customer satisfaction surveys, can give an organisation a better idea of the customer experience. These insights will allow companies to improve their service and tailor their products precisely to what their customers want, improving satisfaction and increasing loyalty.
Unfortunately, the reality for many organisations is slightly different, and organisations often struggle to manage the basic call monitoring functions, or capture additional insight from other channels such as email, instant messaging or social networking sites. Too often the focus is put on streamlining internal efficiency-based metrics, meeting tightly monitored call routing and time SLAs, while the detailed assessment of the customer experience and the outcome of the call are put to one side. By treating calls as one-off customer issues, the contact centre is at risk of ignoring the underlying commonalties and actually being able to identify the root-cause and possible prevention for these situations. Fundamentally, though, this can all act towards improving the customer service.
What needs to change?
The key to effective quality monitoring includes six crucial steps:
- Listen to your customers by monitoring interactions. Ask questions such as: are these interactions related to the company’s goals and objectives, or are they related to specific areas of concern such as customer attrition? This is where analytics comes into play for the contact centre. Speech analytics identifies calls that are relevant for evaluation and text analytics identifies email and chat interactions that should be monitored.
- Capture all of your customer feedback channels. Apply the same quality standard that is used for calls to text-based interactions like email and chat.
- Ask your customer what they think. Instead of using your organisation’s internal metrics to measure the quality of a call, ask the customer: “What did you think of your experience and the agent you worked with?” or “Did your service experience match the promise made in our advertising?” It’s very important to map high-quality interactions with your customers’ expectations, comparing internal evaluation scores with customer scores.
- Use quality monitoring to help agents improve skills. Evaluate interactions to identify skills gaps, and provide individual learning opportunities where there are deficiencies.
- Do not view agent development as a one-off activity. Provide continuous coaching that will help improve agent performance and productivity. Coaching is key to consistent customer service.
- Measure your results and keep track of continuous feedback and evaluation to monitor and measure progress.
By monitoring quality across multiple channels, organisations can learn from their customer interactions, leading to better decision making, service and processes. The monitoring, measuring and managing of performance and service quality must remain a priority, but the “voice of the customer” analytics, across multiple channels, is just as important. By adopting the view that quality monitoring is a strategic process rather than a tactical one, companies will begin to see an improvement of their customers experience and their customers therefore becoming their strongest champions.