Quality – Who cares -and what will you do about it?

In my previous blog I talked about identifying who cares about the quality of your contact center interactions, by identifying the center’s role within the organization, and creating a mission statement for the contact center.   So once you have that – what are you going to do about it?  Take the next step!

Purpose and Goals of Quality Monitoring Program

The next step in the framework is to define the purpose and goals of your QM program.  Is the purpose simply to assess agent performance – or will you also leverage the value of all of that customer data by analyzing and disseminating monitoring results throughout the organization?  Initially many QM programs start with a focus on assessing agent performance, but mature QM programs provide more strategic value with analysis and use of the data to identify information such as why customers are contacting them , what the customer’s experience is , and  what improvement opportunities exist.  They then share key information, including related interaction recordings, with other departments.   

Consider this – quality monitoring goals basically fall into two categories – business goals and customer expectations.   Whether your business is healthcare, insurance, or an online shoe company, each time a customer contacts your organization agents have two types of performance expectations to meet – those that apply to business goals and those that apply to customer expectations.  (Regulatory or PCI concerns? Sure that can be its own category too – but ultimately – compliance issues are tied to your business results.)   While every quality evaluation includes these two categories, there is not a “once size fits all” formula for creating the quality performance standards – or behavioral assessment criteria for evaluating the quality of the customer contact.  

Quality Performance Standards

Knowing what agents need to do to meet business goals and customer needs on each and every contact is the basis for creating the evaluation criteria, also known as the quality performance standards.  What does a successful customer contact sound or look like for your organization?  Although the detailed answer to that is unique to each organization, we can again, go back to those two key categories for our QM goals – those that contribute to business goals and success (such as increased sales, customer retention, promoting the brand), and those that address our unique customer’s expectations each time they do business with us.

 What do agents need to do on each contact if one of your business goals for the contact is to contribute to revenue growth?  Do they do that by demonstrating product knowledge and generating sales? Maybe there is no direct revenue generation, but agents contribute to revenue growth by retaining existing customers.  How do you define the agent behavior that demonstrates that?

Next answer the question – what do your customers expect each time they contact you? Most customers expect correct information, and don’t want to call us over and over again for the same issue – but what else do your customers expect? Do they expect agents to be cheery and lighthearted, to be referred to a competitor if a desired item is not available? (think Zappos  Video Experience | about.zappos.com or do they expect a more serious business transaction, such as with financial issues?   What do you tell them to expect  through your marketing materials, ads or website?  Does the contact center support the company brand?  How do you translate that into defined agent behaviors?

A successful customer contact is a balancing act – if we only address our business needs- it doesn’t make for a very impressive customer experience.  If we only address the customer needs – we might risk putting the company out of business.    Is it time to revisit your quality monitoring performance standards and do a bit of self-assessment? 


Lesley Vereen

Lesley Vereen

Lesley Vereen

My career in contact center management and consulting led me to Interactive Intelligence in December 2010 and the position of Product Manager for Interaction Recorder™. Initiation to the world of contact centers, and the technology to support them, began at UnitedHealthcare in Hartford, Connecticut. It was there that my focus on developing quality monitoring programs was launched, and led to 12 years of contact center consulting , working with centers of all sizes, across many industries, and in locations throughout the United States, in Mexico, Canada and the Philippines. One of my primary objectives is to continue to improve our recorder product with a focus on adding and improving features to support our customer’s quality monitoring/improvement processes. For the past three years now I’ve been calling Omaha, Nebraska home. After living in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, then New Hampshire, Connecticut, North Carolina again, and now Omaha, Nebraska, you’ll probably notice a pause if you happen to ask me "where are you from?"