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How to Develop an Effective Contact Center Quality Strategy

leaning inOrganizations recognize customer experience (CX) as the key differentiator in business success today. They know it’s important to have a robust CX strategy that is accepted and implemented throughout the entire organization.

The contact center is critical to achieving the goals of a CX strategy since it is an integral part of customer interaction. To be an effective asset, the contact center must have a comprehensive quality strategy that focuses on service delivery within the contact center, and also gathers, analyzes, and shares actionable customer data with key business partners.

As contact center leaders, one of our roles is to help our respective organizations understand what our customers’ needs are, and then to design strategies to consistently fulfill those needs so we can successfully attract and retain customers.

The following are 5 key steps leaders can take to begin to develop an effective and integrated contact center quality strategy:

Step One: Determine sources of input

Developing your quality strategy requires two key ingredients:

Your company’s mission, vision, and values

  • What is our mission?
  • What is our vision for the future?
  • What is our brand fingerprint?
  • What are the values our organization lives by?
  • What is our culture?

Your customers’ expectations.

  • Accessibility
  • Professionalism
  • Knowledgeable agents
  • Low Effort

Who your company says they are, what they want to become, and the values that guide the company’s actions are critical for the contact center to know. That information will, in part, determine what we expect from the contact center and the agents handling interactions. This, coupled with what is most important to your customers from a service delivery point of view, is the second ingredient to defining what an exceptional experience looks like.

Step Two: Identify purpose and objectives:

We take what we have identified from Step One and look at the purpose and objectives of our quality program. To determine the purpose and objectives we need to answer four questions:

  • Why are we evaluating interactions?
  • What do we want to achieve?
  • How will we measure success?
  • How do we want the quality program to serve the needs of the organization, our customers, and our frontline agents?

Step Three: Determine roles and responsibilities

Now it is time to determine who is responsible for what. Lots of questions to be answered here, but if you thoroughly understand the answers to these questions before you set performance standards, your standards will be much more effective. Ask yourself:

  • Who is doing what?
  • How will we use the data?
  • Who will see the results?
  • How should we report and how often?
  • Who needs to be involved?

For your quality program to have legs, it can really help to get input from frontline agents and other departments that might use contact center data or provide inputs to the contact center.

Step Four: Set performance standards

We now need to define and translate what we have learned from the previous steps into the behaviors that reflect who we say we are as a company, what our customers say is important to them, and what our business partners need us to do. This is a critical step because it tells our agents what we expect them to do and why.

Step Five: Define and document

In this final step, we get very specific about the behaviors that meet the performance standards we established in Step Four. For example, if a standard for chats is “use a professional communication style,” we need to be clear what that looks like for our company and for our customers. It may be acceptable to use emoticons at one company, but unacceptable at another.

The definitions document should:

  • Be comprehensive, clear, and concise
  • Provide a brief description of the performance requirement
  • Include business reasons and purpose for the requirement
  • Provide definitions and examples
  • Give a definition and ratings guidelines (what does a “2” rating mean vs. a “1”?)
  • Offer models and/or examples - preferably positive ones

A comprehensive, integrated, well-documented strategy is one of the keys to a successful quality program. The other is to remember that even the best strategy is useless unless we also have a well-thought-out set of actions/tactics we can execute to ensure we achieve our objectives.