Quality: A subjective term, but one that matters equally to each member of your customer base. Customers want quality products. Quality means positive perception, success in the eye of the beholder, and it serves as a means to determine those who are trustworthy and therefore, worth loyalty.
The weight that quality perception holds can make quality assurance mission critical for your business operations.
According to the online CRM recommendations site Software Advice, online retail giant, Zappos, came to this realization 3 years ago and hasn’t looked back since. There are many lessons learned from the company, but below we highlight our top five.
1. Define Expectations and Set Evaluations
Take a step backward before you begin, and think about what you hope to gain from established quality assurance expectations. For example, consider:
- A formal evaluation system to note call center team progress.
- A process for holding call center agents accountable for call conduct.
- Methods to standardize call center processes and policy.
Once you define desired outcomes, determine how you’ll assess and track success. In this area, Zappos devised a quality assurance scoring form to help internal quality assurance champions rate its call center agents’ performance.
Through this method, quality assurance team members are paired with call center agents to monitor, coach and barge-in on calls. As they listen in, call center agents are evaluated on call performance in a variety of areas, including:
- Common Courtesy
- Verification of Account Details
- Attention to Security in Account Details
- Provision of Tailored Solutions
- Tone, Vocabulary, Fluidity and Other Call Basics
Points are scored based on an all or nothing account, urging call center representatives to constantly strive for peak performance.
2. Communicate Goals Across Teams
Be sure methods and mindsets for evaluation execution are consistent from team member to team member. Communicate not only the how of the evaluation process, but also the why.
Explain to your teams why they are evaluating (or being evaluated), the responsibility of each, and champion the message that it’s in the best interest of the customer. Have teams unite and call for employees to work together however they can to achieve the highest level of customer service possible.
At Zappos, quality assurance and customer care teams work together across departments to better understand how to best execute within existing systems.
3. Connect Team Assets, Familiarize Skillsets
When a team spirit is cultivated around success for the customer, you can’t lose. Pair players based on valued assets they bring, help each hone desired skillsets, and give all insight into what they’re up against to get the job done. Educate team members on the expectations and requirements of each department, and how each can work together for the betterment of the whole.
How does Zappos do it? To help quality assurance teams know how to properly assess call center agents, Zappos requires each person spend 5 hours a week taking calls on the call center floor. It keeps them connected to the process, and to the team they’re evaluating. Added benefit: being in the other teams’ shoes instills greater trust when quality assurance teams deliver call center agent feedback.
4. Leverage Information, Customer Insights
A variety of insights on your existing business operations are readily available—just take a look at your call center records and transcripts.
Call recording, real-time reports, and more call center software features make note-taking on customers a breeze.
Zappos uses determined “great calls” and exemplary customer service instances to help train agents on exemplary performance. Insights on new product ideas, needed fixes and more can also be gained from paying attention to key conversation details.
5. Self-Assess: Have a Moment of Self-Awareness
It’s important to take time to reflect and formulate individual opinions, as well. Have team members self-assess and give an honest evaluation.
Record calls and play back for agents to grade their own performance.
Zappos gives its existing quality assurance survey a second look every 6 months to ensure all bases are covered; it also asks agents to grade their own calls to keep self-check systems in place company-wide.
How do you maintain quality in your call center? Let us know in the comment section below.