Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Customer Quality Reporting: Real Customer Satisfaction Measurement - from the horse's mouth

A Customer Satisfaction and Contact Center Quality Performance Monitoring Service
Contact centers deliver services to customers and prospects by telephone, email, and chat. It is essential that organizations have insight into the quality of those interactions. The internal perspective is often delivered through a quality listening team which reviews contacts and scores measuring based upon predetermined set of criteria. In many organizations the internal quality measures are those elements of the interaction that are believed to be important to the customer as well as company focused compliance elements.

For a number of organizations this is where the quality process ends. Research and pundits tell us the measuring customer satisfaction (CSAT) is critical as CSAT has a strong correlation to customer loyalty and repurchase which contributes to lifetime value. Measuring call center CSAT is a challenge for a lot of companies. Some organizations employ omnibus CSAT surveys where they attempt to understand the customer’s satisfaction with a number of different and distinct elements. These surveys tend to be indicative of the overall feelings of satisfaction. This type of approach is not very useful when assessing transactional activities such as those generally handled by contact centers.

Some centers have embraced Net Promoter score (NPS) as a single metric upon which they can gauge the success of satisfying the customer. Net Promoter, however, is a single metric. It’s not an unbiased measure by the nature of its terminology. It is a one dimensional metric: “Will you recommend”. Many experts recommend that combining platforms is going to give you a rounder view of the customer than any single metric can achieve.

First Contact Resolution or FCR, is often touted as a premier qualitative call center benchmark. Historically the largest single challenge organizations have faced in reporting on FCR has been the data gathering process and interpretation. Very few centers are able to manage FCR on a ‘live’ basis and as a result are forced to rely on other ‘stand in’ metrics, such as a second contact from the same customer within a defined timeframe. This metric is at best an approximation as we cannot be 100% sure that this contact was related to the previous contact.

Contact centers have a number of other tools to assess the customer satisfaction such as post call IVR, after call outbound, and email surveys. Research shows that most contact centers only employ internal data as a stand in for actual customer satisfaction. Internal quality teams are important elements in many call centers. They generally complete the dual tasks of assessing call quality employing a predetermined evaluation form which highlights element which the company believes to be important to customers; and secondly as a compliance team- ensuring that agents are complaint with company policies, procedures and quality elements (proper opening, verbatim scripting, etc.).

Research and practical experience however shows that there are constant struggles with internal quality including: consistency, proper calibration, subjectivity, and scoring. And of course the fact that the basis of the quality assessment are elements thought to be important to the customer.

The Taylor Reach approach does not make any assumptions as to what the customer may value. We get our information from the ‘horse’s mouth’ – we ask the customer.

This program does not replace your quality department, it augments it. Centers still need to monitor the staff, coach for improvement and consistency. This program simply allows a company to now track Customer Satisfaction, Net Promoter score and FCR on an organizational, center, team and agent level. This assists the quality team and supervisors in allocating their efforts where they can have the greatest impact on the customer.

The Taylor Reach Customer Quality Reporting provides center with a 360° view by significantly increasing the visibility of the customer’s perspective and point of view related to the services they receive from the call center.

Best practice centers measure CSAT based on what the customer determines

The Taylor Reach Group, Inc. has developed Customer Quality Reporting as a service to assist organizations in measuring and gauging customer satisfaction.

The Customer Quality Reporting Program
Taylor Reach works with your organization to identify the anticipated customer response to an emailed survey. The goal is to deliver four to five customer responses per agent per month. This creates a sample size approximately similar to that achieved with internal quality programs. This sample varies by organization. Initial outgoing surveys are 100 per agent per month.
Each email contains a survey and or survey link. The sample survey asks the following CSAT questions:
1. How satisfied were you with your interaction with our call center on date at time
2. Was your call/contact the first time you had contacted us regarding that issue?
3. Has your issue or inquiry been resolved?
4. “On a scale from 1 to 10, how likely is it that you would recommend our company to a friend or colleague?”

Taylor Reach manages all aspects of the program, including:
• Receive the customers to be sampled (a file containing customer email addresses)
• Creating and maintaining a ‘kill file’ to ensure that no customer is sampled more than once every six months,
• Sending out the surveys,
• Receipt, tabulation and analysis of survey results,

• Global reporting. This center wide reporting provides insight in the operational effectiveness of the center from a customer perspective. By aggregating all survey responses we gain the insight from hundreds of customer interactions. This center wide perspective is the customer’s statement regarding how well the organization is performing in terms of Customer Satisfaction, Net Promoter score and First Contact Resolution. Center wide reporting includes:
o NPS,
o FCR,

Trend Reporting. In these reports, we track relative performance of all three metrics over time. This reporting supports coaching guidance, based upon trend performance and specific issues.

Reporting by Agent. The ability to link specific satisfaction, net promoter and FCR data down to agent level is a significant step forward for any center. This agent level data allows for training, coaching and mentoring efforts to be targeted to poorer performing staff. It also allows the results of such coaching efforts to be surfaced quickly in subsequent reporting periods. Agent Level reporting includes:
o NPS,
o FCR,

The costs for this program are outlined below;
Set Up Fee $2,500 (one time fee)
Cost per Agent per channel per month $35.00

Cost Example
In a center with 25 agents who handle phone calls, emails and chats the monthly cost will be $35 * 25 agents * 3 channels or $2,625 per month. The same center handling voice only contacts would cost $875 per month.

All Taylor Reach fees are subject to applicable taxes. All invoices are due upon receipt.
Customer Quality reporting provides a unique and timely insight into your customers. The customer voice is surfaced in your contact center. It is transparent to management and the senior leadership. This visibility delivers significant benefits beyond the call center and across the organization.

Customer Quality reporting tracks activities and improvements and ties those changes to the downstream customer provided data.

Customer Quality reporting is completed by The Taylor Reach Group, Inc, a well respected and established consulting and analysis firm. This independence provides credibility and a perspective that is not possible to achieve internally. Customer Quality reporting can be initiated quickly and with virtually no effect on your day-to-day call operations. It is convenient and continues to operate independently regardless of the internal challenges and changes to a center.

Customer Quality Reporting Quote Request Form
Customer Quality Reporting: True Customer Satisfaction Measurement, Request A Quote Today!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Closing the Revolving Door – Part 2

By: Colin Taylor
So how do we build an enduring structure in our call center that will support engagement, motivation and allow us to deploy aligned reward/recognition programs that succeed in meeting the objectives of the center and the business? But what happens if we can design an environment where the agents push us? What happens when the agent is proactive, rather than reactive? But what happens if we can design an environment where the agents push us? What happens when the agent is proactive, rather than reactive?
Structural design focus creates a push model where staff are motivated to succeed and grow. Structure must be designed and aligned with the objectives we wish to obtain. It is a lot of work to keep staff motivated and engaged. It seems that we are always introducing new programs, pushing the agents to perform, pushing our goals.
So where do we begin our structural design? At the beginnings, by looking at how the agent perceives their role and the progress they make over their career.

The accompanying simplified fish diagram above shows and agent career progression with a call center. At the left they go through the hiring and recruiting process. They start to become familiar with the details of their job and role.
They are introduced to the ACM (Adequacy, Competency, Mastery) or other career paths and understand where they can progress. They receive and provide peer feedback helping them improve. Their improved results are recognized. They move up a level and receive increased compensation.
Hopefully they continue on to have a successful career with the call center. To understand how this framework can be the underpinning of a successful structure let’s examine each of the elements in the career progression.
Hiring & Recruiting
Good bye mirror test. Previous experience is not a reason to hire anyone. Bernie Madoff has 30+ years as a successful money manager. Anybody want to hire him?
Hire people who are best equipped to succeed. Doing so reduces turnover, especially in the early stages. The best way to achieve this is to employ skills and competencies: map your best agents.
Don’t hire others cast offs. There is generally a reason why they aren’t working there anymore. Don’t take someone's word that they have attention to detail or can type, test them.
Establish specific interview questions that will be used by all interviewers. Such as tell me about something you did really well and are proud of, who did you tell, how did you explain it to them, why did do this, how did you do this differently than others might have. Of course interview questions are subjective and present more risk than an objective test, but if we ask enough questions related to a topic area and approach the questions from a few different angles you tend to be able to weed out those who are making it up on the fly.
Job Descriptions
Almost every center has job descriptions. But fewer than 10 percent actually have accurate job descriptions that reflect what is done in the role.
Your job description must detail specifically what the position entails, state what the performance metrics will be employed to measure agent performance, tell them what performance they will need to attain and maintain, tell them who they report to, any dotted line relationships and cite the roles and positions that this job is a prerequisite for. If you are employing ACM share with them the matrix showing what they need to attain to move up the food chain.
When agents know what is expected, how it will be measured and where they can move to if they succeed most will work towards this goal. Their motivation comes from within and not from the outside.
Do not fall into the habit of creating new job descriptions for all special projects or short term assignments. Each job description should include a reference to special projects and of course the “other duties as management may assign” clause. A special project or new responsibilities do not necessarily require a new job description. These are just changes in job tasks not changes in the job.
Career path/ ACM
You need to show them where they can go, within the center and beyond. You must define, document and publish the career path. When you have a map, it is easy to work towards a goal.
Share your ACM model, or other defined career path. Share the career flow options with the agents. Let them know that your role as their manager is to help them succeed, because the more they succeed the more you as the manager will succeed.
Peer Feedback
People can become jaded just listening to their supervisor telling them what they need to do and how to improve. The context changes instantly when the guidance is coming from a peer or a mentor.
A peer feedback program empowers staff to share their knowledge. The agents and mentors will also learn through coaching. Coaching and mentoring benefits both the giver and the receiver.
If you employ a Voice of The Customer (VOC) program or call logging or recording in your call center it is quite easy to leverage this facilitate peer feedback. In short a Voice of the Customer or VOC program employs call recordings either random or based upon specific themes to provide senior management with insight into the types of calls and details of the calls being received in the center. These calls maybe scored by your QA group or not.
To leverage your VOC or base call recordings, segment calls by agent and provide these to all members of a peer group. Your peer group could be all agents in the center if it is small, or a specific existing team or you might wish to create a new peer group specifically for this purpose so that you can mix supervisors teams and/or include SME’s in the group.
Regardless of the peer group constitution, once you have distributed the calls to the peer group you meet once a week to provide feedback to one agent. If you have six people in the peer group and review three to five calls per week this will represent approximately one hour of ‘off-phone’ activity that needs to be included and planned for in their schedule. The objective of each meeting is to review the agent calls.
Now since all agents will be likewise assessed on a rotation basis, people tend not to be overly critical, rather they focus on constructive suggestions…how else could you have answered that question…when I had that question, I replied with…, have you tried… all of these informal coaching sessions can be very productive. In fact often these are seen by the agents as more beneficial than their traditional coaching sessions with their Supervisor or the QA team as they know that their peers are also ‘do-ers’.
This peer feedback should not replace your existing quality program, rather should augment it. Organizations that have implemented Peer Feedback in addition to their existing quality programs have seen much faster improvement in agent skills.
The first step in building a structure is recognizing what is important to the center. In most centers what is important includes: performance, improvement, leadership and coaching/mentoring. Performance is likely the single point on this list that your senior management will discuss with you, but the fact is that without the other three points in place it is much harder to achieve improvements in performance.
So you will need to provide recognition in all of these areas. Before deploying any recognition or reward programs in any of them, identify the metrics to employ and be sure that they will give you the information required.
If you cannot identify specific metrics that are objective, I would suggest you pass on the program. Any program that is based on a subjective assessment will be tainted. Next you must look at other unplanned for outcomes that could occur and if there are any ways for the agents to ‘game’ the system.
Don’t just recognise the best. The losers can get bored and stop trying
So recognise the top performing team in FCR, CSAT, Quality, Sales, Tickets closed etc, as well as the most improved team in these areas, Ask the teams perhaps to nominate one member of their team for a leadership award based on predefined criteria (could be a weighted combination of their teams FCR, CSAT and Sales Revenue). Recognize peer contributions; who provided the most coaching who is not in the QA team, how many sessions did they participate in, the average or aggregate improvement of the agents coached etc.
There are so many ways to recognise the winners which are cheap and easy...preferred parking, pick your shift, wall of fame, lunch with the call center manager or CEO, ride along with sales or service for a day, certificates, posted in reception, identified on the reader-boards (LCD’s), billboards, newspaper, on the website, on the intranet site, the company Facebook page, a Tweet to all.
If we look beyond no cost, low cost incentives and rewards, there are a huge number of options available to you, such as trips, hotel stays visits to other offices, cash, dinners, conferences etc. These rewards will tend to fall into two categories --work related and non work related. Both of these can have value.
The work related ones (trips to other offices, conferences, seminars, dinner with the CEO) all allow the recipient to learn. This learning will help them to improve their understanding of the company or of the call center industry, both of which can pay dividends in their positions, equipping them better to win future rewards.
The non work related rewards (trips, hotel stays, dinners, cash etc.) both improve the recipients’ quality of life, albeit briefly, but also allow them to share their reward with their significant other. This is also a chance to show off. This improves the recipients desire to win again, thereby increasing their motivation to win future rewards.
Both of these approaches can work well. Business related rewards are appealing as they not only reward the individual but also benefit the call center and the business. This provides a better match to the career path of an individual than a dinner out.
One interesting reward was a quality award at an outsourcer/BPO working with Ford. The reward for the highest quality score average at the end of each year was the use of a Ford vehicle for the next year at no cost.
Big ticket caution
Exercise caution however on ‘big ticket’ rewards. Obviously ‘big ticket’ incentives can cost a lot, and can represent a significant portion of your incentive budget. Personally I would prefer to run a number of smaller incentives rather than one big one. Big rewards tend to be won by the top agents. Very quickly less skilled agents will give up trying and pretty soon you can find yourself having just two or three motivated agents chasing this prize and 40 who have given up and are not motivated.
When giving monetary rewards, be sure that these are structured as re-earnable rather than a permanent reward. In some centers they pay a bonus of $.50 or a $1 per hour to all monthly reward winners or those who exceed threshold levels the next month. This however is re-earnable, which is to say that if I win three months in a row I will get the bonus, but if I fail to do win or achieve the threshold the next month, I don’t get the bonus and my compensation drops down to my base level.
Of course, there is still a place for tactical rewards to achieve tactical objective. An example of this would be to increase staffed hours during a known volume peak period, where a bonus maybe paid to all agents who pick up 10 extra shifts in a month. Tactical goals will by definition be short term and allow you to realize the goal in this period.
What I would hope you take away from this recognition review are that there are numerous inexpensive ways to motivate your staff, that retention and motivation aren’t just about money, that you need to structure your retention, rewards and recognition program to recognize what is important and lastly that structure, transparency, alignment and engagement can help you to reduce attrition in your center.