“When is my next coaching session?”

Effective coaching is at the heart of what we do here at BPA, it is a key part of our daily life. It is a process that enables our Independent Quality Evaluators (IQEs) to learn and develop, to improve their performance, to simply achieve their full potential. Our unique coaching process also ensures that our Clients’ needs are not only met but also regularly exceeded.

So why is our coaching so effective?

Coaching at BPA is not regarded as a task to be completed but as a way to really enhance performance and development within the team, it really is in our DNA! It is performed on a regular basis, individually with each member of our project team and is regarded as the number one priority for our Team Managers. Under ‘coaching’ in this instance I don’t mean Corporate or Executive Coaching; I refer here to the coaching sessions that are part of our project monitoring and development.

This is the coaching process where the coaches are the direct Team Managers who therefore know very well their team members, their daily job routines and the project challenges they face. The Team Managers have an insight into their team members’ individual needs, strengths and weaknesses, and finally – or most importantly – into their unique personality.

This close relationship ensures that the exploration of team member’s needs, desires, skills and motivations takes a very detailed and personalised approach. We don’t deliver a general programme or group-tailored advice. We explore, on a one-to-one basis, the entire performance process. Through detailed and joint analysis of multiple calibration sessions and quality assurance checks, we identify and discuss the areas of strength, as well as scope for development. Yes, both – not only the aspects in need of further development.

We believe that identifying your strengths is a key part of the success – if you realise how you came to be successful in one area, you already have a great tool in hand to be used to achieve the same success elsewhere. It’s not about telling the team members where they are underachieving or pinpointing their weaknesses – this can only result in an opposite and unsolicited effect. It’s about making the team members aware of how good and successful they already are and encourage them to use the same technique in other areas that can be developed and soon become equally successful. It’s also about sharing this experience, ideas and insight with others. It’s about setting specific and measurable goals, for an agreed period of time. The goal is being closely monitored and revisited by the set up deadline. Upon successful completion another new goal is set up, if more work is required, the goal will be repeated.

The key is analysing, feedback, practice, repeat. To take a sporting context, the more you practise, the easier the activity becomes, you become more skilled, more experienced and you are able to recognise what you are doing that is having a positive and negative impact on your performance. The focus is on repeating the positives and using this experience to overcome the negatives. Success doesn’t occur instantly, it’s achieved through strenuous and systematic repetition and training, as you strive to achieve your goal. As the golfer Ben Hogan said, “The more I practise, the luckier I get”.

Our journey through the coaching process is not that distant from this picture and it is a journey that certainly pays off. In addition to the benefits mentioned above, it also gives our IQEs an overview of their individual ‘status-quo’, the much needed guidance and reassurance of how important and valued their daily jobs are.

To show how much our coaching sessions matter to our evaluators, our success in embedding a coaching culture and their hunger for feedback there is a mantra across the BPA teams:

“When is my next coaching session?”


Ewa 3   By Ewa Murphy, June 2015



Are you winning the Customer Experience World Cup?

As in all team sports, players either all win or all lose. The same goes for any call center …

While watching the 2015 Women’s Soccer World Cup, USA and Australia were battling to edge ahead in the dreaded D group. Most people believe that having a superior offense wins championships in soccer. Although the USA team put goals on the board, there were countless saves by the defense, especially by goalie, Hope Solo.

How does this relate to a call center, you may ask? Well, in a call center there are many departments that handle every aspect of the customer experience. If the sales department did a fantastic job taking care of the customer, but then punts the customer to the mediocre service department, then the company may just lose the “game.”

Every touch a call center has on the customer reflects the overall customer experience. So, how can a contact center calibrate across all channels of service? Well, let’s talk a bit more about soccer, or as my team in the BPA Quality UK Research Center  would refer to as FOOTBALL!

Field of Play

By understanding the entire process from first touch to goal, call center agents can provide the customer with a play-by-play report.  The customer is never left wondering what happens next.  If you know the game and the role you play within the team, then it will be effortless to win.


A team is only as good as the sum of its parts.  Call center agents need great leaders that provide them with meaningful coaching and knowledge, so they can achieve the goal (providing memorable customer service).  Also considering outside experts to evaluate agents with a customer-centric point-of-view can up the playing advantage.


In some circumstances, a customer may need a bit of “dribbling” or “hand holding,” and the call center must embrace that average handle time or other KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) will be affected.  Understanding of those changes in agents’ quality scores can be circumstantial and provide leadership with a “shot on goal” in grasping the customer journey, effort and/or experience.

The dreaded offside

Working in and around call centers for the past nine years, I have actually witnessed leadership stepping over the line of defense to try and make that “easy” goal.  When that has happened, the customer, the agent and ultimately the company loses.  Play fair with customers and they will return and recommend the company to their friends and with agents because they are the first and only touch to the customer.  To win a customer does not mean they will be  one for life, it could only be for the moment.  Once they are lost, no telling how many more will be lost.

Shots on goal & GOAL!

Once the call center is working together to provide incredible customer service, then the “shots on goal” will increase and eventually the customer becomes not only loyal, but an advocate too.  GOAL!

When evaluating the call center, make sure to step back or have a third party  understand the “field of play” as the customer.  For example, as a fan of the USA women’s soccer team, it is much simpler for me to recognize why Abby Wambach missed last night’s header into the goal.  If she had my outside vantage point, she may have put a goal on the board.  Luckily for the USA Team,  she is a part of a capable, successful team to get the win for USA.

I’m willing to bet that #20 (Abby Wambach) and her team will review the recording of that missed header to evaluate how do to it better the next time.

As a call center team, are you ready for the customer experience “World Cup?”  If not, the competition is …


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A Moving Journey – Customer Effort in the Contact Center

Originally posted on BPA Quality | David Blackwell:

I recently moved into a new house and my experiences were an eye opener on customer service in a country that is renowned for the quality of service it delivers. To be fair, my initial contact with three of the vendors I came into contact with confirmed that image. Staff at each of the companies was excellent. Where things started to go wrong was when it came time to deliver the products or services that I had purchased.

We need not here go into the painful details of each of the transactions suffice it to say that end of the day each did a pretty good job of resolving the situations. The pain in each instance was caused by the time and effort involved in getting to that resolution. In our business of quality monitoring, we call this Customer Effort. This is the amount of effort or work that a customer…

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Was “The Matrix” right, are your customers naturally miserable?

Originally posted on BPA QUALITY: Expert Series By The Professor:

In a tense scene in the epic movie, “The Matrix,” Agent Smith shares the secret to what makes the Matrix tick during his interrogation of Morpheus, one of the main characters:

Agent Smith: Did you know that the first Matrix was designed to be a perfect human world? Where none suffered, where everyone would be happy. It was a disaster. No one would accept the program. Entire crops were lost. Some believed we lacked the programming language to describe your perfect world. But I believe that, as a species, human beings define their reality through suffering and misery. The perfect world was a dream that your primitive cerebrum kept trying to wake up from. Which is why the Matrix was redesigned to this: the peak of your civilization.

This begs the question…was he right, and how does it apply to your customer base? Think hard…how many of your customers…

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The Spinal Tap Approach to Customer Service

Originally posted on BPA QUALITY: Expert Series By The Professor:

As a child of the 80’s and an avid musician, one of the most impactful rockumentaries I ever watched was “This is Spinal Tap,” a story of a fictitious bumbling heavy metal band, directed by everyone’s favorite meathead, Rob Reiner. If you loved the music of this era or are a musician yourself, you would instantly connect to the absurd hilarity of the situations the band encounters. Musicians and bands through the years have found similarities in this movie to their own experiences…and so should we in the world of customer service.

Black Album Cover – The band released a “less than PG” album cover to which the record company quickly changed into a solid black nothingness cover. THE LESSON: Just because you think something is clever doesn’t mean your customers will feel the same way. Test out your ideas on some customers before committing to anything borderline risky and…

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The Do’s and Don’ts of a “Quality” Quality Assurance Program

Originally posted on Call Center Coaching & Training:

Most professionals in the Contact Center industry have seen many Quality Assurance programs come and go throughout their career. Often describing the programs as nit-picky, scripted or simply a checklist.

Even more concerning, you may have noticed some agents or supervisors just going through the motions – waiting for the current program to be replaced with the next new fad in Contact Center communication.

Some Quality Assurance Programs have become so complicated and scripted that they have lost focus of the most important aspect – The Customer.

So what does it take to ensure a “Quality” Quality Assurance Program?

Research shows that producing outstanding interactions with Customers is much easier when there is a Customer Centered Culture within the organization. Think about how some of those organizations that have a reputation for outstanding Customer Service. An essential part of their training is intertwining this Customer Centered Culture with…

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When a spectator sees more of the game

Originally posted on Alex Bobba's Quality Insights:

Image downloaded from Shutterstock. Image downloaded from Shutterstock.

Less than 150 days to go until England hosts the Rugby World Cup 2015. This is the third largest sporting event in the world, after the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics, and the excitement around the country is beginning to build up.

Whilst many organisations across industries are focused on creating high achievement cultures to deliver a competitive advantage, the 2015 RWC provides an opportunity to draw some parallels between the sport’s elite performers and our businesses.

So, what can we learn from the All Blacks?

Probably the most successful sport team in the world, with an incredible 86% winning record between 2004 and 2011, at the heart of the New Zealand All Blacks’ story is the relentless focus on developing ‘a high-performing, vision and values-based culture’.

In business it can often be difficult to prove to what extent the brand­ – the vision, values…

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5 Ways to Keep and Win Customers

Untitled BannerHow is your call center treating your customers?

70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. – McKinsey

According to the book, Leading on the Edge of Chaos, if companies reduced their customer defection rate by 5%, then profitability would increase by 25 – 125%.  Many companies believe that their current quality of service is best-in-class; however, only 1% of customers feel that vendors consistently meet their needs (Forbes).

Capturing the voice of the customer (VOC) can be tricky when companies listen to customer-agent interactions with their “corporate” headphones.  In this blog, I hope to leave you with 5 ways to capture the true VOC and consistently meet your customers’ needs.

  1. Have an unbiased HUMAN listen/read customer interactions with your customer service/sales/tech agents.  Best scenario is to utilize a 3rd party Quality company or, if that isn’t possible, have the Quality Assurance team  at a different location from the call center.
  2. Breakdown each piece on the scorecard into distinct measures.  Have a Quality ruler to ensure that all scoring is fair and done properly.
  3. Calibrate, calibrate, calibrate.  Having everyone on the same Quality page is crucial when it comes to your company’s brand and service.  If supervisors are not coaching to what the agent is being scored on, then what really is the point of your Quality program?
  4. Coach based on trends, not just individual calls.  Utilize reporting to demonstrate best-in-class service and share amongst all service groups, so that the entire company is winning and so are your customers.
  5. When listening to customer interactions, capture as much business intelligence as you can.  Don’t get stuck on just the measures on the scorecard.  Listen for additional ways to best service the customer and trends affecting your business.

When I was working in an outbound call center, I would listen to calls when I wasn’t putting out a fire on the floor.  At the time, I was Manager, Supervisor, Quality Assurance, Coach and Trainer.  Call centers are different now with the access to new tools and dynamics.  One thing that remains is that customers have even more choices with just a click of their mouse. Your call center doesn’t have to be stuck on auto-pilot of how it has always been done when it comes to quality interactions with customers.  Listen to your calls by using the services available to you today.  Use a third party that are quality experts to listen for the VOC because they are truly unbiased, transparent, objective and listening from the customers’ point of view.

Remember, if your customers are not being treated well by your agents, you better believe that your competitor will accept them with open arms.


Your Best Idea Isn’t Yours

Originally posted on BPA QUALITY: Expert Series By The Professor:

Do you wonder why that sometimes, fantastic ideas, well thought out visions or detailed plans fail miserably? Shouldn’t the idea and planning ensure success? Not always, and I learned this lesson the hard way.

Fresh out of graduate school and full of ideas, I was named operations manager of a manufacturing facility. I was responsible for 300 team members and the sky was the limit. I read up on lean manufacturing, the Deming theories and every modern Japanese manufacturing technique there was. My plan was to reduce lead-time by 4 weeks, cut in process inventory in half and reduce waste significantly. We rearranged the machines, the math worked out perfectly and it was primed for success.

It failed miserably.

What I didn’t realize was that my plant was full of 15+ year production veterans who didn’t understand the idea, had no vested interest in the plan succeeding, and saw the…

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It’s all about the experience

It’s all about the experience


I recently attended a major customer service conference in London where over 200 forward thinking organisations gathered to review and discuss the latest trends in customer service.


A number of key themes resonated throughout the day including; the need to build strong relationships with customers and staff, developing connected strategies for a relationship led economy, understanding the new and increasing needs and expectations of customers. We are at a critical point in the service agenda and there is a real need to focus on longer term sustainable solutions rather than short term tactical ones.


All of the above are great observations but the primary insight provided was that the leading customer focussed organisations are looking to move from a transactional approach to one of targeted relationships and that the quality of these relationships is critical.


Great examples were given on how customer engagement and experience were top agenda points in the boardrooms. Senior executives were looking for clear examples of what their customers were thinking, how satisfied they were, how quickly the business was reacting and resolving issues and how the business was building closer relationships with these customers.


Measures and initiatives such as CSAT, NPS, Customer Effort, Co-collaboration and big data analysis were all sighted as ways in which feedback was being captured and reported.


The latest “buzz” subjects of needing to deliver omni-channel solutions and the importance of social media in business were mentioned of course but more in terms of aiding engagement and experience rather than being technology led discussions.


What does become clear is that in moving to an experience based approach organisations need to ensure that each of their channel offerings provide a consistent, easy to use and value-add experience for their customers and that measurement systems are put in place to ensure this is happening.


Another refreshing and timely realisation is the importance of creating high performance culture within the organisation that is focussed on customer and employees excellence. I am firmly of the belief that organisations need to focus as much time on identifying, developing, enhancing and measuring their employee journey as they do their customer journey and that this also needs to be a mantra in the boardroom. It is hardly surprising that if you don’t value your employees, invest in their development and foster an engaged relationship they might not deliver an exceptional and engaging experience to your customers. Delivering excellence and experience needs to be a habit within the business and organisational health and wellbeing is likely to have a significant impact on the bottom line.


With more and more customer interactions being conducted on self serve channels the importance of higher cost human interaction channels in enhancing experience grows. It is almost certain that the contact centre agent of the near future will have an even more important impact on the business than they do today. Now is the time to recognise this and start developing the skills and experience within the organisation to meet the challenges of the future. The contact centre needs to be recognised as the heart of the organisation, driving engagement and experience, rather than an expensive overhead that needs to be eliminated through automation.

I for one am delighted to hear the agenda is moving towards delivering more engaged solutions for both customers and employees and look forward with interest to seeing the words turn in to reality. This is something that is evident in the many world leading brands that we partner with at BPA Quality, a wish to not only push forward the quality agenda in terms of delivering higher levels of service to their customers but also a desire to develop their people to reach their potential.