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.

Encouraging Employee Engagement In Your Contact Centre.

Originally posted on My Blog:

Encouraging Employee Engagement In Your Contact Centre.

The moment one of your team speaks, emails, tweets or web chats with a customer, your culture is present and displayed. Whatever the purpose or current situation in your contact centre without getting your culture right, you will never fully realise your potential regardless of your offering, technology or training.

Culture – everyone owns it!

Most organisations have aspirations around developing a high performance, high engagement culture across the business.

From a contact centre perspective it is vital that the overall business culture objective is clearly understood and that specific strategies are defined and delivered that ensure team member engagement, ownership and buy-in

In practice this means real involvement and engagement in the development process from the contact centre leaders and the wider team and critically an understanding that this is not just words but something that underpins the way of working across the…

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Sorry I wasn’t listening …

Originally posted on BPA Quality | David Blackwell:

Ever wonder what makes one agent successful and another not? Why can two people who have the same training, tools and support perform so differently? If you wonder that, you’re not alone!

A few years ago we had just started a contact center quality project for a client and held a kickoff meeting. During this meeting we wanted to find out the needs and asked what they wanted to achieve. The Director took me to the door of her office and pointed to an Agent in the first row of the center. She went on to say, “This agent, Joe is his name, has 15% more sales than any other person in the center. How can we get the other 500 or so Agents in the center to do the same?”

It was an interesting challenge, though the reality is that’s what most of our clients desire…how to replicate the…

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You Need A Coach

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

I am a runner, I love to run. A few years back, I set one of my best times as a 40+ year old for a 3 mile run, averaging about 7.5 minutes per mile. I felt great about this result. The very next day, my then 9-year old daughter runs into my office, with a grin ear to ear and proceeds to inform me that she set the school record for the mile, running it in just shy of 6 minutes flat. All of a sudden, I wasn’t that great anymore, and I didn’t realize it until someone told me. Aside from being much older, I had no idea why I couldn’t beat a 9 year old. I needed a coach to get me there.

Your call center agent is much the same. They carry on their daily activities to the best of their knowledge or ability, each with…

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Sell Yourself

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

“The best way to succeed in this world is to act on the advice you give to others.”

-Napoleon Hill

Ever notice how the best CEO’s are also the ones who have the most consistent and passionate message? They have strong core beliefs and are willing share them with anyone who will listen. These people, and their companies, tend to be successful largely due to the fact that they sell to their own organization the same way they sell to their customers.

On a recent trip to visit, one thing I immediately noticed was that everyone in the company, top to bottom simply “got it.” They do a great job branding their services to their customers, and even a better job branding that same approach to their entire staff. While staffers were convincing customers to start websites, follow their dreams and head straight to “Go Time,” every agent…

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