Culture, Tone and Language Considerations in Quality Monitoring

culture-tone-and-language

Here at BPA Quality, one of the services we offer under the umbrella of managed quality services is to unde
rtake large-scale quality monitoring of text and voice interactions in multiple languages.

On some global, multi-lingual projects, the client expectation is that agent tone should remain consistent, regardless of the customer’s language or chosen contact channel.

It goes without saying that agents’ tone should also sound genuine in any language – so for global campaigns, it is important to accommodate for cultural differences. Avoiding the use of language-specific figures of speech as fillers rather than making meaningful statements, and having a sound understanding of culture-specific etiquette are both key elements for success in soft skills. A prime example: whereas US and European customers might expect agents to express empathy for their situation at the opening of the conversation, in some Asian cultures, displaying unsolicited empathy is not appropriate, and monitoring should take account of these differences.

When considering text-based contact, aside from an inherent difficulty in establishing tone in written communications, there can be further cultural implications to consider. For example, in many European languages, using the formal register has historically been the common way to address clients in customer service interactions; some companies are now making a conscious choice to use the informal register (e.g. ‘tu‘ rather than ‘vous‘ in French) which may not always be well-received by more traditionally-minded customers.

This informality in written communication may sometimes occur in contrast to the voice channel for the same company, leading to situations where agents may be required to address customers using the formal register in calls but not in chat.

This can potentially have implications for overall tone, which may be drawn into particular focus if customers make use of multi-channel contact and are left with different perceptions of the brand depending on the channel (which form of address is the one which is most ‘on-brand’ for any particular company…?)

It is reasonable to expect that customers will increasingly equate web chat with other more informal modes of text-based messaging, like IM and SMS, and so may expect their web chat dealings with companies to be conducted in a similar vein.

Even though web chat may generally be viewed as a more informal medium, best practice is still for the spelling / grammar and typography to be held to stringent standards – not least due to the ease with which these interactions can be copied by customers and find their way onto the wider internet, on blogs and message boards, when compared with calls. Indeed, some companies now routinely forward web chat transcripts to customers, so accuracy, tone and being ‘on-brand’ is paramount.

Ultimately, establishing appropriate tone for agents regardless of language and method of contact is best achieved by frequent calibration sessions, taking all of the above considerations into account. Calibrations should take place on a regular basis with key project stakeholders, ideally using sample interactions across all languages and channels in which the project is delivered.

With over 25 years’ experience in quality monitoring and with global clients, our multi-lingual team have the skills, expertise and experience to add this level of detail and insight to your customer service or sales programmes.

To explore more about the subject of this article or to discuss any element of quality monitoring please feel free to contact me or BPA Quality via our website: www.bpaquality.co.uk or www.bpaquality.com.

By:  Helen Beaumont Manahan, Project Implementation Manager at BPA Quality UK

 

TRENDS FOR THE FUTURE OF LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT

TRENDS FOR THE FUTURE OF LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT by Yvette Renda, Director of People Development

As a trainer at BPA Quality, I like to keep on top of current thinking in my area, and so it was with interest that I read a report recently released by the Brandon Hall Group – a think tank specializing in theories of workforce management practice*.

The report highlighted that – in today’s world – organizations that fail to adjust their learning management practices and solutions often struggle with organizational growth as well as productivity.

As a result, forward-thinking companies are abandoning traditional methods of learning in favor of more effective solutions that engage talent and improve performance. And although the report focuses on the use of new technology to improve training outcomes, I found that some of the non-technological aspects were also quite interesting. After all, not every organization can immediately re-purpose all aspects of training strategy, tactics and materials to take advantage of cutting edge technology.

In fact, the aspects of the report that I was most interested in highlighted key trends affecting the future of enterprise learning and recommendations for selecting the right provider.

A number of key findings of the report jumped out at me:

* One-third of companies are increasing their budget for learning and development

* 41 percent of companies describe their culture as “Controlling”

* 59 percent of companies are leveraging social learning activities

Source: Brandon Hall Group 2014 Learning and Development Benchmarking Study (n=569)

Prioritizing the Individual

It is true that finding and keeping talent is no longer an HR challenge but a strategic business priority. Yet, the authors of the report found that most companies were unable to build lasting relationships with their employees in an effort to overcome these challenges. Instead of giving employees the tools needed to succeed, many companies feel threatened by their workforce and fearful of change. In fact, when asked to define their company culture, 41 percent of employees described it as “controlling”.

I agree with the authors that, with the emergence of a younger generation and the rise of the independent worker, companies must rethink their approach to talent and begin to prioritize the “individual”. I’ve found in my own work at BPA Quality that provision of a ‘peer coach’ to help new trainees apply the skills they’ve acquired in the workplace setting allows for an individualized approach rather than a ‘one size fits all’ ‘controlling’ model.

However, in my own view, for many companies this updated learning and development process is long overdue. Indeed, research shows that more than 50 percent of companies have revisited their learning strategy less than two times over the last five years and learning has remained, for the most part, stagnant. But the good news is that one-third of companies are increasing their budget for learning and development over the next 12 months.

With nearly 50 percent of these companies currently spending $100 per learner per year, it makes sense to conclude that companies need to become more strategic about their training programs and the type of learning experience offered by training enablers.

My recommendations

Although training is one of the most mature areas of talent management, it is also one of the most innovative. Yet making a decision to improve a learning management program and invest in a learning management solution is often a daunting challenge.

Happily, the authors offer some considerations that can help with this which I would recommend from my own training experiences at BPA Quality:

* Considering Adaptive Learning. Adaptive learning is a methodology that allows employees to learn at their own pace. Employees can be monitored individually and in real time to determine what learning approach will best suit their needs.

At BPA Quality we utilize this approach as can be seen in the afore-mentioned example of the provision of a ‘peer coach’ for new trainees to try out their new skills in the actual work setting under the guidance of their personal ‘peer coach’.

Personally, I’ve found that the Adaptive Learning approach allows employees to build confidence and overall expertise at their own individualized pace – and that this has positive benefits for both efficiency and long-term employee engagement, increasing productivity (a key metric of the report).

* Aligning with Business Objectives. It goes without saying that any training program should drive retention, engagement, and performance aligned with the organization’s business objectives. The authors were able to demonstrate that for those companies that did align learning and business priorities (48 percent), more than 70 percent were able to improve company revenue.

I happen to strongly agree with this and apply it in my own work. When I’m conducting training at our client sites every BPA Quality workshop that I conduct is based around the input, and expertise of the participants – from agent to management level training – and therefore keeps my training relevant to the participants, client environment and business objectives.

* Measuring Effectiveness. To determine if the learning strategy in place is driving business outcomes, companies must find a way to consistently measure its effectiveness.

This makes good sense to me, and at BPA Quality all team members participate in regular quality calibrations to ensure accuracy and complete understanding of their objectives and how they align with clients’ business objectives.

MY KEY TAKEAWAYS

Put the individual first. I totally agree that companies must shift the way they view employees and consider focusing on the individual and his or her unique learning needs. For some companies, this strategy may include aspects of adaptive learning; for other companies, it could mean a different communication strategy.

At BPA Quality we have always based our training around an Adaptive Learning approach, and in terms of other communication strategies I always keep an open mind. The changing dynamics of our marketplace demand no less.

*[Brandon Hall Group is an independent HCM research and advisory services firm that provides insights on Learning and Development, Talent Management, Leadership Development, Talent Acquisition, and Human Resources.]

True Vision in Quality Monitoring

giovanniaguirre

The lesson we learn in business is that sometimes you need to think differently, take some risks and look at things from a different angle…and in this case, when you can’t even look. When listening is most important skill in your business, the best people who can do that are the ones that can only do that. What we will learn in this article is the process of adding to your staff with very capable visual impaired team members…the concept, the how to, the resources and the benefits.

BPA first started recruiting visually impaired staff members in 2006 after an internal brainstorming session on how to recruit candidates with greater listening skills. The initial conjecture was that a person who had lost one of their senses would heighten their remaining ones in order to help them during their daily lives. With this perspective in mind, it was our hope that…

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How is a Call Center like the Super Bowl?

Going Global? Is your Call Center Ready?

BPA GlobalPreview

14 Quality Quotes for Call Center Managers & Agents

shutterstock_155754371 1.  “Quality is the best business plan.” ~ Jahn Lasseter, PIXAR

2.  “Be a yardstick of Quality.” ~ Steve Jobs, Apple

3.  “Quality is not an act.  It is a habit.”  ~ Aristotle

4.  “When you’re out of Quality, you’re out of business.” ~ Anon

5.  “Our innovation makes us first, our Quality makes us last.” ~ Scott Adams, US Cartoonist

6.  “We have two ears and one mouth, so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” ~ Epictetus

7.  “Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten.” ~ Gucci Family Slogan

8.  “It is easier to do a job right, then to explain why you didn’t.” ~ Martin Van Buren

9.  “Excellent firms don’t believe in excellence — only in constant improvement and constant change.” ~ Tom Peters

10.  “If you build a great experience, customers tell each other about that.  Word of mouth is very powerful.” ~ Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com

11.  “Customer satisfaction is worthless.  Customer loyalty is priceless.”  ~ Jeffrey Gitomer

12.  “If you’re not serving the customer, your job is to be serving someone who is.” ~ Jan Carlzon, ex-CEO SAP Group

13.  “In the world of Internet Customer Service, it’s important to remember your competitor is only one mouse click away.” ~ Doug Warner

14.  “Why wait to be memorable?” ~ Tony Robbins

If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Manage It …

Remote call monitoringIf you were asked to draw a line exactly 17 cm long, could you do it?  You could probably give it a good guess, but unless you had a ruler in your back pocket you just can’t be sure.

Measuring the quality of a customer contact has progressed into a science that can ultimately uncover market intelligence, training needs, process improvements and usable feedback to the agents … but only if it’s objective, fair and quantifiable.  BPA Quality believes that in order for Quality to capture beneficial information, then it must be clear and well defined … you need a Quality Ruler.

Who is BPA Quality?  BPA Quality is the leading global provider of remote call monitoring, customer satisfaction surveys, mystery calling, social media monitoring, speech analytics and training services.  With over 25 years in the study and application of Quality Call Center Science, BPA helps its clients take data and turn it into actionable observations that allow managers, supervisors and agents to modify the behaviors of call center activities to build an awesome Quality Customer Experience.

The proof is in the pudding, as the saying goes…Recently, while working with a large telecommunications company BPA developed a model to head off unnecessary in house service calls.  BPA was able to help reduce these service calls as much as 17% per month that translated into millions of dollars of potential savings.  BPA has also helped a car service company reduce customer complaints by 90% and improved a credit collections firm increase their collected accounts by 20% … all by using the science and application provided by BPA Quality.

These great results are a reflection of the BPA Quality mission statement … to be the global leader in the delivery and development of services that improve the customer experience for contact centers around the world.

This mission begins in the incredibly rich culture of the company.  “We provide services in over 45 different languages, and all of them are conducted in the native language of the analyst,” adds Craig Antonucci, VP of Client Awesomeness of BPA.  He adds, “We have analysts, managers and professionals from all over the world all with an incredible amount of experience.  The fact that we have this cultural diversity allows us to be the world leader in our market, and in the end, we help our clients deliver an awesome customer experience.” 

This rich culture started with the vision Lisa Renda, President and Founder of BPA Quality.  She noted in a recent interview, “We didn’t want BPA to just be known for excellent output, we wanted our clients to also enjoy working with the BPA staff and to feel that they were dealing with good, honest people who care.  We work hard at creating a team that is undoubtedly excellent in their field, but one which also shares common ideals and a sense of integrity.”  Even BPA Quality’s customers feel the same way about BPA:

I have worked with a number of suppliers offering similar services over the past 18 years.  None have offered the exceptional high standards, good value, passion and flexibility to a client’s needs as I experienced so far with the BPA staff.’  ~Contact Centre Manager / Samsung Electronics

Milena Maric’, Trainer and Performance Manager, said before joining the BPA team, she was a customer and that BPA became synonymous with high standards of customer service, practical ways of achieving sales and / or customer satisfaction, taking control of the call and also self reflection.  BPA taught her a lot of things, which resonated with how she wanted customer service to be.

Awesome people, rich in culture and consistently delivering results to it’s customers, BPA exemplifies that defining Call Center Quality goes beyond just a simple checklist.  Quality is a Science, a science delivered by smart experienced people.  So when you ask the question, “Without the correct ruler for measurement, how can you manage it?” the answer is BPA Quality.

bparuler

2013 in review for BPA Quality’s Blog

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,800 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Take the Contact Centre Quality 2014 survey!

Contact Centre Quality 2014 survey!survey1

 http://ow.ly/qHGtE

You know … that Quality, Call Center Chic!

The Monster living in your Contact Center.

frankensteinDoes a MONSTER live in your Contact Center? 

This MONSTER consists of uncalibration, lack of constant coaching, animosity toward QA and nit picking.  The Monster is easily created, especially if the contact center is in survival mode.  The Contact Center Monster is a Quality Program that is scary enough to cause Shelley to turn in her Quill.

Grab your pitchforks and torches because here is how you catch and destroy that Contact Center Nightmare.

First weapon of defense is getting the buy-in of all agents, supervisors and management teams to the Quality Program.  The posse needs to join together and provide a unified mob.  A lot of centers make the mistake of creating an us VS. them (QA VS. managers and Agents) mentality.   The bigger the mob, the stronger it can be.

Next weapon is Calibration!  Ok – so, that is another monster, but listening and relying on great tools for success can easily tame it.  Once you have everyone knowledgeable on what is being listened for, then success is ACHIEVABLE and WANTED.

Third weapon is listening for what is important to your customer, not what is necessarily best for the bottom line.  For instance, everyone knows that sunlight kills a vampire, but it won’t work on Frankenstein.  So, why would bring a weapon that emits sunlight, if you were looking to destroy ‘ol Frankie? 

Fourth weapon is consistent coaching / training.  Look, if I were going to fight a REAL Monster, I would make sure that I worked out and trained for the fight.  That means that I would be at the gym doing crunches and attempting to lift Smart Cars to become stronger.  That is what Coaching does for agents.  It makes them stronger and more capable of providing award-winning service.  It gives them the arsenal needed to be successful.

Lastly, but definitely not least, move beyond the catching agents in doing something wrong idea of Quality.  The truth is that a great Quality program consists of providing opportunities for the agents to get even better and celebrate their awesomeness in service.  Cheer on the team and the confidence to destroy the monster will always win in the end.

Now that we are ready to destroy that MONSTER, what are you waiting for?  Oh, by the way, I hear Monsters like candy, preferably chocolate!

Happy Halloween!