BPA Quality Managed QA Solutions USA

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

 

Recognising the importance of the Human Element in Customer Interactions

Recognizing the importance of the Human Element in Customer Interactions

For over 25 years, BPA Quality has been working with some of the world’s biggest organisations with one aim: to improve customer experience and, through this, deliver increased sales, retention, loyalty, cost optimisation, compliance and profitability.

Our many valued clients have a common passion and commitment to create outstanding organisations and work in partnership with BPA Quality to achieve competitive advantage and deliver exceptional results. They understand the strategic importance of having a highly effective quality programme within their organisation.

As the sphere of influence and recognition of the importance of the Contact Centre and quality functions 42951 Human Element Article ­ Sphere of Influencegrow, covering all aspects of the business from Sales, Marketing, Product Design, Legal and Compliance to the Customer-Facing Operations, so the need to capitalise on this key resource becomes imperative.

Our many years of specialism in Contact Centre Quality Assurance places us in a highly informed position; we have listened to
millions of “human” customer
contact situations, covering almost every customer type, having every conceivable difficulty or requirement. We have also undertaken this
activity internationally, covering 45 languages, so we understand the differences between customer service expectations across multiple cultures.

All of this activity has enabled us to gain a detailed knowledge and view of the behaviours and processes that drive positive customer experience and engagement in Contact Centres and the development of effective quality and coaching programmes that enhance performance.

One of the key areas is a detailed understanding of the value and importance every customer interaction has in either positively or negatively impacting customer engagement with the organisation.

A great deal of focus in the Contact Centre quality programmes we encounter remains centred on scripting, process adherence, AHT reduction, risk avoidance, contact deflection and compliance, and not always on maximising the real opportunities presented in the Human Element of interactions.

Every conversation with a Customer is a lot more than just saying words and phrases – it’s an opportunity to make a real connection, to build the human element. As humans, unlike machines (chatbots), we have the ability to be creative, intuitive, show genuine empathy, feeling and understanding; to connect on a human level.

The human element in interactions provides great opportunities to:

  • Build and reinforce your brand
  • Build trust, credibility, and highlight competence
  • Personalise the interaction and foster mirrored relationships
  • Understand the reason for the interaction
  • Identify all elements of the contact
  • Build a relationship, show empathy, ownership and understanding; ensure the Customer feels like an individual, not a number
  • Paint a picture to show the Customer you are engaged
  • Offer flexible solutions
  • Negotiate suitable solutions, creating win/win situations
  • Build loyalty, retention, sales opportunities, advocacy, and increase first call resolution.

Every interaction, whatever the duration, represents an opportunity to discover valuable information about your Customers, identifying their challenges, wants and needs. This knowledge, once identified, can provide you with actionable insight and intelligence that can be used to guide the conversation and help build more effective human connections.

So in our rush to automate everything, push Customers online and reduce expensive human contact, we must not forget the value these interactions bring to our business. Significant focus should be placed on developing the effective skills, behaviours and coaching programmes designed to maximise this great benefit to our people and Customers.

by Andrew Mutch, Chief Customer Officer EMEA

Cost Centre or Profit Centre? When Quality Becomes an Agent for Change.

cost centre or profit centre bobba

Jun20More and more leaders in our industry are challenging their organisations to re-think their quality models and making Strategic Quality a foundation pillar within their growth plans.

Whilst the drivers vary across organisations, we are observing a tangible and growing interest in both understanding and leveraging end-to-end Quality.

When the focus changes from ‘box-ticking’ to ‘business intelligence,’ and the Quality Team’s insight and analysis is sought in order to form the basis of key decisions, which impact the whole business, the benefits are leveraged right across the board: from marketing to recruitment, compliance to customer advocacy, from employee engagement to process improvement, product design and more.

Of course, your Quality Team are eyewitnesses to your daily interactions with customers, but it’s how you harness and leverage this insight that provides opportunities for business transformation.

When you compare business endeavours to elite sports performance – marginal gains, outlier theories and so on – coupled with the vast amount of data now available, the difference between winning and losing is down to your ability to hand pick the correct nuggets of data in a timely manner and turn these into actionable goals and winning tactics.

In our experience working with Clients across the global spectrum, the consistent key success factors are:

  • Your Quality Team being – and being seen to be – truly independent and impartial
  • Highly calibrated outputs, credibility beyond question
  • An employee-centric model, built around engaging your people
  • Coaching that makes a real difference
  • The ability to deploy insight-gathering and report on it, in real time
  • A system which enables immediate action by the right people at the right time
  • All aspects of the programme being engineered towards your business strategic goals

Whether you have an established and mature Quality setup, or are pushing to move your business to the next level, engaging with the right specialist, independent and trusted Partner will provide you with game-changing bench strength.

Whilst most daily operational metrics give us visibility of how the business is running, how accurately can we measure our current cost of quality, and how clearly can we state what the ROI is on our spend?

Certainly in our experience, this is a tough question to answer for many. This can result from shared ownership, overlapping processes, specialisation and accountability challenges for outcomes as well as costs. All too often this can mean that Quality is perceived as a ‘sunk cost’ to be managed down, instead of a catalyst for business change.

Many of our conversations start from taking a fresh look and benchmarking with best-in-class models. Opportunities become apparent and whether they require a fundamental rethink or focused enhancements, the benefits are soon tangible.

At BPA Quality, we are privileged to be working with some of the world’s biggest brands and many long-term successes are founded on the use of Quality as a strategic driver to deliver higher returns.

BPA Quality is currently speaking to organisations across the UK, US and worldwide who are interested in exploring these themes. If you would like to take part, or share your views, please get in touch – we’d love to hear from you.

By:  Alex Bobba, BPA Quality EMEA’s Managing Director

June 20, 2016

Maximising the Effectiveness of Quality Scorecards

maximizing the effectiveness quality scorecards Teasdale

Here at BPA Quality we have over 25 years’ experience in providing expert quality monitoring services and consultancy for contact centres. Our clients are drawn from 100 different industries with the one common area being that they use contact centres to communicate with their customers. Being at the hub of all this combined experience and expertise means we are in the lucky position of seeing all elements of how through quality monitoring different companies attempt to implement exceptional customer experience.

Our experience and variety of client’s results in a unique BPA view on all things related to the delivery and achievement of quality monitoring.

Without selling the family heirlooms I have decided to write about the subjects we are asked about the most and share some thoughts.    

One of the main area’s we are asked about by clients and potential clients alike is; “what is the ideal scorecard.”

Regardless of the level of investment in quality in your contact centre you will invariably use a scorecard to identify problems, maintain quality standards, improve customer experience, and increase agent, centre and departmental performances.

Given the importance of scorecards, their creation and amendments should be considered and involve front line team members, managers, stakeholders, customers and, if possible,  industry experts.

Building a routine and process for regular reviews of your scorecard is crucial; scorecards in our experience have a habit of growing organically with areas added to reflect current needs, or latest trends. Over time, this can lead to scorecards that have duplicate areas measured or areas measured that are no longer relevant.

Scorecards should have measures that are aligned with your company view on how it should be delivering customer experience. It should also consider KPIsexternal benchmarking and also customer expectations.

Once you understand the measures and are confident they reflect your version of a quality interaction, you then need to give serious thought on how these interactions are then measured.  Include examples that demonstrate excellent, average and poor quality of the behaviour/activity being measured.

Ask yourself, “Can I develop an action plan from the results of the scorecard. Can I communicate the results to the agents effectively? Am I able to identify outstanding performance as well as areas for improvement?”

Whilst oversimplified, this view of the creation of scorecards provides ‘food for thought’ about some of the key considerations regarding scorecards.

For more detailed information regarding scorecards and how to maximise their effectiveness, please feel free to contact me.   

Written by:  Martin Teasdale, Quality Solutions Director – UK & EMEA

June 6, 2016

3 Different Types of Quality Programs … Which is the best for your Customers?

Did you know that 76% of consumers that partook in the Aspect Consumer Experience Survey view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them?  How about, according to the 2015 Global State of Multichannel Customer Service Report by Parature, 65% of the 1000 consumers surveyed said they would sever their relationship with a brand over a single poor customer experience?  So … how do you make sure that your agents are providing a fantastic customer experience every time they interact with customers?  One word … QUALITY!

A potent Quality program that provides objective and customer-concentric evaluations can make the difference in agents’ abilities to understand the optimum way to provide first-class customer service.  There are 3 main platforms of Quality:  Internal Quality Team, Outsourced (offshored) Quality Team and Pro-sourced Quality Team.  Choosing the right one depends on the business needs and goals.

If you are looking to have total control over the quality program and to have analysts available to answer calls during high call volume, then an internal team may be your choice.  From my many conversations with call center leaders, they have complained that quality wasn’t being done because the analysts were pulled to help manage call queues. Since evaluations were not being done, then the agents were not being provided proper coaching.  Also, from the same conversations, there is also a high probability of nepotism because quality teams were co-workers/friends with the agents.  Since the evaluations are more subjective then objective, opportunities are lost to assist agents to be best-in-class.

Outsource (offshoring) quality monitoring will definitely get audits completed, in a check box mentality.  Since this work is outsourced to different countries because of lower wages, cultural issues arise.  Customers from the USA are quite a contrast from those in India, South America and the Philippines.  The cultural difference can be one word or tone away from losing a customer.  A quality program should contribute insight to all your customers’ expectations and benefit call center managers with appropriate information to properly coach agents.

The last main platform, far from the least, is Pro-sourcing Quality.  Just like FedEx is an expert on getting packages from Point A to Point B on time, a Pro-sourced quality company are experts in quality.  Listening to calls for quality is not a skill that everyone possesses.  It takes expertise in listening and analyzing calls for hours.  Uncovering business intelligence to help a company reach their goals and needs are all part of a pro-sourcing relationship.  Since most pro-sourcing quality companies are located where your customers live, it is capable of understanding the culture and even regionalism of your customers.  In a pro-sourcing quality partnership, they work with you (the expert in your business) and couples it with unbiased, customer-centric analysis of how to increase customer experience and loyalty.

As mentioned before, choosing the correct quality platform that works for your call center needs and goals can be a daunting process.  According to a whitepaper by Craig Antonucci at BPA Quality, there are 4 factors that make a quality program successful:

  1. Make it clear and to the point
  2. Integrate supervisors and managers into the process
  3. Clearly define the program for the agents
  4. Make it consistent, fair, objective and accurate

I would add one more factor …

Be sure your quality analysts and program are experts in quality, and they can provide insightful knowledge on what is excellent customer service to YOUR customers.Call Monitoring 3rd Party

20 Call Center Quality Assurance Considerations – the Big Picture

41334_BPA Value icons

  1. Define goal:  Map your QA process to business goals
  2. Build a QA quality culture and behavior framework:  framework centered around improving the customer experience by focusing on the effort the customer makes, minimizing conduct risk and providing the most positive customer outcomes
  3. Remove the perception of QA evaluation as being a punitive process
  4. Pay close attention to correlation between QA scores and customer survey scores – note:  Only 20-25% of customer satisfaction with a call is determined by the content of their conversation with agents
  5. Progressive businesses are moving on from tick box, features and benefits format to customer engagement / active listening, matching and outcomes
  6. The QA team should be regarded as experts in driving the customer experience agenda across the organization and be regarded as an integral part of the company value chain
  7. Business Intelligence Team uses the data gathered through quality process for providing the business with performance insight & predictive analytics
  8. QA should inform product and product governance:   Undertake product reviews / what do customers like, dislike
  9. The QA and compliance teams need to work hand-in-glove; ensuring compliant customer interactions for both new and existing customers: regulatory rules are now given
  10. Red flag process vigorously enforced
  11. Senior Executives need visibility:  Customer experience, product / marketing / managing risk
  12. Build processes and systems to share information across the business:  Share Voice of the Customer feedback with other departments
  13. Hold regular round tables with Product, Marketing, Sales:  highlight trends, risks, feedback
  14. Influence the organization:  don’t operate in a silo
  15. Include agents and team leads in the calibration process
  16. Calibrate based on expertise, not deviation from average or arbitrary targets
  17. Use Calibrations to refine QA forms and remove ambiguity
  18. Look to your teams to identify and share anecdotal feedback:  sometimes it is OK to work in the grey
  19. Keep your QA forms fresh and relevant
  20. Deep-dive analysis of the data to identify trends, insight and areas that require greater focus

Call MOT (USA = Car Inspection)

“Your call may be recorded for training and quality purposes” ­– almost every IVR these days plays this message but do you ever wonder what happens to your call if it’s the one that is selected?

Organizations have various approaches to using call information to improve customer service and enhance agents’ performance. As an example, here at BPA we work with lots of International companies to help them in maximizing the impact of this vital information.

So what happens? Well, some of these calls are directed to us, at BPA, many of them pretty quickly. The recorded call journey is ready to begin.

The first stage, at BPA, resembles slightly a service station (or garage, as we often prefer to say). Our highly trained call analysts will pick up a call and carefully listen to it – like a car mechanic will pick up a car, indulging themselves in its motor’s sound and diagnostics.

The analysis begins. The MOT list contains lots of boxes that will be ticked (or not), based on the outcome of the check. Nothing can be omitted, everything has to be scrutinized. If needed, the car will be dismantled, repaired and put back together again.

The driver and the passengers’ safety on the road will hugely depend on this. The “finished product” will only then be returned to its legitimate owner.

Our Quality Analyst’s list (or as we prefer to call it – evaluation form) is equally long and detailed. The call will be listened to, every area of the call will be analyzed and assessed accordingly. If needed, the call will be “dismantled”: paused, replayed, re-listened and evaluated according to the very high and specific pre-set criteria. The feedback will be entered, both good and bad (we’d rather call it “positive” and “constructive”); comments will be added, valuable insight will be gained.

The call centre and company’s success in their market will hugely depend on this feedback and insight. It is vital that the feedback is checked and calibrated before the “finished product” is returned to the center that undertook the original transaction.

Next, the owner (our client) will soon coach the call assistant of the “dismantled call” on specific areas to improve their performance.

These days, cars are sophisticated and service stations will often specialize in looking after one particular make only. There may be little point taking your Vauxhall into Citroen’s garage. If you want to maximize performance, you go to the experts.

When it comes to call analysis, compliance and insight – we at BPA are specialists.

We don’t pick up just any call – we specialize.

Each team is professionally and highly trained to work for an assigned Client. But that’s not all. Clients may need to address particular aspects of monitoring in more detail, each of them requiring further level of specialization – we offer it; our projects are multiple.

Many of our Clients are global, with call centers all over the world, speaking multiple languages – that’s not a problem for us, either. With a great range of native speakers from each part of the world, we simply can do it!

How do we do it? – Well, that’s another story.

 

 

By Ewa Murphy_July 2015

 

 

 

 

 

UK Contact Centre Leaders Share Their View on Quality

What is Quality in a Contact Centre context?

According to Wikipedia the definition for quality in business “has a pragmatic interpretation as the non-inferiority or superiority of something; it is also defined as fitness for purpose.

Quality is a perceptual, conditional, and somewhat subjective attribute and may be understood differently by different people.”

With that in mind I decided to contact four of the eminent commentators and experts in our industry for their views and to pose one simple question……..

What does ‘Quality’ mean for you in the Contact Centre Industry?

martinhillwilson

 

Martin Hill Wilson

Service, Customer Experience & Digital Business Strategist – Author, Keynote Speaking & Masterclasses

 

 

A water company I have recently been working with produced the following working defintion of quality, which I would not disagree with:

“Culture of care which delivers what matters; when it matters to our customers. Reflecting each moment of truth and recognising quality isn’t absolute but is relative to each customer journey.”


 

annmariestagg

 

Ann-Marie Stagg

Chief Executive of Call Centre Management Association (UK)

 

 

 

“Quality means never having to say sorry – know the customer and their history with your organisation, deliver the service that the customer expects and then repeat the experience every time they contact you using whatever channel they choose.”


 

robwilkinson

 

Rob Wilkinson

Award Winning Call Centre Leader | Trainer | Recruiter | Blogger & Speaker

 

 

 

It’s so easy to over engineer this and so many contact centres make things more complicated than they need to be, often focussing on what they think their customers want instead of what they know their customers want.

For me its best kept simple because that means it’s easier for our agents to understand, easier to measure and easier to improve.

Poor quality = not delivering. Good quality = delivering. Great quality = exceeding.

This makes the first step to improving quality easy too = learn what your customers expect from you.  This applies to any industry & product, both sales & service.


 

 

Andrew Mutch

Chief Customer Officer UK & EMEA at BPA Quality with over 30 years Conatct Centre experience

 

 

“Quality underpins everything, from identifying customer expectations and having a culture and processes in place that ensure that these expectations are met and exceeded, to constantly strive for continuous improvement and evolution”   


 

In Summary

Wikipedia stated that quality in business is a subjective attribute understood differently by different people, the views of these four key people in the contact centre industry both confirms the validity of that statement but also highlights that for each person there is a common theme.

For all quality is about consistently delivering against your customer’s expectations and for that to happen the processes in place have to be rigorously applied.

It is reassuring to know that in an ever competitive and challenging industry quality delivery remains key to the ongoing success and development of our industry to meet ever growing demands of clients and customers.

 

By:  Martin Teasdale, Quality Solutions Director ( UK & EMEA ) at BPA Quality UK

Encouraging Employee Engagement In Your Contact Centre.

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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