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
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 KPIs, external 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.
June 6, 2016
“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
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?
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.”
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.”
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.
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”
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
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.
Rewind to 1998 and it’s a scorching hot department store in the Balkans. I’m waiting for a sales assistant to notice me. She’s smoking a cigarette and animatedly re-telling the events of last night to a colleague. There’s lots of ‘I said/she said/I said/she said’. Finally she turns, points at me with her chin and says ‘Yes??’
I’m shocked by this level of ‘service’ and later say this to my local friend who looks surprised: ‘Honey, this is Southern Europe! England has spoilt you – we don’t do ‘nicey-nice’ in shops here’.
It’s around this same time that BPA delivered its customer service training session to an international Hotel group’s call centre in Germany, where advisors were unconvinced about the suggested closing phrase: ‘We wouldn’t usually say ‘thank you for your call’ in Germany, it’s just not done here’.
Delivering training in the UK ten years later, and soft skills such as wishing the customer a good day at the end of a call, at times received a sceptical ‘that’s too Americanised. We don’t really do that here’.
Roll forward five years, and during a recent trip to the Balkans, I noticed how attentive yet still naturally relaxed sales assistants are now. Gone is smoking in stores, smiles have replaced the chin-point and there is a lot of ‘I’m here if you need help’.
In our BPA UK office, 98% of all German calls we evaluate for quality today contain the phrase ‘Danke schön für Ihren Anruf’ or, ‘thank you for your call’.
And you’ll be hard-pressed to hear an English call where the agent doesn’t wish you a ‘good day’ or a similar parting pleasantry.
Average is the new Bad
The truth is, good customer service isn’t an inherently cultural phenomenon. It’s a matter of: The Scale. On one extreme of The Scale, there is the bad service, the kind that is so unexpectedly poor that it shocks you so you tell your friends. On the other extreme is the fantastic service – the kind that is so unexpectedly great that it surprises you and, well, you tell your friends. And somewhere in the middle, shrouded in a cloud of easily-forgettable, not-much-happens-here average, there is the good service. Good = what we expect. The kind of service that happens every day. Good, solid, customer service. Nothing to talk about.
As companies up their stakes and improve service, it increases customer expectations, and therefore what was once perceived as Excellent slips towards the Cloud of Average on The Scale.
For example, had supermarket checkout staff offered to help pack your shopping twelve years ago, you might have been very surprised and rated this as fantastic service! Today, it’s the ‘done thing’ in all UK’s supermarkets, and as something we experience every week, it sits comfortably in our Cloud of Average. In fact, when it isn’t offered, we notice something is amiss and rate the service as less than good!
Whether a nation’s current Cloud of Average is a chin-shaking, cigarette-wielder or not, every customer in the world and at any one time will rate positively an experience where they’re greeted with a genuine smile, a warm, personalised and attentive tone and a positive, helpful attitude.
For any customer service provider, seeing cultural differences as a reason to keep on providing the same average service is like saying ‘our customers don’t expect much more, they don’t know any better’, all the while their competitors are raising their own service levels and forcing the current perceptions of excellent, well into the new Cloud of Average. And so the old Average becomes the new Bad.
By: Milena Maric’, Research Team Trainer and Performance Manager at BPA Quality UK