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 grow, 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.
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
- Define goal: Map your QA process to business goals
- 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
- Remove the perception of QA evaluation as being a punitive process
- 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
- Progressive businesses are moving on from tick box, features and benefits format to customer engagement / active listening, matching and outcomes
- 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
- Business Intelligence Team uses the data gathered through quality process for providing the business with performance insight & predictive analytics
- QA should inform product and product governance: Undertake product reviews / what do customers like, dislike
- 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
- Red flag process vigorously enforced
- Senior Executives need visibility: Customer experience, product / marketing / managing risk
- Build processes and systems to share information across the business: Share Voice of the Customer feedback with other departments
- Hold regular round tables with Product, Marketing, Sales: highlight trends, risks, feedback
- Influence the organization: don’t operate in a silo
- Include agents and team leads in the calibration process
- Calibrate based on expertise, not deviation from average or arbitrary targets
- Use Calibrations to refine QA forms and remove ambiguity
- Look to your teams to identify and share anecdotal feedback: sometimes it is OK to work in the grey
- Keep your QA forms fresh and relevant
- Deep-dive analysis of the data to identify trends, insight and areas that require greater focus
A lot of people in the contact center scene have heard about Speech Analytics (SA) but do not know the purpose of the technology. Researching the topic can be overwhelming so let’s start with the basics.
What is Speech Analytics?
Speech Analytics is the technique of taking calls that have been recorded to acquire data. It is to call centers what Google is to the internet. You can search for keywords or phrases to identify specific topics or behaviors during a customer-agent interaction.
What can I use Speech Analytics for?
You can use SA for a lot of things. Say your company requires sales agents to read to the customer a disclaimer about E911 (Enhanced 911) at point of sale- you need to know the percentage of agent compliance in your sales queue. You could spend an eternity going through calls randomly and hope to find what you are looking for or you can use SA technology to search for the specific phrase you are looking for like “E911 will not function until power is restored” and examine the data for accuracy.
You can also use SA technology to improve an existing process. For example one of the biggest issues in any size call center is First Call Resolution (FCR). You want to make sure that your agents are handling your customers concerns the first time around. The more customers have to call in results in lower customer satisfaction which could result in your customers ultimately leaving you for a competitor. SA can help you identify the hot topics that trigger repeat calls and help you develop processes to resolve them.
How does a Speech Analytics tool work? How does it know to find what I am looking for?
A SA tool typically is broken down into the following functional segments:
Speech Engine- This portion does the initial analysis of audio and will convert it into a file that contains a series of phonemes or transcribed text.
Indexing- This portion improves accuracy of the speech engine. It will try to make sense of the data from the speech engine and index it for additional analysis, ad hoc searching and queries. The tools will import/ingest data from the call center’s recording system(s).
Query Engine- This is where authorized end users are able to define their queries and results they want in the SA tool.
Search- Used to perform ad hoc search terms on indexed audio files. Operates similar to a google search.
Reporting Dashboard- This is where you can go to organize system data in a customizable and easy to visually digest manner. In this area you are able to drill down and filter results to your needs.
There are 2 primary types of speech engines:
Phonetic Speech Engine- the English Language has 40 phonemes. A phonetic based SA tool will search your keywords and phrases broken down in phonemes in order to return your search results faster. Example: “an-l-it-iks” or “Foh-net-ik”. A benefit to a phonetic based SA tool is that it is not limited to a pre-defined dictionary.
Text to speech (also known as LVCSR) Engine – A text to speech tool will convert speech into text using a dictionary. It will then locate the occurrences of query words in the transcribed call. A benefit of this type of SA tool is that it creates a transcript of the customer-agent interaction.
What is a Query?
Queries are an absolute must to have in your SA tool in order to get the best results. A query is a prebuilt search that has been created within the SA tool to help an end user best refine their ad hoc searches. An organization will typically have some resources set aside who specialize in creating specific queries that are of significant value to the organization. For example a telecommunications company may want to have queries built around the core lines of business they offer in addition to having queries built for specific call drivers like payment arrangements or general inquiries. Typically queries should validate at 90% accuracy to be considered functional as it will reduce the amount of false positives and missed hits.
What is an ad hoc search?
An ad hoc search is a custom search performed within the SA tool. This is the exciting aspect of speech analytics as your options for what you can search for are relatively limitless. Ad hoc searches are the core of any SA program because they allow your organization to deep dive into the heart of your customer-agent interactions. Generally the best way to ad hoc search is when they are run concurrently with an existing relevant query within the system to vet out the best results. Keep in mind that you will need to validate the accuracy of your results to ensure that you are gathering the most relevant results for your ad hoc search. Further elaboration on the ad hoc search process will be discussed in the next article.
As you can see there is a lot of power that a good speech analytics program has to offer. There is an increasing need for contact centers to deliver better customer experiences along with reducing cost and improving agent performance. People are now starting to understand that a customer interaction is a revenue generating asset that contains a vast amount of insight data that needs to be tapped into, understood and acted on.
See you soon in part 2 of Adventures in Speech Analytics when we take a closer look at queries and the ad hoc search process and strategies within a speech analytics tool.
Written by: Diana Aviles, Operations Manager, Speech Analytics at BPA Quality
“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
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?”
By Ewa Murphy, June 2015
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.
- 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.
- Breakdown each piece on the scorecard into distinct measures. Have a Quality ruler to ensure that all scoring is fair and done properly.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.