Article | 4 min read

Meet multichannel demands with agile QA

By Andrew Gori

Last updated July 12, 2017

As the old saying goes, “If you give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day; If you teach a man to fish, he’ll eat for a lifetime.” When it comes to quality assurance (QA) in your contact center, this means transitioning out of the role of the “big brother” watching over agents at their phones and computers, and correcting their methods. It means empowering your agents with modern QA tools that allow them to measure their own success and shortcomings when it comes to customer service.

In the past, agents operated primarily on the phone, so top-down monitoring was a sensible approach to quality assurance. As the communication between customer and agent has become more multifaceted, an agile QA approach must evolve to reflect this complexity. Agents are still on the phones, but they’re also interacting with customers through texts and Tweets, interactive FAQ pages and forums, live chat, and more. Designated QA specialists may only be able to capture a sliver of the work an agent does, and the feedback agents ultimately receive from this effort may not hold much weight to them.

Customer service QA

Customer service QA: Quality Assurance is a term commonly used in businesses nowadays. It refers to giving customers high quality products, service and support. As agents are the interface to a business, one must make sure they are giving customers an optimal service and support, as this ultimately reflects on a brand or product.

Why self-monitoring works

Empowerment brings motivation

People who believe that they have power and control over what happens to them are more motivated to behave in ways that positively influence outcomes. This theory was first proposed in 1954 by psychologist Julia Rotter, and its application to the workplace is a no-brainer. Agents who are told by a QA specialist what they are doing right and wrong may feel like the outcome of their work is out of their hands, to be evaluated only from an outside perspective. On the contrary, agents who are entrusted with the task of monitoring their own work and making goal-oriented improvements will feel more in control of the outcome, and thusly be more motivated to put forth effort toward this end.

Take a company such a Plesk as an example. Plesk is the leading WebOps platform to run, automate and grow applications, websites and hosting businesses. Integrating Zendesk with PlayVox’s QA Software, has allowed Plesk to engage their agents by allowing them to see their quality results and helping them to easily identify areas of improvement in their customer service interactions.

Self-monitoring is more ongoing

Rather than periodically or sporadically monitoring and evaluating your agents’ customer service skills, giving them the tools to monitor their own success means that they will hold these tools in their own two hands. Agents who are aware of their own metrics in real-time are effectively operating on a 1:1 ratio of agent to QA “specialist”. Not sure if your agents know enough about quality to monitor it for themselves? Teach them. Expecting quality obliges you to bring agents to a deep understanding of what quality means.

The tools you need to support omnichannel self-monitoring

Contact centers live and breathe metrics to ensure that customer relationships are humming along productively and happily. But you may have concerns that measuring success on modern channels is trickier than phone monitoring. Luckily, many CRM systems are now equipped to track metrics that go beyond the phone lines and into the channels of the 21st century. And even if your current CRM system falls short in this area, their are plenty of integrations out there that can be used to supplement your system and provide the insights you need about quality on all channels. Here are a few of the metrics you may want to look at when measuring quality off the phones.

Customer Effort Score

This metric comes from asking customers to what extent they agree with the following statement: “The company made it easy for me to handle my issue.” This question can be asked at the end of interactions on any channel, and the results should be made visible to your agents and your overall team on an ongoing basis.

Average concurrent chat sessions

This metric ensures that agents are taking advantage of the non-concurrent nature of chat support while also not sacrificing quality by spreading themselves too thin. 2-3 concurrent chats per agent is a good rule of thumb, though when it comes to the quality of these interactions, always remember that less is more.

“Failover” rate

This measures the frequency at which customers who initiate contact via chat or another non-concurrent channel are forced to move to the phone channel because their issue could not otherwise be resolved.

FCR: First Contact Resolution

This metric is tried and true from the days of old, but simply considering first contact resolution rather than first call resolution can shed light on the customer service channels of today.

Assuring quality customer support across all channels is a necessity of modern call centers. Combining the offerings of modern CRM and QA software with a philosophy of empowering agents to monitor and measure their own success will make your agents “fishers of men,”- hooking and keeping loyal customers who could otherwise be lost in a sea of competition.