When is the last time you seriously considered how the call quality sheet used in your call center impacts the customer experience and your Net Promoter Score? Or have you ever considered this at all? If your organization outsources its call center operations or customer care to a third party provider, have you focused on whether or not the call quality sheet used to assess the quality of the interaction with your customers encourages an excellent customer experience and facilitates upward pressure on your Net Promoter Score?
If you are a call center manager or a customer experience leader, I urge you to pay close attention to the call quality sheet currently in use at your call center and to not accept the industry standard for this form. Why? Because assuming your call center’s primary objectives are to create a quality customer interaction, provide an excellent customer experience and boost Net Promoter Score, the current generally accepted industry standards is unlikely to produce any of those outcomes. To the contrary, the industry standard encourages mediocre quality and creates a lackluster customer experience, definitely not the kind of interaction it takes to delight your customers and create emotional loyalty to your company or brand. In fact, adherence to a standard issue call quality sheet virtually guaranties your customers will have a mediocre customer experience. Call Center Managers – I suspect that many of you have been using your call quality sheet for a long time.
Perhaps the sheet has even become something of a security blanket. I bet your call center supervisors, team leaders and quality assurance personnel can assess a call within mere seconds and spot misalignments or incorrectly used words and phrases immediately. Yes, you have had to patch holes in the call quality sheet from time to time over the years and modify a few things here and there as call center technologies have evolved … BUT, overall you are comfortable with your sheet, and it has stayed fairly consistent. You have used it for so long that it has become second nature.
There is no time like the present to become disloyal to a call quality sheet that facilitates mediocrity and aspires to be nothing more than a checklist for call center agent compliance! Perhaps it is time for call center managers to consider designing and implementing a new sheet, one that will serve as a catalyst for driving meaningful outcomes for the customer experience and Net Promoter Score. I have seen and assessed the effectiveness of a boatload of call quality sheets, give or take a few. Most of them start out with some kind of variation of the following:
- Did the customer service agent say “Thank you for calling” or apply a local greeting?
- Did the customer service agent mention the company name?
- Did the customer service agent mention his or her name?
- Did the customer service agent offer assistance to the caller?
Then, the typical call quality sheet turns to system verification questions, such as:
- Did the customer service agent verify customer’s name?
- Did the customer service agent verify the customer’s account number?
- Did the customer service agent verify the customer’s pin number?
The sheet usually goes on and on in this manner and reveals the flow of the typical customer call. Customers tend to submit to the flow set forth in this sheet because (a) it is what they have come to expect when dealing with customer service issues, and (b) they know if they don’t play along, the entire interaction will take longer, be more difficult and complicate their objective of having their problem or issue resolved. The typical call quality sheet therefore produces a typical call flow that customers in turn have been conditioned to tolerate as a means to an end. For their part, call center agents are incentivized to follow the flow suggested by the call quality sheet, since they are graded and evaluated on how well they comply with the sheet.
But what if the call quality sheet has not been designed and structured to produce a top quality interaction and experience for the customer? So let me pose a simple question: Is a call center agent more likely to strictly adhere to a poorly designed call quality sheet in order to earn a high score OR stray from the sheet’s parameters in order to produce a quality interaction and experience for the customer? Here’s the punch line: A company cannot stand out as exceptional in the customer experience space if it follows industry standards and emulates its peers. The companies that are out there right now pushing their Net Promoter Scores to ever-higher levels and excelling in the area of customer experience are doing it by going beyond industry standards, redefining the standard of excellent customer service, executing and never looking back.
Yes, it can start with something as seemingly mundane as a call quality sheet in your call center. Tune in later this week for a follow-up blog post about what to think about when constructing a truly customer-centric call quality sheet for your call center.