Quality Redesign to Drive Business Success
By Linda Duba
just assumed the role of quality manager and have been tasked with redesigning
the quality program, including the monitoring form. Where do you begin? How do
you proceed? What steps do you take to ensure the new program meets everyone’s
needs, from the agent to the executive?
challenging questions that require a thoughtful and structured approach. The
right quality program has the potential to transform your contact center into a
powerhouse that drives business results. This transformation begins by changing
the quality culture from a “monitor” environment to one of focused and proactive
change management. The following quality redesign road map is based on my work
with thousands of contact centers of all sizes:
Establish a Strategic Vision:
One of the
keys to building an effective quality program is knowing what to measure and how
those metrics help drive business success. An executive sponsor can help you
establish a strategic vision for your program based on corporate objectives.
This guidance will drive your process and inform design. Your sponsor can define
the following key business initiatives and business goals:
business vision and brand
What is the vision
statement, and how is this vision practiced within the organization on a
What message or image does
the business strive to project to callers and employees?
share and/or customer acquisition
What are the current revenue
sources and channels?
How does the business extend
or expand the customer relationship?
Are there new strategies to
increase revenue per customer?
How can the contact center
support those strategies?
How is satisfaction
Is “net promoter” a key
Is FCR (first call
resolution) a key business metric? What comprises FCR?
Does customer satisfaction
and feedback drive organization change?
Is there a “problem
incidence” or “service recovery process” metric?
corporate objectives are the basis for your strategic vision, a simple statement
of how the quality program will support these goals. For example, “The ABC
Company’s customer service quality program ensures that the customer service
organization achieves the highest levels of customer satisfaction while meeting
our growth objectives and operating in the most efficient manner possible.”
Assess Your Current Program:
The next step
is understanding how agents, supervisors, and managers feel about the quality
program and how well the program supports the strategic vision. You may find
that supervisors as well as agents are somewhat mistrustful of the current
monitoring process and evaluation form. Agents may feel like they’re being
watched or corrected. Supervisors may struggle with using the monitoring form
and helping agents improve their performance versus just monitoring for errors.
In many cases, you will also find misalignment between strategic objectives and
the specific behaviors and skills being evaluated.
Establish New Quality
This is the stage to establish a “quality council” comprised of key stakeholders
in the quality process: agents, supervisors, trainers, sales coaches, and
managers. Members will gather peer feedback that they can bring to the table, as
well as draw upon their own experiences and ideas. Through a series of meetings
and feedback sessions, the council will review the strategic vision and begin
the process of translating that vision into pragmatic quality components.
behaviors that relate to each of the business initiatives and goals, such as:
ownership, and resolution
Effective call management
the “need to have” components based on:
Legal or regulatory
Customer security or privacy
The brand (if branding
drives the business)
all components using these statements:
Are they actionable? Will
they lead to better business results, process change, or customer
Can they be objectively
If they can be defined, are
there tactical ways to coach for improvement?
Will they help identify and
close process and satisfaction gaps?
Will they help motivate
agents, supervisors, coaches, and trainers towards continuous quality
the council develops themes and groups the accepted components within these
themes, such as:
Opening, greeting, and
Probing and problem
Fundamentals and policy or
Finesse and soft skills
Sales effectiveness and
expanding the relationship
Closure and ensuring
Design the New Monitoring Form:
Now it’s time
to design the actual quality monitoring form. Start by placing the strategic
vision on the form; it will serve as a reminder and reinforcement to quality,
coaching, and agent development.
the questions, statements, and supporting coaching points that will be used for
measurement. Ensure that the question or statement has supporting coaching
points within the form where possible. Refer to your assessment criteria to
clearly define each question or statement. Make sure that the sections and
questions provide a logical flow. Agents and quality analysts will provide
valuable insight here, since they service or listen to calls on a daily basis.
Having an effective flow will save time for quality analysts.
determine the importance of each section and the questions and statements within
those sections. Refer to your strategic business initiatives to help make these
scoring decisions. Look for critical questions that support compliance,
regulatory, and customer satisfaction objectives. Weight the form according to
the behaviors you wish to drive and can support with positive coaching.
Few organizations put
enough emphasis on the critical communications step. Providing information
updates throughout the development and design process goes a long way in making
the program a success. Use bulletin boards, Intranet sites, team meetings, and
“desk drops” to keep employees informed of various stages and decisions being
made. The more they know, the more likely they are to process the changes and
accept them. Also, ensure that they have feedback channels.
launch process that incorporates a “nesting” phase for the new form. Use
parallel testing with both the existing and new form to understand how agent
performance is affected. This also allows agents, supervisors, coaches, and
analysts to adapt to the changes.
John Wooden, former UCLA
basketball coach and the “Wizard of Westwood,” said, “A coach is someone who can
give correction without causing resentment.” The entire purpose of evaluation
and measurement is to improve – and improvement happens in the direct feedback,
encouragement, and guidance provided between agent and supervisor or quality
coach. The best coaching practices involve both “virtual” and “sit-down”
coaching gives the agent the opportunity to receive written feedback and review
evaluations and call recordings on their own, as well as conduct
self-assessments. This is a time to listen, consider, and reflect, and it
creates an openness to truly “hear” the feedback and learn from it.
virtual coaching is followed by a sit-down meeting, the impact grows
tremendously. Great coaching is a dialogue, not a lecture. The agent is
receptive and learning and growth happen at a dramatic rate. And when the
coaching is firmly rooted in important objectives for the company, it becomes an
experience of working as a team towards common goals versus an interpersonal and
The road map
laid out in this document will help you transform an existing quality program
into a strategic asset. Remember that quality is a journey with great challenges
and tremendous potential rewards. Employ these principles to avoid a bumpy ride
and guide your contact center to gain the utmost value from this important
Linda Duba is a business
professional with over twenty-five years of contact center experience supporting
services operations, training, project management, branding, and customer
experience management for a worldwide financial services company. Linda is
viewed as an expert problem solver, negotiator, presenter, and customer-focused
individual who is able to forge solid relationships across an organization, as
well as with strategic partners with expertise in consensus building across
multiple organizational groups and levels.
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