This is a guest post from Benjamin Stone writer and technology enthusiast.
In recent years customer service has gotten, in a word, complicated. Whether you want to blame millennials and their need to have everything now, smartphones for constant connectivity, the internet for the exponential boost in competition, or you simply want to yell at a cloud, the fact is organizations are facing the biggest challenges they ever have when it comes to customer satisfaction.
Yet while constant connectivity, digitization and automation have made customer service and satisfaction harder for organizations, the flip side is starting to emerge, one where managers, back office staff and agents can arm themselves with top workflow tools and solutions that help them perform their jobs at the highest level. Constantly taking steps to improve the quality of processes pays huge dividends in the long run – morale is higher and turnover is lower, and this easily translates into happier customers, increased retention and loyalty, and higher customer lifetime value – all in a difficult time for customer service.
Reaching this increased level of quality is no easy task, however. It requires organizations to put in both time and effort into defining ‘quality processes’, all handled by a quality management system (QMS).
Managing quality in a traditional sense
A quality management system (QMS) is hardly a new concept. These systems have been in use by proactive organizations since the latter half of the 20th century to organize processes and evaluate quality from top to bottom. However, over the years, these types of evaluations have become much more complex than traditional evaluator checklists. Today they involve dozens if not hundreds of moving parts involved – evaluations of consumer interactions across multiple channels, follow-ups, endless metrics, compliance concerns, transactions and the list goes on. The bottom line is that it’s a massive undertaking which requires a different type of QMS, one that simplifies the entire process by automating and customizing all company quality processes, regardless of the channel or data source.
By integrating all quality-related initiatives into a single application, into one evaluation process, this type of QMS delivers a more holistic view of both agent and customer journey. It does so by addressing some of the biggest quality management problems facing organizations:
The problem: Data overflow
Customers can contact a company using phone, email, messaging apps, social media, live chat, and any combination of any of the above. Not to mention the variety of channels with the almost endless metrics that can be tracked (time to resolution, average handle time, first call resolution and so on) and you’ve got a recipe for a data avalanche that’s too big to be helpful.
How a next-gen QMS helps: One of the main benefits of using a quality management system designed for the current state of customer service is that it takes that massive amount of accumulated interaction data and transforms it into concise, targeted reports based on selected data points. A leading QMS will have hundreds of data points to choose from, allowing decision-makers to completely customize the information they’re receiving.
The problem: Frontline agents don’t know how well they’re doing
If customer service seems like a lot to keep track of from an organizational perspective, then pity the frontline agents who are struggling to stay on top of their interactions, follow-up work, departmental goals, organizational goals, personal goals and so on and so forth. Supervisors have long been equipped with tools for tracking and assessing their employees, but those employees are more invested in their own performance than anyone, so why haven’t they been equipped too?
How a next-gen QMS can assist: With dashboards customized to every employee, a leading QMS puts agents in control of their performance, providing them with easily accessible information on goals and achievements, evaluations they can review, comparisons with their coworkers’ performances, self-evaluations and collaborative coaching tools. (Supervisors also greatly benefit from these personalized dashboards which can include workflow plans, team performance indicators and trends that help identify emerging issues.)
The problem: Remediation and praise are coming too late
In a performance-driven workplace, feedback is one of the most powerful tools. According to PricewaterhouseCooper’s study on millennials in the workplace, nearly 60% of employees surveyed stated they would like to receive feedback on a weekly or even daily basis. Formal reviews that take place a few times a year aren’t cutting it for truly effecting change, and neither is addressing issues days or even weeks after they’ve occurred.
How a next-gen QMS can assist: Speech or desktop analytics can be integrated to quickly identify interactions that are in need of redirecting feedback or remediation, allowing supervisors to get to the issue and agent in question as quickly as possible to 1) possibly salvage the interaction and 2) impart information on how the agent can be more successful in future interactions. This rapid identification can also be used to single out interactions and agents that should be praised.
The problem: Sometimes coaches need an assistant coach
No one has it easy when it comes to customer service. Frontline agents have to constantly strive to keep even difficult customers happy, to navigate tough situations, to meet goals and keep striving for more. And coaches? They need to help agents accomplish all that.
How a next-gen QMS can assist: Firstly, a next-gen QMS can allow forms to be easily customized and automated, then automatically turned into actionable coaching insights, a sort of road map for improved customer service. Secondly, a QMS will also allow supervisors to easily provide coaching feedback including knowledge, resources and other pertinent instructions with just a couple of clicks.
This list has just scratched the surface of a next generation QMS’s capabilities, but suffice it to say, one of the most important things this comprehensive solution does is empower employees with the information and tools necessary to improve their performance. And in customer service, happy employees translates into happier customers. Technology has undoubtedly made life harder for your customer service department, but with the right tools, it can actually make it easier.
Benjamin Stone is a seasoned writer and technology enthusiast. He has written various articles on the topic of cyber security, e-commerce, and customer experience solutions and continues to research the latest state-of-the-art digital tools. In his spare time Benjamin enjoys reading finance magazines and outdoor sporting activities.