Quality monitoring customer service and performance over time is crucial for contact centres, especially outsourced or offshore centres who must report back to clients. Some of the options are cheap but labour intensive, some are expensive and complex and there are others that simple to use and won't cost the earth. Outlined in this post are 5 categories of quality monitoring solutions suitable for for carrying out QA in call centres.
- QA Scoring Software
- Speech Analytics
- QA Platforms built into Call Recording
- In-house built solutions
QA Scoring Software
Scoring staff on their customer service interactions is at the heart of any quality monitoring solution. QA Scoring software is specifically designed for quality monitoring and has UX (user experience) as a core objective. It's fair to say that it sits in the middle of the categories in that it is a balanced solution; its not free but not expensive either, it delivers much more than basic reporting but can't monitor to the Nth degree.
The biggest benefit for QA Scoring software is often the ease of use. If a contact centre has transitioned from an spreadsheet based monitoring system they instantly notice how easy QA Scoring software is in comparison. QA Scoring Software simplifies the quality monitoring process.
Other top benefits include;
- Everything in the one place: no messing about jumping from one place to another and having a different file/report for each employee, etc. When everything is together the information can be viewed quickly from the highest level right to the scorecard and questions.
- Transparency: attached interactions and ability to drill down to individual and scorecards to carry out root cause analysis.
- Reporting and sharing reports: graphs and trends are plotted automatically and a user has full control of filters; dates, teams, groups, employees, supervisors, event types. Reports can be set up to be shared with relevant parties automatically.
- Access Privileges: different users have different viewing capabilities, only having access to information that is relevant to them.
- Calibration capabilities: ensuring consistency in the evaluation process is necessary to validate the quality framework.
- Multi-channel functionality: quality scorecards can be built for use on any channel.
- Fully Customizable and Dynamic Scorecards: designing scorecards from scratch and adapting them as needs be without breaking the reporting history.
The two biggest weaknesses of QA Scoring Software is that it is still a manual process and the results represent only the interactions scored, which are a sample of interactions, not 100%.
Speech Analytics right now gains the most press coverage and is often cited as a contact centre must have, however as this post illustrates Speech Analytics by design ignores the need that exists for small contact centres due to cost and complexity.
The Definition of Speech Analytics
Speech Analytics is technology that analyses recorded calls to collect data, give structure to customer interactions and identify obscure information in call centre interactions. It typically includes automatic speech recognition detecting spoken words or phrases and:
- Subject(s) being discussed.
- Emotional character of the speech.
- Length and timings of speech versus non-speech (e.g. call hold time or amount of silence).
By using Speech Analytics a call centre can monitor 100% of their calls in a automated fashion. This is by far the biggest selling point and the most worthy attribute.
Here’s what they don’t tell you about Speech Analytics
Speech Analytics is a clunky piece of work. It requires months of hard work to implement. It requires buy-in from senior management to be successful. It needs someone very skilled to operate it. The technology does not recognize irony or sarcasm so can miss out on key call characteristics. There is no guarantee of ROI and those that do gain a return are to very varied extents.
NOT Every Call Centre should use Speech Analytics
Recently in an article published on ICMI we identified that speech analytics is not for every contact centre because not every contact centre has the financial resource and/or manpower required to make speech analytics a success. Speech analytics is not affordable for most small contact centres because it has a very high start-up cost and requires very skilled personnel to operate the technology. In many cases to put it simply, speech analytics fails to deliver for businesses. So it is a high risk project that requires commitment.
Quality Monitoring built into Call Recording Platforms
These are software add-on modules to call recording solutions. These are useful for scoring call recordings as it gives scorecards and reports however according to customer service managers we spoke to often the functionality is very basic or much too complex. Basic functions don't allow users to get the information they need and complex systems can escalate training costs.
The platform isn't suitable for any other channels outside of telephony and for most contact centres today a quality monitoring tool that doesn't incorporate multiple channels simply isn't good enough to build a quality framework off of.
Spreadsheets represent one of the "free" options. Although there is no charge to use this does not mean that there isn't a cost associated. The price benefit is outweighed by the time and expertise cost required to design and manage these spreadsheets and as we know; time is money.
The biggest weakness of spreadsheets is that they are unwieldy and difficult to manage. When multiple users are editing the scores it becomes messy as there will constantly be new versions. If it is a shared document online it can also pose difficult as other users can edit all information, it is easy to lose vital information or have it edited. There aren't variations for access levels meaning that everybody views the same information and if you only want an agent or a supervisor to view their own information it will need to be displayed elsewhere.
Spreadsheets are not without benefits; they are a good starting point and can be sufficient for a very small number of employees (under 10-15) but they lack functionality for transparency. They are useful for management to understand performance but not suitable for coaching and feedback as they lack the ability to drill down, they are one dimensional.
In-house Built Solutions
This is the other "unpaid" category. They are often databases like Access or else something in-house programmers design from scratch; both come with a price tag associated with build and maintenance. As they are bespoke and custom built they suit the needs of the business exactly and this is often the big draw.
However they are heavily reliant on the personnel who build the system for updates. This can be very risky in the long run, for example if the primary programmer leaves the company or if they have another project and are unavailable to fix, update and adapt the product. This also means the system may be inflexible.
In-house built quality monitoring tools could be excellent but there is also a high chance it would fail overtime and it's largely dependent on those who build the system. The other consideration is that the competing products will have been built by a team of programmers whose sole task is building a software tool for measuring quality, the learning curves for both building and understanding quality measurement needs make external software more attractive. There is no guarantee in building one internally and it could gather a lot of sunk cost before it ever begins.
So which category does Scorebuddy fit into? QA Scoring Software
Scorebuddy is QA Scoring software which is easy to use. It was purpose built as a quality assurance tool for scoring customer service interactions. It has all the basic functionality that should be expected of a QA Scoring software; fully customizable scorecards, extensive reporting capabilities and varied access privileges. Scorebuddy is great value for money as it is a pay as you use service and most of our clients enjoy a 5-10 times return on investment. Some of largest clients have reported a 20 times return! The product has improved over time with additional modules giving agents' dashboards and in depth analytics. If you're interested in finding out how Scorebuddy take a free trial see for yourself!