Customer experience is often simply viewed as a cost center – a necessary evil. In fact, the majority of companies outsource it to the lowest bidder with clear directives to keep the costs as low as possible. After all, it’s not like customer experience generates profits, right? Wrong! These so called cost centers are vital team players and contribute greatly to the overall success of a business. Without a call center, regardless of how the ‘profit centers’ are fairing, your business is bound to go under. Yes, call centers are that important. Alternatively, you could assess the crucial nature of contact centers from this point of view; that it contributes to your overall business strategy. For one, these centers communicate and interact with your customers on a daily basis. These are the points where your customers leave feeling valued or not. Simply put, call centers are the public face of your business. In addition, when you consider a contact center as merely a cost center, the results are often disheartening, involving rushed conversations and unresolved issues that lead to negative customer experience. Keeping in mind that we are living in an age where a single disgruntled Twitter post from a customer can reach millions of potential customers, you start to understand just how important customer contact centers are to customer experience and your business’ revenue. So who’s in charge of creating the best experience for your customers? Everyone in your organization is. And you need to get everyone on the same page regarding quality customer service if you want to thrive in today’s cut-throat markets. To achieve this, it is important to create a culture within your business that puts the customer at the center. Follow in the footsteps of companies like Zappos and Ritz-Carlton that are renown the world over for their hyper focus on their customers, and you’ll be well on your way to satisfying your customers’ needs while improving your baseline. One other question though, how do you go about this? Quality monitoring is the integration of call recording and quality assurance for purposes of improving call center efficiency and customer experience. Integrating this practice into your contact center’s system allows you to determine which agents are missing key components of customer interactions, which agents are performing impressively, and who needs further training. To start off, quality monitoring begins with establishing goals after a plan is created to achieve them. Although these goals will be set by your executive team, it is most essential to involve your call center agents as clear communication plays a vital role in facilitating better services. The next question is how do you achieve customer satisfaction and call center efficiency with quality monitoring? Thoroughly discussed below are 3 main components that you are likely to deal with when engaging with quality monitoring. 1. Call Recording/Monitoring While some call centers still rely on onsite personnel to monitor calls from customers, hiring third party quality assurance providers is fast becoming a popular technique. Not only does a QA solution provider listen to agent-customer interactions without bias, but he/she also uses skill and experience to pick calls which present typical encounters between customers and call center agents for review. However, before you employ the services of a quality assurance provider for your call center, it is important to inform your agents rather than springing a surprise on them. Let your agents know what the QA program is for, its benefits, and the challenges that they should expect. In addition, it is crucial to provide an open channel of communication for your agents, let them know that their feedback is also valued; that the program is not there just to catch them making mistakes. After all at the end of the day, it is your agents that deal directly with your customers. 2. Third Party QA What if, instead of spending sleepless nights wondering whether the quality of your call center is at par level, you could have someone else measure it for you and deliver an accurate report? This is exactly what call center QA providers do. They provide grades with which to rank your quality monitoring process. Professional QA firms like Call Criteria will provide skilled human analysts to listen to calls coming through your center with the main aim of providing accurate and precise analysis of the quality of service being provided by your business. Call Criteria will also measure Key Performance Indicators, that is, how quickly a customer can reach your call center agents, how quickly their issue is resolved, and how long they will have to wait on hold during their call. Some third party quality assurance firms will also employ the use of speech analytics software, which once installed in your system, detects the emotions of customers calling thus making it easier for your call center agents to handle them appropriately. 3. Third Party QA Scorecards Do your agents know the difference between a good call and a bad call? If not, QA scorecards are a good place to start. The scorecard measures your agents’ behaviors and performance in relation to key performance indicators. These scorecards provide raw data that show exactly what each agent is doing wrong and what his/her strong points are. They also highlight areas in your call center’s practice that needs improvement. For instance, scorecards may pinpoint areas where changes are needed in the procedures being followed or the scripts provided by the sales team. If effectively used, scorecards can be a valuable addition to your reference tools that gauge whether your center is fairing well or is in fact on its deathbed. Although keeping customer service costs low while keeping customer satisfaction high can be especially difficult in these hard financial times, putting more focus on improving the quality of your customer interactions is guaranteed to provide huge payoffs. With the use of quality monitoring, not only do your agents get to understand how to improve their interactions with consumers, but your business also gains important insight into customer behaviors that drive sales and increase revenues.