Nigel Olding – Product Director – Enghouse Interactive
Traditionally, most service-based businesses have focused on collecting quantitative customer contact metrics. They have built their approach around measuring statistics related to call handling from call volumes to call answer time; average call handle time; abandonment rates and queue time, for example. These measurements are widely accepted across the industry and typically the business will have invested significant sums in enabling their production. Once captured, organisations often report these figures religiously and they invariably become the major indicator to business performance.
However, there are clearly some significant limitations with this approach to quality management. After all, it often only reflects the performance of the automated call distribution (ACD) technology deployed and processes built round it rather than the actual quality of the service delivered. In worst case scenarios, the approach can even lead to agents ‘adapting’ their approach to call handling by rejecting calls or manipulating the ACD log on, for example, rather than handling the call to the caller’s benefit. This leads to management ‘by and for’ the numbers rather than a focus on the key business driver of delivering enhanced customer satisfaction.
That’s where quality management solutions (QMS), typically defined as suites that combine a variety of tools to measure and monitor the delivery of customer services, come in. QMS, which is widely used for customer interaction across all vertical sectors, provides an additional tier of information that can complement traditional ACD data by providing both real-time and historical qualitative measures of the service delivery. QMS tools can assist in measuring both efficiency and effectiveness of the organisation by providing insight into the customer interaction through multiple channels.
Although most commonly found in call centre arenas, these tools can be used across many business areas that need to understand the quality of the service delivered, from help desks, desk based sales teams to individual operators and call attendants.
In the past, these groups have simply recorded interactions and used the recordings to review performance both in real-time and historically. QMS provides extra value by delivering tools that add meaning and consistency to these reviews. It enables definition of performance criteria and allows consistent measurement against these criteria that can then be specifically tailored to each business process.
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