When a customer service agent has an outstanding interaction with a customer, something powerful happens. Sparks begin to fly. Those sparks deepen the customer’s connection with the brand, and they improve the agent’s brand pride and morale.
Unfortunately, those sparks are fleeting. They vanish shortly after the call, chat or email exchange ends. This helps explain why most contact centers struggle to retain agents, keep them engaged, and consistently satisfy customers.
Is there a way to capture those sparks generated, and to use them to continually improve customer service agents’ performance? There is, indeed.
And it’s a far cry from the traditional quality assurance (QA) approach to call center management.
The Downside to Quality Assurance
In many industries, traditional QA programs still rule. A contact center manager will review a small percentage of interactions and share his/her analysis with the team on a weekly basis. Customer compliments are often shared days after they’re received, if at all.
There are two problems with this approach.
- Small samples can easily skew the overall picture. Did these interactions happen to be outstanding, when most that occurred that day were not? Or were these sample interactions uncharacteristically poor?
- Even if it’s overwhelmingly positive, customer feedback that isn’t relayed in a timely way does little to improve agents’ morale and performance. When managers forget to share accolades, excellence goes unrecognized.
In this kind of environment, there’s little incentive for agents to stick around and do their jobs well—much less to aim higher and improve over time.
In fact, churn is a huge, costly problem for brands and their contact center managers. Training of new hires, declining performance by disaffected agents, and reduced satisfaction and sales take a big bite out of profits.
What will it take for brands to instill brand enthusiasm and pride in their agents and turn their contact centers into powerful, profitable brand channels?
The answer is simple. Keep those sparks lit beyond a single call or chat, so front-line teams love the work they do, do it exceptionally well, and understand the difference they’re making.
The Case for Direct, Immediate Customer Feedback
You can turn positive feedback into a morale- and performance-boosting tool. All you need is the right technology—a platform that invites customers to comment after every call center interaction and delivers feedback directly to agents without delay.
This feedback loop will create a “virtuous cycle” of service performance improvement. Front-line team members will recognize their mistakes, learn from them, and make every effort to avoid them in the future. They’ll feed off positive comments. And they’ll challenge themselves to perform better each time, resulting in even more positive feedback.
When we first introduced our Stella Connect product to UncommonGoods in October 2015, the brand’s QA team was doing what most QA teams do: conducting weekly feedback review sessions with call center agents. But customer compliments were only shared if they came to mind, and sampled calls didn’t necessarily reflect the team’s overall performance.
Fast forward to today and UncommonGoods’ contact center agents hear directly and instantly from customers, and they relish knowing how the last call went. Training has improved. Friendly feedback-based competitions generate enthusiasm and excitement. Attrition is at an all-time low.
This is the “virtuous cycle” that changes the way contact centers operate and produces more and more outstanding interactions. Once you establish a “virtuous cycle” of your own, your brand’s customer service goals will soon be within your reach.