Quality Enabled Business Transformation
Here Pete Dunn, our EMEA Community Engagement Manager, shares his thoughts on why Quality Management matters more than ever, how to maximise outcomes and how to move your employees and business from a survive to a thrive mindset as we continue on through 2020.
At BPA Quality, we believe that a Quality Assurance function is the engine room of a contact centre. An engine room that can supply robust, coaching-ready feedback, actionable insight and service improvement opportunities to an organisation that enables it to change effectively and sustainably.
A well-designed and delivered QM programme ensures that the QA effort is aligned to and enhances key strategic goals, is well understood by its stakeholders and as a result is well regarded as a value-add business function.
A well-designed and delivered QM programme is something that can deliver profoundly positive outcomes across your organisation; driving change and transformation initiatives that have the potential to:
- reduce cost to serve
- increase retention of customers and staff
- increase customer spend
- improve compliance
- reduce complaints
- support continued professional development
- support the delivery and sustained improvement of customer experience outcomes
We’re in a situation that has irrevocably changed how the contact centre industry functions, at a global level. We’re witnessing an epoch-defining moment where so much of what we’ve taken for granted has been irrevocably changed by an external force.
This is evidenced by the work of those who have delivered change at pace to enable our contact centres to work from home, something that previously really wasn’t discussed much, or had enough barriers in place that disruptor companies found a market providing specialist home workers to meet our demands and those of our customers.
It is the time to experiment with how you support your business, your colleagues and most importantly, your customer.
It is the time to be agile, responsive and re-focus your assurance efforts on different lines of business, to accept different risks and explore new ways of interacting with your customers, and then work out how to assure and improve that activity.
It is an opportunity to explore areas such as how you coach effectively through remote communication methods, how operational leaders can engage and support their staff, both personally and professionally.
It is a time to establish what your new ways of working will be, to re-plan your business strategy and the underpinning tasks and outcomes and test them. I believe the following 4 points are just some of the key requirements to successfully deliver Quality Enabled Business Transformation.
Empowering the individuals who are the face and voice of our business has never been more critical to the service sector.
As we continue to ask our Agents and Team Leaders to fix customer problems that are becoming ever more rooted in emotion and increasingly complex and time-sensitive, accelerating their capability and professionalism is absolutely essential to successfully transforming our Contact Centres.
We’re pushing our front line staff to go above and beyond as a matter of course; and we’re doing it without equipping them with the knowledge and skills of how to tune in to customer wants and needs, how to differentiate between the two, and the understanding of how to balance their response to be best for the customer and the business they represent.
We need to move beyond asking our Agents to ‘build rapport’ and scoring them against a list of desired soft skills. Instead, we have to look to develop and evaluate their Emotional Intelligence (EI) in a way that ensures they build true empathy and self-awareness, that they possess listening and questioning skills that surface the customer’s needs, and that they can truly understand the interaction from the customer’s perspective.
Emotionally Intelligent staff need to be engaged staff. As we increase the EI of employees, expect that we will have to deliver a more considered and complex programme that delivers the right environments, support and incentivisation that enables your staff to try to give their best in each and every interaction, day in and day out. Because that’s what you expect them to give to your customers.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to engagement, but common drivers will include:
- Clear communication strategies, based on trust and integrity
- Flexibility of shift times, locations and interaction support
- Recognition and reward programmes that highlight the exceptional
- A clear sense of business strategy and the key objectives that will deliver
- Effective, sustained coaching programmes and development opportunities
- Monitoring mental and physical well-being to support professional and personal issues
- Strong equality and diversity principles, that drive inclusive and enabling practices
All these things and more contribute to positive measurable outcomes. Employees are far more likely to embrace change and evidence desired behaviours; they will challenge if they believe there is a better way. Our employees will be more efficient, more supportive and more collaborative in their approach to delivering success for our businesses.
Fundamentally, engaged and empowered employees are also far more likely to have a clear sense of purpose about how they deliver the desired customer experience outcomes in ways that make sense to them, and to our customers.
At BPA Quality, we call this focus on people ‘The Human Element’, and it’s a key theme in how we’ve developed and succeeded over the last 30+ years of delivering professional services to our global partners.
Take the opportunity to reflect and change
This is the time to review all those repetitive things you do as team, that get done just because you’ve always done them.
What repetitive meetings could have been emails, what emails that got sent to make a task someone else’s problem could have been a conversation, what endless reports that say the same thing can you get rid of because no-one actually reads them?
Conversely, what’s good about how you work with your colleagues, how do you get more of that happening? How do you identify the best possible cadences and activities, and how to deliver them as a functional and sustainable activity?
Essentially, taking the time to complete a stop, start, continue type exercise as an individual and as a team is a great way of planning for what comes next. Build new working practices and habits that help you to learn collaboratively and be ready for what comes next.
An important consideration here is the speed at which your colleagues are moving through their own change curve. There is always a need to be mindful of the pressures that exist outside of work, and because so many of us are now working from home, those pressures and any work pressures are now co-located.
Reflection isn’t always about being better at our job; one of the most critical parts is how we can be kind to ourselves and each other, and how we can build habits that deliver sustainable performance, not stressful burnout.
Focus on the Customer
Customer-centricity is still overlooked in many Contact Centres in favour of focus on product or sales. Within the wider organisation, focus on customer outcomes is often overlooked by functions that can have huge impacts on the ability of the business to deliver its customers requirements.
With emotions running high as they are, it’s all too easy to come under fire for mistakes and missteps. We’ve seen politicians, banks, insurance companies, airlines and even premiership footballers being skewered by the press and vilified in social media campaigns.
We find ourselves in a time of unprecedented societal shift where sales, marketing and product development are taking a back seat to reducing effort, delivering customer expectations and ensuring we minimise brand damage.
This is a time where we can design a scalable response that starts with how to deliver the best possible customer experience, a response that defines a value-driven strategy that focuses on low effort and high engagement interactions, ease of use, digital deflection as a choice, reduces cost-to-serve and increases support for your front-line staff.
Involve functions such as IT and R&D who have shown tremendous capacity to deliver digital transformation, at pace, to build new products and realign production to global need.
Utilise the anecdotal insight your QA function provides alongside the big-data analysis, and your operations teams so everyone has a direct understanding of what is required to deliver a strategy that differentiates you from your competitors.
The team at BPA Quality has the experience, expertise and knowledge on how to deliver Customer Experience outcomes through effective and sustainable change programmes. Contact us to find out how we can help you.