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A great metric to watch.

February 19 - A few years back, I was commuting every week from my home on the East Coast to Indiana, where I was working.  My parents lived in Indiana and I was crashing at their house during the work week.  It was very nice.  One day, my mom called me up at my office to say that “all her passwords were stolen and could I help?”  I told her that we would fix them when I got home to her place that evening. Sure enough, her passwords to her accounts were all compromised.  So, I called her banks, Amazon, and her other online accounts, and I was able to change her passwords, with no problem.  Except her cable provider.  It took me seven calls, three chats, and four hours before the last agent told me the right way to change my password.  I wondered, does this company know that most [...]


Tips around customer service phone etiquette. 

February 12 - According to evaluagent’s recent research, voice still reigns as the primary channel for contact centers, making up about 65% of inbound interactions. Here are some ways evaluagent recommends keeping customers happy on the phone: Always introduce yourself. A friendly way to open a conversation, formally introducing yourself is professional, polite and personable, allowing you to start a rapport almost immediately. Don’t interrupt! If a customer is spending longer than expected explaining their issue, listen patiently. Interrupting is a sure-fire way to making someone uncomfortable or worse, upset. Ask permission to put someone on hold. This takes any element of surprise away – you should also offer a rough estimate of how long they should expect to wait. This week's tip is provided by Chris Mounce of evaluagent. He can be reached at chris.mounce@evaluagent.com.   About evaluagent At evaluagent, we believe that Every Conversation Counts. For over 10 years, we’ve [...]


Is there a flip in your future?

February 5 - What format do you follow when creating training programs?  If you follow the traditional instructor-led format and you’re looking for something new and engaging, consider the flipped learning format. Flipped learning simply refers to flipping the traditional format and allow learners to be introduced to, study, and learn material outside of the classroom setting as opposed to inside the classroom setting. Once the initial learning takes place outside of the classroom, the classroom setting is used as a forum to ask questions in order to solidify your understanding and a time to collaborate on related projects and activities in order to reinforce the learning. Flipped learning has benefits such as increased flexibility for the learner and the facilitator. The flexibility to learn at your own pace can be extremely beneficial for those with different learning abilities. If you learn quickly, you have the opportunity to go back and [...]


The art of the complaint.

January 29 - Knowing there’s a problem means you’re halfway to solving it! That’s why it’s absolutely vital to analyze complaints when they happen. Pinpointing problems within your business, or contact center, means you can take corrective action to reverse the impact. Our advice? Set up an automated alert system. Make sure you never miss a complaint by setting up a flag that highlights critical issues Enlist generative AI. Generative AI can help tag trigger words and make suggestions – saving you time and giving you more coverage Pass on findings. Transparency makes for a better customer and employee experience – keep your organization in the loop so they’re able to handle known issues consistently. Watch as your insights improve and your team grows in confidence! This week's tip is provided by Chris Mounce of evaluagent. He can be reached at chris.mounce@evaluagent.com.   About evaluagent At evaluagent, we believe that Every Conversation [...]


The Proof is in the P’s.

January 22 - Training programs, barring any outside influences, will generally prove to be successful if you employ the following: Plan – Always have a plan in place that outlines the path you’ll follow from the start of the class to the end, including plans that call for collaboration with business partners. The most common tool for outlining this plan in a training program is a class agenda. Having a robust class agenda not only ensures you’re covering all required topics with your current class, but it ensures you cover the same required topics with all classes. Consistency is vital and minimizes risk in a training environment. Prepare – Once you have your agenda created, take the time to properly prepare for each topic listed in the agenda. Adequate preparation increases your comfort level allowing you to focus more on your learner while facilitating. Keep in mind, your learner’s focus will [...]


The importance of empathy. 

January 15 - Empathy is a huge part of the customer service industry – and yet, it can still be undervalued.  But getting this wrong is high risk, with as many as 28% of people abandoning companies altogether due to poor service, according to evaluagent’s latest research with ContactBabel. Train your agents to demonstrably show empathy by: Not always reading from a script. Scripts can be helpful, but knowing when to deviate from one is also a skill – provide training on what these triggers look like. Using the customer’s name. A personalized experience is usually a much better experience. Show your customer they’re not just a call in a queue by engaging with them on a personal level. Apologizing for issues and/or wait times. If a customer is unhappily contacting you, or has had to wait some time to get through, show empathy by apologizing for the inconveniences. Listening properly. [...]


Tips for engaging different learners.

January 8 - As training professionals, it is important to understand there are various ways the brain of any given learner will accept and retain information. Below are some tips to help increase your chances of engaging each learner: Design learning materials that offer information in bite sized, digestible portions. For example, when presenting information using slides, cover one point per slide or two to three points per slide when the information is less complex. Include clear, simplified visuals on your slides that offer a connection to what the learner is hearing from the facilitator. Be careful not to clutter any one slide and be careful not to include visuals that are difficult to interpret or relate to what is being heard. Doing so can potentially cause the learner to become distracted while they shift their focus to making the connection between what they are seeing versus what they are hearing. [...]


Take time to check the Reading Levels of your training materials.

January 1 - When was the last time you checked the reading grade levels of your training materials and online courses?  The training experience does not need to feel as though you enrolled in a doctoral program.  The Plain Writing Act of 2010 requires US federal agencies to use clear government communication that the public can understand and use.  (Check out https://www.plainlanguage.gov/guidelines/ for more information and guidelines). While it may not be the law for most of us, we can do the same.  Gone are the days of reaching for the thesaurus.  Today we should use language that is accessible and does not get in the way of learning.  Don’t make your training materials difficult just for difficulty’s sake.  Even if your organization requires a college degree for a specific position, it does not mean new hire training must be writing on a college reading level or higher. Not sure where to [...]


Four tips for engaging and motivating agents.

 December 25 - Agent retention is a big part of contact center performance, and that means keeping them engaged and motivated. While salary will always be a top priority for employees, a Gallup study found that employee experience was tightly intertwined with retention. Researchers found that engaged employees needed a 31% pay increase to leave their company, while disengaged employees only needed a 22% increase to jump ship. The experience you create in your work culture plays a key role in retaining agents. When agents feel valued and recognized for their efforts, they’re more likely to stay and grow with your company. Agents who become more seasoned deliver outstanding customer experience your contact center strives for. Tip #1: Identify Your Best-Performing Agents  Understand who the top and bottom performers are with the right KPIs. Identifying your best and worst agents will help you figure out how best to engage and motivate [...]


Don’t forget to update your Call Library.

December 18 - Having a call library is not a new or unique concept, but when was the last time you gave it some attention?  When was the last time you updated it or thought about how you use it?  Change is a constant in life and in a contact center, so when was the last time you went through your call library to make sure the calls represent the current environment? Calls in the library should be updated any time there is a new process, system, or technology implemented that would make the current library out-of-date.  Similarly, if your quality form has seen major change, the calls should be reviewed to make sure they represent what the new form includes. In our contact center, we implemented a One-Time Password technology to help verify callers in approximately 70% of our inbound calls.  Since it was brand new to us, our call [...]


Three tips to foster a positive work environment for hybrid or remote contact center agents. 

December 11 - A happier team of agents will stick with you longer and give your customers better service — and that’s a recipe for true contact center success. But how do you achieve it, especially in a remote or hybrid environment? Transparency, Autonomy, and Flexibility. Create A Culture Of Transparency And Open Communication Part of building a happier, more trusting environment in your contact center is through better communication. When you’re clear with your agents about goals and expectations — and how they relate to the business overall — agents feel more connected to the organization. Measure what matters most to your business. If it is speed, Average Handle Time is an appropriate metric. However, if limiting repeat interactions is critical, First Contact Resolution is a better focus. Meaningful feedback boosted engagement four times more than spending time in the office did. The most impactful feedback sessions will be one-on-one, [...]


How to make gamification work in your contact center. 

December 4 - Could gamification be the silver bullet to your agents’ motivation? Here’s how evaluagent recommends getting started: Identify what motivates your team.  Understand what drives your agents and design rewards that align with those interests for the best chance of success. Create fair and inclusive mechanics.  Ensure all agents have an equal chance to win, and that your game elements cater to different skill levels. Monitor and adjust regularly.  Regularly review the effectiveness of your gamification strategy and make necessary tweaks to keep the program engaging. Integrate with existing processes.  Seamlessly integrate gamification into your existing workflows and processes to ensure a smooth transition (we can help!). As long as you take a considered approach, you should see agent engagement soar! This week's tip is provided by Chris Mounce of evaluagent. He can be reached at chris.mounce@evaluagent.com.    About evaluagent At evaluagent, we believe that Every Conversation Counts. For over 10 years, [...]


Present an Action Plan to secure your return to the QATC Annual Conference.

November 27 - Did you attend the annual QATC Annual Conference in September and want to make sure that you can attend again next year?  Consider asking for time in an upcoming staff meeting with your stakeholders (e.g., the people who approved your expenses) to share your QATC experience.  If you really want their continued buy in, don’t just run through a bunch of bullet points of all the things you learned – instead, put it in action! Present an action plan of how you plan to incorporate your new knowledge into the QA or training program.  Sending employees to a conference is an investment for any organization, so show your stakeholders what they are getting in return!  The format can vary depending on your needs, but consider dividing up your action plan into immediate and longer term items. This week’s tip is provided by QATC Member Adam Brown of Western [...]


QA scoring tips for new evaluators. 

November 20 - We have a 3-in-1 bonus for you!  Here are three scoring tips for new evaluators: 1: Listen to/read the interaction without scoring.  By taking the time to review interactions comprehensively first, you reduce pressure and ensure fair and consistent evaluations. 2: Take it one line item at a time.  Focusing on one item at a time minimizes fatigue, confusion, and stress caused by long lists of interactions. Multitasking isn’t the goal here. 3: Collaboration is key.  Effective communication and discussion helps keep things consistent and fair. Do this through official calibration sessions, as well as sharing your knowledge more informally, too! You can get overwhelmed with quotas to hit and lots of interactions to score, but keep it focused and you’ll be well on your way to delivering meaningful evaluations. This week's tip is provided by Chris Mounce of evaluagent. He can be reached at chris.mounce@evaluagent.com.     About evaluagent At evaluagent, [...]


Tips for effective call center QA and coaching. 

November 13 - Quality assurance and coaching are crucial components of a successful call center operation. They help ensure that our agents provide excellent service and meet performance standards. Here are some tips I’d like to submit for effective call center quality assurance and coaching: Establish Clear Quality Standards:Define the specific criteria and key performance indicators (KPIs) that agents should meet, such as first call resolution, customer satisfaction, call adherence, operational requirements and compliance with company policies. Use Call Monitoring:Regularly monitor calls to evaluate agents' performance. Ensure that monitoring is consistent and unbiased. Score Calls Objectively:Be consistent and objective in your evaluations. Provide Timely Feedback:Highlight both positive and negative aspects of their performance. Constructive criticism is valuable for growth. Offer Training and Development:This could include additional product knowledge, communication skills, navigation concerns or problem-solving techniques. Share Best Practices:Encourage agents to share successful strategies and approaches with their peers. Create a culture [...]


Three strategies to boost Customer Experience and drive revenue growth.

 November 6 - As much as 9.5% of a business's revenue is at risk due to poor customer experience (CX). It is vital to prioritize customer and agent satisfaction to improve customer experience metrics like Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter Scores (NPS). However, agents' own satisfaction plays a significant role in customer delight or dismay. Disengaged agents offer worse service which results in a high-effort customer experience three times as often as with engaged agents. Pay Attention to Agent Experience A contact center that is managing continual turnover can't deliver outstanding customer service because inexperienced agents are less likely to create the experience that customers desire. Disengaged reps also make customers work harder to resolve issues. To reduce churn and boost revenue, create a contact center environment that agents want to stay in by offering remote work, flexible scheduling, communication, and development opportunities. Leverage AI in Quality Management AI can [...]


Customer Service skills training extends to internal customers, too!

October 30 - Many times in training agents in the contact center, we focus heavily on the end customer service skills, and rightfully so.  We should also not forget that our internal associations and groups are key to providing an excellent customer experience and we should utilize the same service skills to enhance the relationships and build loyalty and partnerships. Always providing good information, following up appropriately and professionally, and treating internal groups like we would want to be treated helps foster a collaborative environment and ultimately benefits not only the customer, but the company as well.  Training everyone in the organization on enhancing relationships beyond just the end customer enables us to see all sides of the equation. We sometimes take for granted that every internal group has the same drivers and needs as we do, but in fact, we have to work on the relationships to build that "one [...]


Deepening a Coaching Relationship.

October 23 - The final tip in our series on Coaching will address deepening the coaching relationship.  Once you have started on a coaching journey with someone, developing communication is a two-way street. At the beginning of your relationship, if the individual is new to their role, there may be a need for some directive conversation. As they gain confidence, it’s important to continue to build their investment in the coaching conversation and help them to self-diagnose. One way of engaging them in the conversation is to ask these questions: What do you think? What am I missing? These questions not only engage your employee, but also open the dialogue for them to diagnose the root cause of what may be blocking their progress.


Expanding a Coaching Relationship. 

October 16 - For the second tip in our Coaching series, we will focus on how to expand your coaching relationship.  After a coaching relationship is established, at some point the conversation can become stale. Take advantage of this situation by asking the coachee to coach YOU. Here are some ideas to try: Have them watch you do their job and coach you Communicate something you’re working on and ask for their observations Try out some verbiage: “What would you think if I said X?” Coaching is a two-way conversation. This approach increases your permission to coach the employee.


Establishing a Coaching Relationship.

October 9 - Coaching is a really important part of the job for all call center leaders.  The tips for the next three weeks will focus on this topic. Establishing a coaching relationship takes time and the ability to build trust.  This is something that we should work on continuously to build the relationships with agents in our organization. Some ways to build trust include: Inspiring Trust by Sharing: All of us have examples of when we said the wrong thing, or did something less well than we would have liked. Trust is an essential part of a coaching relationship. Share these instances where appropriate: “This was not my finest hour…” It conveys to your employee that you are human, and that mistakes are not fatal. Lean in to the Pause: Often an inflection point in learning occurs in a conversation at the point where the coachee is quiet or appears [...]


Fine-tune your vocabulary when giving feedback.

October 2 - We have been focusing on feedback the past few weeks.  Sometimes just a few changes in language can make a big difference when you are coaching agents. To minimize the risk of doing more harm than good when giving constructive criticism, make these vocabulary adjustments: Substitute ineffective for bad. Telling people they’ve made bad decisions or done bad things can make them feel stupid and inferior. Instead, explain why their choices may prove ineffective and what they can do to achieve a better outcome. Substitute often/seldom for always/never. Avoid using extreme terms even when dealing with chronic problems. The most persistently tardy workers occasionally arrive on time and the most reliable employees sometimes mess up. If you accuse people of always or never doing something, they may become defensive and point out exceptions to the rule. Or they may decide the situation is hopeless and stop trying to [...]


More tips for effective feedback.

September 25 - Last week’s tip focused on giving and receiving feedback.  Here are a couple of other tips to help in this process of giving “plusses” and “deltas”: Tip 1:  Use value/impact language.  If you must focus on a specific mistake, try not to use blame language.  Instead of saying, “you did this horrible thing,” focus on a part where everyone agrees on –  say, a specific behavior – and then talk about the impact of that behavior.  “When you do this, it can cause that.”  Or better yet, just focus on values.  “At our company, we try to consider the long term relationship we have with a customer.” Tip 2:  Ask questions.  If you need to give some quick feedback or are focusing on a specific incident rather than general feedback, you can still let people speak for themselves by asking questions.  Instead of saying, “you should have given [...]


SESTEK joins QATC as a Silver Corporate Partner

SESTEK, a leading conversational automation company specializing in AI-powered solutions, has joined QATC as a Silver Corporate Partner. SESTEK’s Conversational Automation technology solutions of Analytics, Automated Quality Management & Virtual Agent, have been helping brands improve customer interactions and business insights of contact center ecosystems for 23 years. Yalim Eristiren, Regional Director of North America expressed his enthusiasm of joining QATC stating; "Organizations like Quality Assurance & Training connection play a pivotal role in education, learning, knowledge sharing, & collaborating with peers on best practices. As our team expands our solutions to North America, we look forward to collaborating with QATC members, and will be kicking off such efforts with our speaking engagement at QATC’s annual conference in Nashville, TN Sept 26-28." Conversational Automation solutions transform the way businesses operate. According to Aberdeen’s “The Intelligent Contact Center” study, AI-powered call centers witnesses a 2.4X increase in annual agent productivity and a [...]


Make feedback a continuous process. 

September 18 - Nobody likes getting lectured.  Nobody likes thinking they’ve done something wrong.  By making feedback a continuous, normal process you can help your team to hear your feedback and be better equipped to take your suggestions.  You might even get some good feedback yourself! Tip 1:  Focus on growth, not on mistakes.  Speak in terms of “plusses,” or things that worked well, and “deltas,” or things that can be improved.  (Delta is the mathematical symbol for change).  Avoid talking about mistakes, negatives, things that happened poorly.  Rephrase those thoughts into ideas about what a rep can improve upon. Tip 2:  Be specific.  When giving plusses, being specific helps a person to know you are genuine, and that you are paying attention not only when they make mistakes.  When giving deltas, being specific about room for improvement makes it easier to take your feedback.  Being specific also means not giving [...]


Showing agents the cost of high AHT. 

September 11 - Realistically some of our agents like to talk more than others. Most agents understand that an interactive engagement should go from the personal to business to personal with the focus on business, but how do you handle the CSR who continuously has the highest AHT because he/she wants to make every customer a friend? The best approach is to handle this one-on-one with the agents from a purely business perspective: Most call centers have a very good idea of the cost of each call -- break it down very granularly. Each minute costs us dollars. Have the agent listen to the call with the focus on the business. Have the agent time the business part of the call and the personal side of the call. Clearly when the personal side of the call is close to equal or longer, there is a concern. Every customer wants to be [...]


You CAN maximize your Quality Management efforts with AI and Automation. 

September 4 - How do AI and Automation help Quality Management (QM)? Fifty-eight percent (58%) of contact centers plan to invest in an AI solution to monitor agent performance and automate quality scoring.* Automation is a software-directed action based on a set of predefined rules created by humans. Automation removes manual tasks that often aren’t a productive use of a human’s time. Artificial intelligence (AI) is intelligence demonstrated by machine learning. AI analyzes complex data sets and makes recommendations or takes action based on what it learns. It continually evolves to create increasingly better results. AI solutions remove the complexity of working with large data sets and reveal insights humans can then use to do their work more efficiently. Customers are more fickle than ever — making QM more important than ever. AI and automation can help Quality Analysts be more efficient in their work. Automate routine checks: AI can detect whether or [...]


Preparing year end accomplishments…Look beyond the scores. 

August 28 - The time has come to prepare for year end reporting, the perfect opportunity to share insights related to your department’s accomplishments. It’s essential to recognize that the value of quality in a contact center goes beyond just agent scores. Documenting accomplishments and showcasing the broader impact of the Quality Assurance (QA) team's efforts is crucial for presenting a comprehensive picture of the team's contribution to the organization. Here are some key points to consider as you prepare your year-end accomplishments: Holistic Performance Measurement: While agent scores are important, they are just a part of the overall customer experience. QA teams should demonstrate their ability to identify and address factors that might impact customer experience beyond agent interactions. This includes areas like product performance, website functionality, and other processes that can influence or cause friction for customers. Early Detection of Issues: QA plays a crucial role in early issue [...]


Natterbox and Playvox Join Forces to Simplify Sales & Contact Center Workforce Management

Global leaders in contact center solutions team up to deliver operational excellence, cost savings, and customer satisfaction. Natterbox, a global innovator in contact center solutions, has announced a partnership with Playvox, a leading provider of Workforce Engagement (WEM) solutions that include AI-infused workforce management (WFM) software and Quality Management (QM) software. This strategic collaboration empowers contact centers around the world to navigate the complexities of planning, forecasting, and scheduling their workforce with ease, while maintaining operational excellence, reducing costs, and delivering exceptional customer experiences. With customers increasingly demanding hyper-personalized experiences across multiple channels, contact centers face growing challenges in optimizing their workforce to meet fluctuating demand. By integrating Playvox’s cutting-edge WFM capabilities with Salesforce Service Cloud Voice, Natterbox customers can enjoy unparalleled efficiency and effectiveness in their sales and contact center operations. According to recent studies, contact centers that utilize advanced WFM technology can experience up to a 25% increase in [...]


Take time to create personal development plans for your team members.

August 21 - Oftentimes we miss opportunities to ensure our teams are growing and learning throughout the year. This can lead to boredom and burnout, even for those "B" players on your team. Take time to create personal development plans for each teammate and ensure they are owning it but with your direct support. If individuals do not have a long-term career goal/objective, identify ways to encourage learning that enables them to expand their skill set within their current role. Consider stretch project opportunities, job shadowing, on-line learning, webinars, and books in areas they have interest in. This investment can pay dividends over time with morale on your team and enable you to start to build internal bench strength. Have you registered for the QATC Annual Conference yet? Don't miss out on this exciting event designed specifically for Quality Assurance and Training professionals! Register today for the 2023 Quality Assurance & Training [...]


Uncover hidden customer insights to improve the customer experience.

August 14 - Your contact center has the power to transform customer problems into loyalty-building positive interactions. Customer data and insights are everywhere, but it can be challenging to find the best way to make sense of them and put them to good use. Focus on what data to identify and how to uncover customer insights to create stellar customer experiences. Three Key Steps: Understand the Customer Journey Use the Power of Customer Sentiment Analysis Personalize the Customer Experience Understanding the Customer Journey This means understanding what and how your customers use each of your channels to solve their issues. Keep in mind younger audiences tend to initially turn to outside resources, and tend to trust those third-party channels as much as your company-owned channels. Investigate whether or not customers are getting hung up and take steps to smooth out their journey. What kinds of questions or issues are being surfaced [...]


Don’t forget to train SMEs to teach. 

August 7 - Have you ever thought about using a group of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to expedite training? But are you worried that this may not be the best way to do this? If you answered yes to both, it’s understandable. Subject Matter Expert (SME) literally means one who is expert in a certain area. It does not mean one can teach or train that skill. Training is a unique skill set unto itself. However, in call centers promotions are often given to agents to positions such as Team Leads, Trainers, Analysts, Coaches, and Supervisors. There is one truth though -- just because an agent can take calls, that does not mean they will automatically make a good trainer or lead or analyst. But if an agent has high quality scores, good caller satisfaction, and strong first contact resolution, likely they know the job, and the subject well. This agent [...]


Design an effective reward program for good performance.

July 31 - It is important not just to recognize desirable performance, but to reward it in some way so that it will be repeated.  Designing and administering an effective reward program is critical to your call center employees’ ongoing performance improvement. Rewards fall into two categories:  1) natural reinforcers, such as thanks for customers or the internal satisfaction of solving a problem; or 2) “created” reinforcement, which is made up of social reinforcers and tangible reinforcers.  Simple words of appreciation are samples of social reinforcers, while other reinforcers are tangible items that are given to the employee as a reward for desired behavior. A tangible reward should be unique and relevant to each employee, so that is viewed as a positive consequence, rather than neutral or negative.  You will want to ask each employee what would be viewed as a positive, neutral, or negative consequence – don’t assume that just [...]


Consider adult learning theory when presenting training. 

July 24 - Do you ever wonder why some of your employees come out of a training program and just simply don’t seem to get it?  Do some of the trainees seem to assimilate all the information just fine, but others seem like they were never even in the class? The problem may not be in the intelligence levels or the classroom efforts of the trainees, but in the way the training is designed and presented.  It’s important that your training programs are designed to engage and stimulate all types of students and learning styles. An important consideration in developing call center training programs is to understand how adults learn.  The concept of adult learning theory suggests that we learn differently as adults than we did as children in school.  Some characteristics of adult learners are: Adults need to be able to integrate new ideas with what they already know. Adults [...]


Coach to develop engaged, positive and balanced employees. 

July 17 - The discussions continue about the best ways to communicate and coach in today's virtual environment.  Many times, we tend to focus our virtual coaching in the areas of agent performance, i.e., AHT, Sales, Adherence, Attendance, Accuracy.  While these are all important and needed, we must understand that there are other areas of coaching opportunities that should be included to help develop and maintain engaged, positive and balanced employees. Communicating and coaching employees on their well-being, stress concerns, career development, and contact center culture is extremely important to develop well-rounded and engaged employees.  If we don’t take opportunities to develop the relationship of coaching beyond performance areas, we run the risk of employees seeing coaching as “just another way to tell me I’m not doing something right.”  They tend to shut down over time and not contribute to the process of continuous improvement. As the Field of Dreams movie said, “Build [...]


Transform your content for online learning. 

July 10 - Employees – and leaders – working remotely still need training.  As we make the transition to online learning, we need to “transform” our content, not just “convert” it.  For example, it’s not as easy as taking your PowerPoint slides from your classroom course, putting it in an online platform, and lecturing to those slides.  Here are some tips for online learning: Create pre-work.  A certain percentage of the classroom materials can be converted to pre-work done prior to any virtual learning.  This is normally “foundational” content (i.e., overviews of a process, product information, etc…). Have learners read with a purpose in mind; for example, “Read this article and answer the following questions.” Put the impetus for learning on the learners.  Give them a problem, give them access to the knowledge and information needed, and then do a debrief and provide additional insights. Utilize built-in online collaboration tools.  For [...]


EvaluAgent Raises $20 Million to Fuel Continued Growth and Global Expansion in Contact Center Quality Assurance & Workforce Engagement

Series A Round from PeakSpan Capital Will Fund Investments in Quality Assurance & Agent Improvement Platform Capabilities to Serve Contact Centers of All Sizes Middlesbrough, United Kingdom -- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- EvaluAgent, a contact center quality assurance and performance improvement software, announced today that it raised $20 million in a Series A round from PeakSpan Capital, a Silicon Valley and New York City based investment firm focused on growth-stage B2B software companies. EvaluAgent’s feature-rich platform built by executives with decades of experience in the contact center enables organizations across the globe to evaluate every customer interaction on any channel and subsequently coach, train, and motivate agents so they can offer consistently outstanding customer experiences. The persistence of remote and hybrid work post-COVID, coupled with a paradigm shift in the perception of the strategic value of the contact center, have accelerated demand for robust quality assurance (QA) and workforce engagement management (WEM) [...]


Global SaaS Company Centrical Partners with QATC

The world’s leading employee Performance eXperience Platform recently partnered with the respected professional organization to help support call center quality assurance and training teams. New York, London, Tel Aviv, June 16,  2023 – Centrical, a global SaaS company, and the Performance eXperience Platform for frontline employees is pleased to announce its new partnership with QATC, an organization devoted to facilitating the education, sharing of ideas, and distribution of knowledge among quality assurance and training professionals in the call center. Of this new partnership, Centrical CMO April Crichlow said, “Partnering with a revered organization like QATC makes perfect sense. Over the past several years, there has been a massive shift in how call centers do business, and this is especially true for quality assurance teams. QM processes are too often transactional, static, and disconnected from the overall employee experience, which prevents organizations from truly optimizing the data they have at their disposal. By connecting quality assurance teams, [...]


Sharing Bloom’s Taxonomy with support staff and management. 

June 12 - Is your Training team ever spread thin?  Do you often rely on your support staff, management or your top Customer Service Performers to assist in training, side-by-sides, peer support, and small group sessions? We recently had small group sessions with our support staff and management to take a moment and revisit Bloom’s Taxonomy.  Bloom's taxonomy is a set of hierarchical models used for classification of educational learning objectives into levels of complexity and specificity. It is frequently used to structure curriculum learning objectives, assessments and activities.  The models were named after Benjamin Bloom, who chaired the committee of educators that devised the taxonomy. He also edited the first volume of the standard text, Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Goals.     These sessions helped us share information to assist them by: Sharing reminders and awareness of adult learning principles. Making sure we don’t just stop at the Applyingsection of Bloom’s [...]


What are the three Tests of Time?

July 3 -  I don’t know about you, but my job is rapid-fire.  Everywhere I look there is something I could do.  I can’t possibly get it all done.  Actually, I don’t feel like doing some of it.  Besides, some of these tasks or activities would require me to get more training.  I’m sure your job is similar.  How do we decide what to do or not do? Here are some ideas.  There are three tests of time:  Test of Necessity, Test of Appropriateness, and the Test of Efficiency.  And they should be applied in that order. The Test of Necessity is stopping yourself before doing a task and asking, “Is this really necessary or not?”  If you don’t do it, will your customer notice, will your competition notice, will your coworker notice, or will your job performance suffer? If not, then don’t do it.  If, however, it is necessary, then [...]


CSAT and the Quality Program. 

June 26 - Customer Satisfaction (CSAT). The holy grail of contact centers. Our operational metrics, our training curriculum, and marketing campaigns are designed to align with this ubiquitous bottom line success factor. But what makes a customer happy with your service today may no longer be reflected in what you are measuring in your quality programs. Which begs the question, should it? The question here is not should our quality programs measure customer satisfaction; certainly not. Instead, the question is should our quality programs attempt to measure the behaviors that support customer satisfaction. Absolutely, they should! So then, where does your program stand in moving the CSAT needle? Does your program begin with the end in mind? Consider your organizational goals for customer satisfaction. What do you collectively strive to achieve? Is it timely service delivery, accurate accounting, confidentiality and discretion, quality products and or a combination of these and other services [...]


Design your training programs to engage and stimulate all types of students. 

June 19 - Do you ever wonder why some of your employees come out of a training program and just simply don’t seem to get it?  Do some of the trainees seem to assimilate all the information just fine, but others seem like they were never even in the class? The problem may not be in the intelligence levels or the classroom efforts of the trainees, but in the way the training is designed and presented.  It’s important that your training programs are designed to engage and stimulate all types of students and learning styles. An important consideration in developing call center training programs is to understand how adults learn.  The concept of adult learning theory suggests that we learn differently as adults than we did as children in school.  Some characteristics of adult learners are: Adults need to be able to integrate new ideas with what they already know. Adults [...]


Sharing Bloom’s Taxonomy with support staff and management. 

June 12 - Is your Training team ever spread thin?  Do you often rely on your support staff, management or your top Customer Service Performers to assist in training, side-by-sides, peer support, and small group sessions? We recently had small group sessions with our support staff and management to take a moment and revisit Bloom’s Taxonomy.  Bloom's taxonomy is a set of hierarchical models used for classification of educational learning objectives into levels of complexity and specificity. It is frequently used to structure curriculum learning objectives, assessments and activities.  The models were named after Benjamin Bloom, who chaired the committee of educators that devised the taxonomy. He also edited the first volume of the standard text, Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Goals.     These sessions helped us share information to assist them by: Sharing reminders and awareness of adult learning principles. Making sure we don’t just stop at the Applying section of [...]


Tips for creating reports and dashboards. 

June 5 - Do you want to know how to create reports and dashboards that really make an impact? Reporting is super important, no doubt about it. If you're not delivering accurate, timely, and effective reports, all the hard work you put into figuring out key metrics, KPIs, and evaluation forms become futile. But here's the thing, if no one actually sees your reports, how can you prove the value of all that quality monitoring? So, here's what you got to do: Step 1: Identify the intended recipients of the reports. Back in the day, only top-level management got their hands on those quality assurance reports. It was mainly because those reports were like a foreign language to anyone other than the most experienced folks in the contact center. But times have changed, friends. We now have specialized team members handling quality auditing, coaching, and operational management and data analytics. So, [...]


Train all staff on the meaning of metrics.

May 29 - We are always “managing by the numbers” in a contact center, and there are dozens of metrics associated with front-line performance.  Agents may get feedback on their average handle time (AHT), after-call work (ACW) percentages, average speed of answer (ASA), quality scores, and adherence numbers, just to name a few.  But do they know what these numbers (and acronyms) really mean? It is a good practice to have definitions of all the terms used in performance management explained to agents in the new hire training but also available to them in your knowledge management tool or company intranet.  Make sure the agents know the terms, what the numbers mean, how they are measured, and the relevance of each number to the bigger team picture and the performance of the center as whole.  Note that QATC has a glossary of contact center terms in our members-only Library that can [...]


Debrief with new hires at the end of the day. 

May 22 - We recently had a group of New Hires that transitioned from the training classroom to taking calls.  We found taking 30 minutes at the end of each day during the first week in their new role as a debrief assists in supporting & weaning them from the classroom to taking calls 100% of the time. This practice along with individual Quality sessions weekly was very helpful to the group as they transitioned from training. The Wins: The group gets to touch base and see each other again on the cameras. We can cover any class trends we see on the calls reviewed. It builds strong call flow and service behaviors from the start. We can touch base to see how they are feeling, especially while we are working remotely from home. We can answer any questions they may have. This tip provided by QATC Board Member Michelle Chevalier [...]


Focus on Agent Retention in tight times. But what really drives agent engagement?

May 8 - The strongest driver of engagement isn’t poor fit or complex work. By far the biggest predictor, according to a Gartner study, was a lack of clarity in the agent’s role and goals — agents were 90% more likely to disengage if they didn’t understand what they were supposed to prioritize and work toward. Here are a few areas the contact center managers and leaders can build engaged, high-performing teams. Training makes agents feel more competent and everyone likes to feel good at what they do. Employees of all generations have shown themselves to be adept at learning online. To further engagement, ensure you’re offering agents personalized training during initial onboarding and ongoing development. Coaching empowers agents to know what they can do to improve and how to achieve it. For young adults just entering the workforce, upskilling is an important factor when evaluating a job. Agent engagement and [...]


Keeping a positive coaching relationship with remote agents.

May 1 - Since the pandemic and the rush for many to move associates out to remote working, we were forced to re-look at how we manage and coach employees in the new “norm.”  Now that some time has gone by, we want to refresh ourselves with some “best practices” for coaching in the remote environment.  Here are some points to remember: Value the person first Manage your own state of mind – Be Constructive Listen to understand & Involve them in the solution Have consistent check-ins Align the goals – both employee and organizational Use Webcams & Share Screens Remember their career development Give affirmations and compliments Avoid multi-tasking Use a Coaching Guide to Plan Also, by focusing on behaviors, both positive and not-so-positive, you can develop a clear plan/path to sustaining improvement and truly developing the individual. Note:  This week’s tip is provided by QATC Board Member Todd Gladden [...]


Helping current employees stay connected with new staff. 

April 24 -   We are always looking for ways that our 100% remote staff can stay connected and get to know our new employees. We have added what we call “This is Me” lessons to the training program. Each new employee is asked to create a lesson in our LMS to share information about themselves – where they’re from, hobbies, favorites, family, community activities, etc. They include images or videos to make them fun. They know they only have to share what they’re comfortable sharing. It’s a great way for everyone to get to know each other and find connections. The lessons are stored in the LMS and anyone can go read someone else’s lesson at any time. Note:  This week’s tip is provided by QATC Board Member Debbie Short.  She may be reached at shortfamily@comcast.net.    


Stay amazing…

April 17 - Salutations are so common we often forget they are there. Words like sincerely, or thank you, or yours truly. We just have these messages at the closing of communication. Then in the age of social media and text we have one-liners that we use as taglines that became the salutations. Somewhere along the way, I started saying, “Stay Amazing.” I’m not sure when, or exactly what specifically prompted it, but it became my closing line on a lot of posts, texts, or just on conversations, notes, or e-mails. When someone once asked me why I used it, my reply was as encouragement, because people often don’t think they are, or recognize the fact that they accomplished as much as they have, or are as important as they are. This applies to Quality and Training Professionals. They are amazing. They need to stay that way. What makes them amazing? Think about how they [...]


Playvox Announces Strategic Partnership with NeuraFlash

Contact center leaders to provide best-in-class AI and cloud-based workforce engagement solutions  SUNNYVALE, Calif., March 17, 2023—Playvox, the leading provider of Workforce Engagement Management (WEM) solutions for digital-first contact and support centers, today announced a strategic partnership with NeuraFlash, a leading AI and Consulting/ ISV Partner of Salesforce and AWS. Together, the companies will offer best-in-class integrated solutions leveraging AI and automation to transform customers’ cloud-based contact center workforce engagement experiences. “Our customers are increasingly demanding workforce engagement to better manage their contact centers,” said Brett Chisholm, CEO of NeuraFlash. “It was clear early on that Playvox was the best partner for transforming our customers’ contact center experience. The company’s proven track record, deep industry expertise and workforce engagement, along with the tight integration to Salesforce solutions, combined with the power of AI, will be instrumental in achieving better business outcomes.” “Following the Playvox partnership announcement with Salesforce in January, we [...]


Overlooked KPIs that influence customer retention. 

April 10 - Most contact centers are tracking tried-and-true KPIs, many of which are based on voice interactions and not the array of digital channels customers flock to today. Using enhanced KPIs to analyze your customer sentiment will reveal more actionable insights than the traditional Customer Satisfaction rating or Net Promoter Score. You’ll gain greater visibility into why customers are contacting you so you can resolve issues faster — wherever the problem lies. By fixing problems or avoiding them altogether, you’ll be able to increase customer retention. Customer Complaint Volumes - Measure the volume of customer complaints, but take it a step further by segmenting them to find a suitable resolution. Use tags to identify complaints and their causes, uncovering the true voice of your customers. Largest Interaction Drivers - This KPI tracks why people are reaching out to your business and is aided by tagging as well. It can easily [...]


Recognize good performance on a timely, consistent basis.

April 1 - One-on-one feedback is critical to reinforce desirable behaviors being demonstrated by your staff.  Employees need to know what to repeat and what not to do again and recognized behavior is repeated behavior.  Try to catch them doing something right and recognize it as soon as possible since the more time that passes between the behavior and the recognition, the less effective the feedback. If you’re waiting on perfect performance to recognize, you may be waiting a long time. Sometimes we need to recognize initiative as well as the final end result.  Recognizing improvements along the way will help reinforce behaviors that you want to see repeated and the employee will make continual progress toward the ultimate goal. Use different means to recognize. Always do one-on-one, but in addition provide the recognition in writing sometimes.  And while one-on-one is nice to build the relationship between agent and supervisory, it’s [...]


A healthy business is always looking at what’s on the road ahead. 

March 27 - So you are offering your customers digital channels like chat, email, SMS, and social media, now what? Offering these channels also means your processes need a digital makeover behind the scenes. Spreadsheets and manual processes can’t handle the complexities of staffing digital channels. Issues like scheduling for concurrent volumes and forecasting to provide the experience customers expect in each channel are just too much for old-fashioned methods. So, where can you start? Focus on these key areas to initiate your digital transformation for your key processes: Scheduling, forecasting, and capacity planning are prime targets for digital transformation. Get agents in the right channels. Stay on budget with accurate staffing by considering concurrency, multi-channel interactions, and service level management. Reduce manager time spent on manual efforts related to reporting, capacity planning, scheduling, forecasting, and QM research and follow-up. Modernize Training and Coaching considering whether your team is remote, hybrid, [...]


Make sure training evaluations reflect the content of the training.

March 20 - Do you judge your trainers’ performance on how the learners evaluate the training? If so, do you have them fill out one evaluation at the end of the entire training period or one after each module of training? If you go with one after each module, be sure that the evaluation reflects the learning intended with each module. We used one generic form for all modules and found that after a while, the learners didn’t even read the statements. They just went down the list and circled all 5s or all 3s (even though some should have been N/As) without truly giving a lot of thought to their answers. The repetition kept them from giving the quality of the training careful thought. I found the most helpful part of the evaluation was the comment section BUT more often than not, all we got were the quick and easy [...]

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