In the final part of our series on customer service, we will bring everything together by looking at the process. Process – how you do things – is critical. You can have the right tools and the right people, but without a clear and consistent process to manage things, you will not be able to deliver great customer service.
A great process will allow a customer service team to guarantee consistency in performance both between team members and over time. Key areas of the process are as follows:
1. Training and learning
It is vital that all team members in an outsourced customer service team are given consistent and complete training prior to handling your customers. Sending people out underprepared is setting yourself up for unhappy customers. Beyond initial training, a mechanism to roll out ongoing learning and development is also necessary.
Often there will be agents on a team who favor working in a single channel (say phone) and may need assistance in improving their confidence to handle customers who favor email or chat.
Calibration is the process by which you ensure you are able to objectively analyze and compare the performance of your team. It will allow for common standards to be used across agents and support channels.
Typically it requires the team leadership to sit down with the team and the quality analyst and review a sample of calls or tickets/interactions from the prior day or week and discuss. It can be a great way to identify knowledge gaps and skills gaps and should provide the subject matter for ongoing coach and training.
3. Quality review
Having an objective quality assessment done based on random sampling of calls and tickets is very important. Highly skilled quality analysts are a core part of every great customer service team. They provide the agent level data to identify opportunities for improvement. They need to be carried out meticulously and consistently over time to build a picture of agent and team quality performance and adherence to client best practices.
4. Feedback sessions
All feedback from quality reviews and calibrations sessions, as well as a team leader’s observations of participation, alongside reviews of attendance adherence, comes together in regular feedback sessions with agents. This one session give the agent a chance to hear specific feedback, and to challenge anything where they may disagree with assessments of their performance and decision making.
5. Reporting and analysis
All teams must be driven by adherence to Key Performance Indicator (KPI) targets, both collectively and individually. The data can help drive continuous improvement efforts in agent performance, identify where technology changes are helping or hindering resolution efforts and customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores as well as identifying variance in volumes which may require changes to resourcing levels or alterations to when agents work.