In our daily work with various service providers and customers, we notice again and again that the communication or coordination among the individual departments and areas (here: training, quality management, coaching, quality measurement, …) is often limited and sometimes even non-existent. Although these areas are often organizationally very close to each other and usually pursue a common goal – namely to give employees the best possible support for their daily work.
It is true, for example, that there is usually a coach who pays attention to processing times, e-mail and telephone queues, or sales quotas. Or on the quality indicators that the company has defined for itself, such as FCR, CSAT, transfer rate or the results of call and e-mail monitoring. However, this coach does not always – and often far too infrequently – communicate the results of his work regularly with other related departments such as Training or QM to derive joint measures from the results.
This leads either to cost-intensive duplications of measurements or – even worse – to uncoordinated measures at all – and thus potentially to the annoyance of customers because employee A has said or done something different than employee B, but this is not noticed.
Therefore, today I would like to show a practical example: The collaboration between Training, Quality, and the Coaches and how these departments can be brought together. It is mainly about communication. About mutual information and joint coordination.
Integrate quality already in training
When your employees are in (initial) training, they receive a lot of information about products, systems, and soft skills. Include important facts and knowledge about quality already there. Discuss already in the training the different quality metrics you have set as a client, or received as a contractor, and explain them to the employees. Only those who know their goals can strive to achieve them.
An example: „When talking to the customer, pay attention to your speaking rate and listen carefully. Then the customer feels comfortable and satisfaction increases, which is reflected in your CSAT score.“
Also, already in training, discuss the monitoring sheets and what criteria are emphasized. This does not have to be done by your trainer himself, he can also get support from the quality department or from the staff member in charge of monitoring.
Consolidation and testing of the knowledge level through monitoring already in the nesting phase
Your employees have completed the training and are now in the supervised telephony phase (the „nesting phase“). Depending on the scope of the project, the nesting phase usually lasts one or two weeks before your employees start working independently in the day-to-day business.
Of course, it is not possible to look over the shoulder of every employee all the time, identify errors and fix them directly. Therefore, randomly take 3 to 5 calls per employee (e.g. per day) and evaluate them. Afterwards, discuss the results with the employee and possibly contact the training department if you find that the results were due to a lack of knowledge.
You can’t start correcting mistakes soon enough. The longer they creep in, the harder they are to stop. Starting the monitoring and feedback process already in nesting saves effort in the long run and increases quality.
Calibrations of managers
Managers are your foundation in dealing with employees on a daily basis. Therefore, it is important that everyone has the same understanding of quality expectations, measurement, measures and current status.
Have your quality department have leaders calibrate with each other once a month or quarter, depending on the scope of the project This includes the same recorded calls for everyone and a time period by when the evaluated monitoring’s should be sent. The quality department can now compare the individual monitoring results of the managers with its own results and determine where there are deviations.
Subsequently, the deviations are discussed in another meeting and the uniform understanding of the managers is consolidated.
Often, structured calibrations take place only at the beginning of a project, or when significant changes are introduced. A permanent, regular calibration process (and this does not mean a „quality meeting“ or „KPI call“ in which only results are discussed) sustainably improves the common understanding of all those involved, and thus ensures better results in the long term.
Keep at it and create transparency
The quality review phase should not end after the above points. Each coach should conduct at least one monitoring per employee per month to stay in „practice“ even if there would be low volume times. In doing so, you should focus more on the recorded conversations rather than sitting directly at the employee’s side. This is because you only get an unfiltered picture of the employee’s level of knowledge and daily work through recordings. Side-by-side, by its very nature, distorts an employee’s behavior. Even more important is that you also talk to the employee after the evaluation and explain to him what he may have done wrong, but also what he did right (!).
Quality and sustainability are not a one-time thing. They require ongoing care and support. Your employees are the first line of contact with customers and represent your company. Of course, AHT or Sales-Quotes are decisive factors in day-to-day business – but don’t see individual KPI areas as silos, but as parts of a larger whole, a symbiosis.
The examples and approaches mentioned can, of course, be individually adapted and implemented differently, but the important thing is always: promote communication between specialist departments, ensure that there are not only common goals but also jointly supported and coordinated measures, and always find a common denominator.
Martin Weininger – Junior Consultant