The Role of Benchmarking

When 15-year-old Cori “Coco” Gauff beat Venus Williams in the 2019 Wimbledon, she didn’t just become the youngest player to win in 28 years. She also beat a tennis star she had idolized her whole life.

Stacking Up: How Does Your Call Center Quality Program Compare to the Competition? 

“I never thought this would happen,” she said in an interview with USA Today following her win. “I’m literally living my dream right now.”

For Gauff and many other athletes trying to compete at the highest level, an understanding of how they compare to the most advanced players in the sport gives them a new level to reach for and insight into how they need to improve.

“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for [Williams],” she added.

Just as Gauff improved her tennis skills by grading her performance against Williams, quality managers who benchmark their programs against industry competitors will be better able to:

  • Identify best practices used by companies in the same industry
  • Determine how they can improve
  • See industry-wide trends that might otherwise go missed
  • Provide greater value in the contact center

Benchmarking drives conversations around critical quality management activities like business impact and procedures and empowers informed discussions about quality management strategy. It provides a baseline for an organization’s maturity, insight into the challenges it will need to navigate to achieve its goals and helps identify the best practices that other organizations use to reach similar outcomes.

To get started benchmarking your quality management program, you’ll need to source data on how other quality programs currently operate, then evaluate how your organization is performing relative to other companies and identify where you want to go. To that end, we’re launching a blog series to examine the current state of quality management in the contact center. In each blog, we’ll examine the most recent ICMI quality benchmark report. The report surveyed executive and senior management, specialist or midlevel management and supervisors at contact centers across industries and sizes.

In this blog — our first in the series — we dive into the impact of quality management in the contact center and examine one of the toughest challenges that quality managers face today: the abundance of manual work.

The Impact of Quality Management in the Contact Center

Across the board, leaders view quality processes as disconnected. Many contact centers use different tools or evaluation procedures for different channels. They often lack a formal coaching program or secure agent feedback through random selection only. Likewise, coaching, agent feedback, results sharing and other activities aren’t connected in a meaningful way. Contact center leaders’ perception of the power of quality management has suffered as a result. According to ICMI:

  • Just 10% of contact center leaders said that business processes have been changed, altered or discontinued based on quality results.
  • Only 9% of contact center leaders said agents feel like the quality program can help them be successful.
  • Just 7% of contact center leaders said quality results are used when considering business changes.

Organizations that take a holistic, connected approach find high levels of success by linking quality processes together, applying them broadly across all channels and tying them to executive goals. The ICMI report found that the most successful contact centers among them share common characteristics:

  • They evaluate channels at a higher rate.
  • They invest in speech and text analytics and plan to invest in predictive analytics.
  • Their coaching programs provide both positive reinforcement and improvement opportunities.
  • They include agents in the quality process and focus reviews on successful behaviors.

By investing in these areas, quality managers create a cohesive program that puts information in the hands of leaders and agents alike. This changes leadership’s perception of quality’s value and opens up new avenues for quality management to play a more strategic role in the organization.

Manual Processes Continue to Pose a Challenge

While quality programs face a number of challenges, the most prevalent will likely come as no surprise to quality managers: 42% of contact center leaders say highly manual processes plague their organizations. These are activities that are “more expensive, less efficient, more error-prone and less effective,” according to the report. They include:

  • Distributing interactions for evaluation
  • Manually evaluating calls
  • Scheduling and delivering coaching
  • Scoring
  • Calibrating
  • Reporting

These activities are considered manual tasks because they consume large amounts of employees’ time and are typically repetitive. Most contact centers have started using analytics to eliminate the time and human error associated with them. According to ICMI:

  • Only 29% of contact centers were using desktop analytics in 2017. In 2019, 61% are using, updating or replacing, or adding desktop analytics.
  • In 2017, just 23% were using speech analytics. In 2019, 61% are using, updating or replacing or adding speech analytics.
  • Few organizations were investing in text analytics in 2017. Today, 51% are currently using, updating or replacing or adding text analytics.

Quality is evolving, both in how it’s executed and in how it empowers contact centers to achieve their goals. It has created an opportunity for quality managers to cultivate high-impact programs through investments in analytics and a shift to a holistic approach. To learn more about the state of quality management in today’s contact centers and modern solutions to the challenges quality managers face, download the ICMI report, “The Impact and Influence of Analytics and Quality Management on Contact Center Performance,” or stay tuned for our next blogs in this series.

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