Quality management (QM)/liability recording suites (also known as performance management suites) are expanding beyond their original mission of capturing customer calls/screens and providing software that allows contact centers to evaluate how well agents adhere to internal policies and procedures. The newer suites deliver functionality that enables companies to extend the value of these applications to other parts of the enterprise, such as the back office, and to customers, as well.
Current releases from most vendors in the market include new functionality that increases the payback and benefits from these applications. (See Figure One.)
Figure One: QM/Recording Suites
As people-intensive organizations, contact centers will always need to concentrate on enhancing productivity and will continually be expected to do more with less. Quality management software delivers to this mission; designed to review the quality of agent transactions, it also plays an important role in increasing agent productivity. Agents who provide outstanding service generally handle transactions more quickly than those who struggle through the procedures.
The new batch of QM/recording solutions has the potential to extend benefits far beyond the boundaries of the contact center into sales, marketing, other operating areas and the executive suite. The key is to employ speech analytics to capture and structure customer communications so that they can be used to resolve operational issues (including those not caused by the contact center) and to identify new revenue opportunities. The new back-office QM modules are being applied to non-contact center functions such as applications and claims processing, to reduce procedural errors and improve customer satisfaction. eLearning is another module that can and should be used in the contact center but can also benefit other parts of the corporation.
Newer quality management/liability recording suites generally include the following modules:
1.Quality Management/Quality Assurance Software applications designed to allow contact center management to measure how well agents adhere to internal policies and procedures. The primary function of a QM application is to create and populate agent evaluation forms. These applications must be flexible and able to support all types of contact center activities, including customer care, sales, collections, fraud, human resources, technical support, etc.
2.Recording/Logging Hardware and software-based applications that automatically capture and record customer transactions (voice and data). Recording solutions have become commodities during the last two years. What differentiates offerings today is how they store and retrieve transaction data and the ease with which they can support multiple sites and user groups. The best solutions are IP-based and record through native links instead of packet sniffing to improve the accuracy of recording.
3.Speech Analytics Analytical applications that take captured voice recordings, structure them using a variety of mathematical approaches and provide three outputs: key word/key phrase identification, emotion detection and talk analysis. Speech analytics is used primarily to identify the root cause of calls and to flag revenue opportunities.
4.Performance Management Systems used to align the goals of the contact center with the goals of the corporation. Performance management applications collect data via feeds from a variety of sources inside and outside the contact center, including the automatic call distributor, computer telephony integration, quality management, surveying, sales and many others. The data is used to produce agent, team and departmental scorecards and, increasingly, real-time dashboards. Performance management applications are intended to give a 360-degree view of agent performance.
5.Surveying Applications that survey customers via interactive voice response systems or the web to determine how satisfied they are with service quality. There is an emerging group of real-time surveying applications that send out real-time alerts when customers are not satisfied so that issues can be resolved on a timely basis.
6.eLearning/Coaching eLearning management systems (LMS) modules that allow companies to quickly develop targeted in-depth training classes for their employees and agents. LMS applications enable companies to build training content, deliver it and test the success of the course. Coaching applications are min-LMS. They are used by contact center supervisors to communicate with agents. Coaching modules can send individual, team and departmental communications, from memos to best practices. Most coaching modules also allow supervisors to share a best practice clips.
A few performance optimization suites also offer modules for contact center workforce management and the back office.
7.Workforce Management Applications intended to forecast call, email and chat volumes and then schedule the appropriate number of agents to handle the projected call volume. Workforce management systems have become more sophisticated in the past few years and can generally support multi-site, multi-channel contact centers with sophisticated skill based routing algorithms. These applications also come with agent adherence modules that help organizations measure how well agents comply with their schedules.
8.Back Office Quality assurance modules used to measure the quality of back office functions in order to reduce error rates. As with phone based quality assurance, the goal of these applications is to improve the customer experience cost effectively.
Return on Investment
The return on investment (ROI)/payback from a QM/recording application is typically 6 to 9 months. When features such as speech analytics or performance management are added, the cash outlay is higher, but the ROI can be more rapid as the incremental applications yield additional benefits.
Quality management/liability recording suites are valuable because they help companies do a better job of servicing their customers and providing an outstanding customer experience while increasing productivity and reducing operating expenses. With the added functionality of speech analytics, performance management and surveying, these applications extend their value and benefits beyond the contact center by sharing relevant customer data with sales, marketing, operations and the executive suite.
Donna Fluss is the Principal of DMG Consulting LLC, delivering customer-focused business strategy, operations and technology for Global 2000 and emerging companies. Ms. Fluss, a recognized leader and contact center visionary, is a highly sought-after writer and speaker. She is the author of The Real-Time Contact Center, published in August 2005. Contact Ms. Fluss at [email protected]
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