What I learned from monitoring thousands of calls last year
By Heather Dubas, Operations Manager
A new program has started in your call center. Everything has gone as planned. Set up- check, training- check, calls begin- check. Now there are recordings piling up that you must listen to and critique, making sure quality is at its best. This can be a long and daunting task. As an Operations Manager for Quality Contact Solutions, last year I listened to thousands of calls. To make my monitoring time more productive, I’ve created my own cheat sheet of best practices. First off, I believe that telemarketing quality assurance is the heartbeat of any outsourced telemarketing program and if it flat lines, it can be the death of it. Here are the top 5 things to consider when creating quality assurance processes for any telemarketing program, whether its B2B telemarketing or B2C telemarketing:
1 – Start with a solid script and presentation
Make sure that you are working with a solid script and presentation before you create the telemarketing quality assurance guidelines. Listen in to calls beforehand and get feedback from the agents and the supervisors. Make sure that you are paying close attention to the program as a whole. It is so easy to get focused in on one agent or a particular area of the script that you start missing pieces of the puzzle. Gaining consistency is much more difficult if you are frequently changing the script in the beginning of a program. Sometimes change is necessary, but if you identify a solid script early on, the program as a whole and every agent will perform better in the long run.
2 – Create the Telemarketing Quality Assurance Form
Once you have a great script and you have heard the agents using it, create the telemarketing quality assurance form for call center monitoring. Get everyone associated with the program involved—the outsourced telemarketing team, the client and operations. Each team member can offer valuable information and insight to set reasonable expectations and guidelines. Also, be sure to make the form manageable. There are so many forms out there that have a multitude of categories and it can become a jumbled mess. I have found that 10-12 categories (with no more than 15) are sufficient. This way you can offer concise direction with ease of understanding for everyone involved.
3 – Ensure Telemarketing Quality Assurance Form is easy to understand
Make sure the quality assurance form is easy to understand. Each section of the call should be spelled out in order and weighted appropriately for level of importance. The agents should have a clear understanding of what is expected out of them with each call. It also needs to be easy to understand for the team members listening to the calls and doing the scoring.
4 – Create expectations for completing Telemarketing Quality Assurance Form
Now that the team has a usable quality assurance form, you should set the expectations of how often call center monitoring will be done and how many forms will be completed for each agent. This should be a reasonable number, set per program/client, taking into consideration how many agents are assigned and how many hours they are dialing on average.
5 – Conduct calibration calls to ensure consistency
Make sure that the outsourced telemarketing quality assurance team, along with the client and operations calibrate calls early on to ensure consistency with expectations. When I listen to a call and think that it is great, I want the client to think that it is great too! The only way to achieve this is to calibrate often and on a consistent basis to make sure everyone is staying on the same page. If this is done, you can identify opportunities early and make appropriate adjustments. This is critical for identifying coaching opportunities as well as commending the agents on a job well done. When telemarketing agents are not held to consistent, high standards at all times, that is when problems set in and it becomes difficult to remedy issues without starting over with someone new.
Of course, the points above are just a brief description of what goes into creating a solid quality assurance program. I’ve found that each program and team will need to find the right combination to follow. Above all, make sure that you let the agents know when they are doing something unacceptable as well as congratulating them for a job well done. By doing so, you increase good habits which in turn creates better results over time. Call center monitoring will be much easier and a more enjoyable job for everyone on the team if some basic guidelines are followed. You may even get to a point where you are thinking to yourself, “Why am I even listening to these calls. They sound great!” But with any regimen, you must stick with it! You want your program to have a long, healthy life and keeping your finger firmly on the pulse will ensure its lasting survival.
Heather Dubas is Operations Manager for Quality Contact Solutions, a leading outsourced telemarketing organization. Heather works tirelessly to examine every detail that goes into creating a successful inbound or outbound telemarketing program. Heather’s passion for results is exemplified by her urgency. Heather knows how to get things done. Getting results for clients is her daily goal and with more than five years of telemarketing sales experience, Heather is an ace for her clients. Heather can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 516-656-5137.