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Vaspian - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog

Call Center Quality Assurance: Everything You Need to Know

Call center quality assurance (QA) is an important part of any organization’s customer service strategy. It requires evaluating the performance of call centers and agents, identifying areas for improvement, and providing feedback to ensure quality standards are met.

Customer satisfaction is a major factor in the success of any business. To stay competitive, it’s essential for organizations to have an effective call center quality assurance program in place. In this article, we’ll discuss what call center quality assurance is, its benefits, and how to create an effective program.

What Is Call Center Quality Assurance?

Contact center quality assurance is a process of evaluating customer service agents’ performance and interactions. This can include service done over the phone or through digital channels such as live chat, email, and social media.

It involves monitoring, analyzing, and evaluating customer service interactions to ensure they meet quality standards. Quality assurance is typically performed by an impartial third-party organization or a specialized department within the call center.

The Benefits of Call Center Quality Assurance

When implemented properly, call center quality assurance can be hugely beneficial for businesses. It ensures that employees are delivering high-quality customer service, which is essential for any business that wants to build and maintain a good reputation.

Quality assurance also allows call centers to identify areas of improvement in their processes, products, or services. This helps them stay ahead of the competition and make necessary adjustments to better serve their customers.

Similarly, quality assurance allows businesses to measure employee performance more accurately, giving them insight into what areas need improvement and what actions should be taken.

In addition to these benefits, call center quality assurance increases customer loyalty and satisfaction by ensuring that their calls are handled in a timely and professional manner. This can lead to increased revenue for the business since customers feel valued and appreciated.

Call Center Quality Assurance Guidelines

1. Set Clear Guidelines

Running a successful quality assurance program at a call center requires setting up specific guidelines and expectations for agents. These should include what is expected from them when dealing with customer feedback, such as responding promptly, remaining professional, and providing helpful solutions to their inquiries.

2. Give QA Leaders Clear KPIs

Additionally, it is important for the QA team leaders to have adequate knowledge of the industry so that they can effectively evaluate the performance of agents. They should also have a good understanding of what constitutes poor customer service and be able to provide feedback that helps agents improve their skills.

Documenting what constitutes acceptable customer service is also essential. This should include what agents are expected to do in certain situations, what customer service behaviors are acceptable, and what should be avoided. It should also capture any specific industry standards that must be met.

3. Evaluate the Right Sample Size

Once the guidelines have been established, it is important to evaluate an appropriate sample size of interactions. This helps ensure that the QA team has sufficient data to make accurate assessments and provide feedback in a timely manner. It also allows them to identify trends and patterns that can be addressed through additional training or other interventions.

4. Provide Adequate Feedback

Finally, it is important to provide feedback as well as constructive criticism when reviewing customer interactions and QA scores. This can be done with data gathered from speech analytic software, or by QA leaders oversight.

Doing so will help agents understand what they did well and what they need to improve. It also helps them to better understand what customers expect and what steps they can take to provide outstanding service.

Create Your Call Center Quality Assurance Program Today

By following these tips, call center quality assurance teams can ensure that their agents are providing excellent customer service every time they interact with a customer. QA programs are an essential part of delivering consistent and satisfactory customer service. They’re also an important part of what sets successful call centers apart from those that fail.

Learn more about Vaspian’s features today!

Source: https://vaspian.com/call-center-quality-assurance-everything-you-need-to-know/

Publish Date: February 12, 2023


Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) Explained

We have all experienced automatic call distribution (ACD), sometimes also called automated call distribution, when calling our favorite (or not so favorite) companies.    

Here’s what ACD often sounds like: “Please hold… All our agents are assisting other callers”

But what is ACD, or automatic call distribution, really? Let’s dive a little deeper into the meaning and definition of this common call center technology term.

What is an Automatic Call Distribution System?  

Automated call distribution (ACD) is simply a fancy word used to describe a feature of business phone systems, known more commonly to the general public as “call queuing” for inbound phone calls.

According to the TIA automatic call distribution is a device that distributes incoming calls to a specific group of terminals. 

In other words, ACD systems offer advanced functionality to queues to route inbound callers to the appropriate person or department in the most efficient manner to optimize the callers’ experience.   

Well-managed ACD systems offer  a variety of call distribution techniques, to eliminate distractions that can overwhelm agents or employees answering these phone calls, resulting in happier employees and improved customer engagement.   

How Do Automatic Call Distribution vs. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Differ?

By now, hopefully, you’re beginning to understand the meaning of ACD. What about interactive voice response, or IVR? 

Interactive voice response (IVR) technology is often a part of the automatic call distribution process. What is it? According to IBM IVR is “an automated telephone system that combines pre-recorded messages or text-to-speech technology so callers can provide or access information without a live agent.

IVR technology is helpful in weeding out what a caller’s reason for calling is and, therefore, what kind of help they need, or who they need to be re-routed to next. 

ACD & Skills-Based Routing

If automatic call routing is the overarching process of routing inbound callers to available agents, then skills-based routing adds another layer to that process: ensuring that the person answering the caller is sufficiently knowledgeable about the topic or reason the customer is calling. 

This makes it so that customers don’t get routed around in circles to try to speak to the right person (Ever been there? Us too – it’s why we incorporate intelligent skills-based routing to our clients here at Vaspian!)

How ACD Impacts the Customer Experience

ACD systems that effectively implement IVR and offer good first-call resolution (FCR) rates (more on that very soon) can make or break the customer experience … Callers want: 

  1. To speak to a representative as quickly as possible
  2. Their call handled by the best possible person available

To be provided with options that simplify and optimize their overall experience 

ACD & First Call Resolution (FCR): A Case Study

Recently, one of our founders here at Vaspian had to change travel plans for his mother, who was coming into town for a Christmas visit. A major snowstorm was affecting the northeast and she had booked her flight on Airline #1. Knowing that she would be frustrated with the experience, he volunteered to call and make the necessary changes to move her flight and make sure she wasn’t going to be stranded somewhere for Christmas. Here is the transcript of that experience:

Airline #1 Call Attempt 1: 

“Thank you for calling; our call center is experiencing high call volume. Please visit our website for faster service. Please tell me what you are calling about?”

“Speak to a representative”

“Okay I understand you would like to speak to a representative. Please tell me a little more about why you are calling. You can say things like book a flight, cancel a reservation, change an existing reservation….”

“Change an existing reservation”

The system then placed the call-in queue and they continued to wait on hold, listening to hold music for 15 minutes until it ended and then an awkward silence making them wonder if the  call had been answered by an agent or if they were lost somewhere in the abyss. Several minutes later hold music came back on and after 27 minutes, they were  greeted to the harsh sound of a fast busy signal for 15 seconds resulting in the call being disconnected.

Airline #1 Call Attempt 2: 

This was more of the same, except now they were able to use their previous experience to navigate their menu system more promptly. The system then routed them to the queue, where they waited another 34 minutes before finally being answered by an agent.   

During the second wait on hold, they became frustrated with the experience, wondering if the system was going to disconnect again. While waiting on hold, they started shopping for alternatives.  This prompted them to call Airline #2 from another phone while on hold.

Airline #2 Call Attempt 1:   

“Thank you for calling Airline #2 …. (Pause). Welcome back, Greg.  (Pause). Please tell me why you are calling so that I can better assist you?

“Book a flight”

“Okay, you would like to book a flight - let me get you to a representative that can help (Pause).  We are currently experiencing high call volume. Your estimated wait time is 10 Minutes – instead of waiting on hold, we can call you back when an agent comes available.  You will not lose your place in line; would you like the system to call you back or continue to wait on hold?”

“Yes”

“Okay, would you like the system to call you back on the number you are calling from”

“Yes”

“Thank you for calling… You may hang up at any time and an agent from Airline #2 will call you back in 10 minutes…. ”

They hang up and go back to the wonderful music on hold with their second attempt to reach someone at Airline #1. About 8 minutes later, an agent finally answered the call. The representative is very helpful. She asks a series of questions to provide the confirmation number and itinerary and then tried to offer options to move theirmother’s flight.   

She then asks to put them on hold to research other travel options.

The second phone rings with a caller ID from Airline #2.  They answer and a representative by the name of Alexandria picks up and asks: 

“Hi, is this Greg?”.  

To which they answer “Yes” and provide her some background on theirmom’s travel situation and provide her with a few flights to look at. Alexandria quickly pulled up the flights and quotes them $380 less on a route that avoids the snowstorm and safely gets theirmother here on time for Christmas. She asks if theyI would like to book the travel, to which they quickly say “YES PLEASE!”

Why This Story Is Important

Both calls were handled by ACD systems, and both delivered completely different customer experiences, resulting in differing outcomes

One company lost business through not being able to handle my call within a single attempt.  In the call center world, this is known as First Call Resolution (FCR)

First Call Resolution is a key performance indicator (KPI) for all call centers large or small. By resolving issues on the first call, employers save money by being more effective, reducing overall labor costs, and by improving customer satisfaction, resulting in less customer churn.  

Airline #2 on the other hand, won new business by providing a simpler experience, faster customer service and by providing a better set of tools to optimize the call. 

Final Thoughts

Understanding automatic call distribution’s meaning and its significance to call centers can help your business earn more revenue and increase customer loyalty. 
If you’re looking for a business phone system that works for you by incorporating cutting-edge ACD processes and technologies, start with Vaspian!

Source: https://vaspian.com/automatic-call-distribution-acd-explained/

Publish Date: January 27, 2023


How to Reduce Customer Wait Times

Regardless of what industry you are in, one thing will always remain the same: no customer wants to be left waiting. We have all called a company with a simple question or request, just to be put on hold and transferred from department to department. And there is absolutely nothing more frustrating.

So how long are customers willing to wait? According to a study performed by Velaro, almost 60 percent of people feel that one minute on hold is too long. Luckily, there are plenty of ways that you can ensure your customers get the answers they are look for, when they are looking for them.

Review Your Call Reporting

What time of day does your business receive the most phone calls? What departments are these calls directed to? How long does the average phone call last?

Reviewing your call reporting for answers to these questions and any others you may have can help you to learn more about your business and how quickly your customers are being helped. By regularly looking over your reports, you can see where changes and improvements are being made and where more work needs to be done on a customer service level.

Use Multi-Location Integration

Whether you are traveling across town for a meeting or across the country to meet with investors, being on the road could cause you to miss an important call. But with multi-location integration services, you can stay connected with any device no matter where you are. From cell phone to laptop, you can stay in touch with customers and employees while on the go, ensuring a positive customer service experience.

Make Changes to Your Business Plan

Once you have gathered data on your busiest phone times, it may be time to make adjustments to your business plan.

For example, say you notice that you receive the most phone calls of the day from 1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Unfortunately, that is right when your employees take their lunch. By adjusting your lunch schedule to accommodate the customers’ needs, you will have a big affect on customer satisfaction and retention.

Vaspian has the tools you need to ensure that your customers are happy – and not waiting on hold. For more information about the services we offer, visit us online or give us a call at 1-855-827-7426.

Source: https://www.vaspian.com/how-to-reduce-customer-wait-times/

Publish Date: July 22, 2022


How to Prevent Your Tone from Getting Lost in Email

There are many times you have probably logged into your work email in the morning, and while reading your messages, thought, Wow, that person must be in a bad mood today! This is a common occurrence for employees who use email regularly during the day.

There are some people who simply aren’t as proficient in the language of the internet as they are in face-to-face communication, which often leads to a message lost in translation. Read on for how to smooth out these miscommunications and adjust your tone in email.

Watch Your Words

It’s easy for your tone to get lost in an email because email doesn’t allow you to provide people with the verbal and visual cues you send out when you’re speaking directly to them. So, when you write something as simple as the word “yep” in an email, it could be interpreted in many different ways, depending on how the person who is reading it feels at that particular time.

Tip: Do not use text language in a business email. Texting is more casual, and when you’re at the workplace, you want to make you preserve a sense of professionalism and diplomacy in your tone. Always spell words out in full, and skip the “LOL”s and “BRB”s; leave those for your lunch break crew.

Double Check Your Work

There are also people who simply aren’t good at conveying the right emotions in email and others who don’t care about how they come off to their coworkers. This laissez-faire attitude toward email communication can be interpreted as carelessness, and if you care about your job, you don’t want to give off that impression!

Tip: Always make sure that you are rereading what you wrote before hitting the “send” button. Sometimes simpler is better, leaving little room for misinterpretation.

Phone-In Whenever Possible

To prevent your tone of voice from becoming lost in translation, it is wise to phone-in whenever possible. A brief phone call can clear up any confusion, and when you talk to a person on the phone, you are instantly provided with the verbal cues necessary to having a productive conversation.

Tip: Always ask ahead if someone is free for a phone call. Even if you only speak to your colleague for a minute or two, you will still avoid misinterpretation and gain more clarification, and that’s never a bad thing.

At Vaspian, we are finding that more and more people agree: email makes communication convenient, but can also lead to issues if companies aren’t careful. If you’re looking for a reliable business phone system for your company, contact us today at 1-855-VASPIAN to get started!

Source: https://www.vaspian.com/how-to-prevent-your-tone-from-getting-lost-in-email/

Publish Date: May 21, 2021


How to Manage Your Remote Workers

While it’s been almost a year since the coronavirus first shut down our offices, many of us are still working from home. What’s more, this trend may continue as more and more businesses realize the benefits of remote working. If you’re a manager, though, you may have found that managing your remote workers is more complicated than it was when everyone was in the office.

Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be this way. Below are some tips and tricks you can use to effectively manage your remote workers:

Establish Check-Ins

Since you’re unable to see and talk with your employees every day, it’s a good idea that you check-in with them regularly. This will give them a chance to ask you any questions, and it’ll give you a chance to see how they’re handling their workload. How often you should have these check-ins should be determined on a case-by-case basis. Some employees may need more supervision than others. However, even if you have very independent and self-sufficient workers, you should still check-in at least once a week.

Provide Multiple Ways to Communicate

Problems may arise sometime throughout the work week that can’t wait until your scheduled check-ins. Since workers can’t pop by your office to ask a question, you’ll need to make yourself available in multiple ways. Phone, emails, video chat, and messaging systems should all be made available to your employees. Nevertheless, you should also set expectations. You don’t have to be constantly available, so tell your employees what your work hours will be so that you’re not constantly on-call.

Be Lenient

Everyone is going through a tough time right now, and we all have our own challenges. Mental health has become a serious problem during the COVID-19 Pandemic, not to mention many of us are raising kids who are also staying at home. As such, employees may need more help or leniency from their bosses. Always check in on your employees’ emotional and mental health, and try to help out as much as you can if they’re going through a tough time.

At Vaspian, our remote office features can help your business stay connected as more of us work from home. Give us a call at 1-855-827-7426 to learn more.

Source: https://www.vaspian.com/how-to-manage-your-remote-workers/

Publish Date: March 15, 2021


4 Tips to Make Working from Home Easier

Ever since the coronavirus was declared a world-wide pandemic, more and more businesses have made their employees work from home. While telecommuting can certainly have its benefits, it can be difficult to start for the first time. Whether your kids are distracting you or you’re having a hard time getting off that couch, here are some ways you can make working from home a little easier:

Stick to your routine

It can be tempting to sleep in until noon on your first day working from home. After all, you tell yourself, you can just work in the evening, right? While your schedule is much more flexible at home than in the office, it’s still a good idea to stick to your normal routine to ensure that you’re motivated to work. If you don’t, you could end up sleeping in until noon, and only getting a few hours of work each day.

Have your own workspace

In addition to having a routine, having your own workspace will further motivate you to actually work. It will also help block out distractions, such as TV shows, pets, or kids, that could tempt you away from your next project. If you don’t have a traditional desk, use your dining room table, or really any space that isn’t your bed or couch.

Get up and move around

In an office, you’re usually not just sitting at your desk 24/7. You’re getting up, getting coffee, and talking to coworkers. These distractions seem counterintuitive, but they can actually keep your mind fresh by giving you a break from your work every now and then. So, be sure to get up, move around, and even go outside for some fresh air.

Find ways to connect with your coworkers

Since you can’t just walk over to someone’s desk to ask a question, it’s important to still stay in contact with your coworkers and managers. To do this, you can use messaging apps such as Slack or Microsoft Teams. You can also use a softphone to call your coworkers at any time.  

At Vaspian, we provide remote office features that can help your business stay connected during these tough times. Give us a call at 1-855-827-7426 to learn more.

Source: https://www.vaspian.com/4-tips-to-make-working-from-home-easier/

Publish Date: April 21, 2020


How Live Monitoring Can Benefit Your Call Center

Whenever you hire new employees at your call center, you as a manager will have to take time out of your day to coach them and get them up to speed on what has to be done. After all, not everyone comes into a call center knowing exactly how to do the job. One of the best ways to train them is through monitoring your employees as they go about their work. Here’s why:

Watching over their shoulder can be anxiety-inducing

For obvious reasons, you want to keep tabs on what your new employees are doing and how they’re performing. However, looking over your employee’s shoulder as they’re working doesn’t always guarantee the best results. “Side jacking,” as this is called, can make people feel self-conscious or intimidated as they’re working, causing them to perform poorly. With live monitoring, however, people are not aware of when you’re keeping tabs on them, so you’ll be able to receive a more realistic view of their work.

Live monitoring is convenient

Sitting down next your employee and evaluating their work is not only anxiety-inducing for them, but it can also be inconvenient. After all, you have many things that you have to do each day, and something unexpected may pop up during the time when you were supposed to monitor someone. Live monitoring allows you to check in from your own desk, when it’s most convenient for you.

Take control when you need to

With live call monitoring, it’s much easier to take control when you need to. With features such as whisper, barge, or steal, a manager can find the right way to coach their employee. Whispering, for instance, allows a manager to talk just to the employee without the other person on the line hearing them. This is especially helpful when your employee is on their first few calls and might need some extra help.

At Vaspian, our live call monitoring features can be extremely helpful when coaching new call center employees. To learn more about our VoIP phone services, give us a call at 1-855-827-7426 today.

Source: https://www.vaspian.com/how-live-monitoring-can-benefit-your-call-center/

Publish Date: February 26, 2020


6 Ways VoIP Can Save Your Business Money

Every business owner looks for ways that can save them money. After all, reducing costs and improving your revenue is one of the basics of good business management. It’s why many businesses are switching to VoIP, as cloud-based Voice over Internet Protocol can drastically reduce what your business spends on communication. Here’s how:

Cheaper hardware

Traditional phone systems are expensive if only because of all of the hardware that you need to buy upfront. Then, if you find you need to upgrade your hardware or add additional lines, those are extra costs that need to be covered. VoIP works differently. Not only is the hardware itself cheaper, but sometimes you don’t need any hardware at all. Indeed, with softphones, you can use your computer or smartphone in place of a traditional handset.

Free software upgrades

In the time before VoIP, you had to buy separate licenses for different applications. And, if there was an update, it was your responsibility to pay for the next version. Not any longer. While VoIP phone systems require periodic updates, these are completely free. You may have to pay extra for certain features, but software upgrades will always be covered by your VoIP provider.

Less maintenance

Every machine will break down at some point, even VoIP. The difference, however, is that it’s not only less likely to happen, but also less expensive to repair it when it does happen. As stated above, VoIP requires less hardware, so you won’t have to worry about repairing old wires or cables. This is especially the case if you’ve ditched a handset entirely and just use a softphone. Additionally, older phone systems have parts that are getting harder and harder to find. This will make it more burdensome and expensive for you to fix them, and it will only get worse as time passes.

Calling fees and charges

VoIP, as its name suggests, works over the internet. As a result, you’ll avoid paying long distance or interstate fees like you would with a traditional landline phone. Even international calls are cheaper, rating at about two cents per minute to certain countries. If you make frequent international calls, then you can also purchase a phone number from a country of your choice to cut down on costs.

Pay for the features you need

A VoIP phone system will come with a lot of features, but you don’t necessarily need all of them. Some businesses may find speech analytics or call recording advantageous to them, while others will never touch them. Thankfully, you don’t have to waste money on features that you will never use. Instead, you can pick and choose which features you want your phone system to come with, so that you’re only paying for what you need.

Mobility

Welcome to the 21st century where your phone is always within reach. This is the case for your personal phone, so why can’t it be the case for your business phone? A traditional landline phone will keep you chained to your desk, forcing you to manually reroute your number every time you change locations. This can be tedious, time-consuming, and expensive as you’ll have to pay for additional hardware to make this possible. VoIP, however, can go with you where you go thanks to softphones and mobile apps that allow you take your business calls on any device with a speaker and mic. Want to know exactly how much money a VoIP phone system can save your company? Then use Vaspian’s Savings Calculator to see how much we can save your business today.

Source: https://www.vaspian.com/6-ways-voip-can-save-your-business-money/

Publish Date: February 4, 2020

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