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Covid-19 and Contact Centre Quality Assurance

The pandemic forced many organisations to go from business as usual to working from home almost overnight. According to Gartner, remote working shows signs of sticking with almost 75% of customer service leaders expecting to expand work from home programs post-pandemic. So, what should organisations consider to maintain customer service quality remotely?

During lockdown and beyond, when most shops, offices and facilities were closed, contact centres enabled organisations to maintain operations by implementing social distancing measures or agents working from home. Two in five consumers stated phoning business has replaced face-to-face and in-store interactions with brands. Over a third of consumers have found it vital to phone organisations during the pandemic.

When the lockdown began, working from home seemed like a short-term necessity for most organisations. But as businesses and employees have adjusted, attitudes to home-working are shifting, with companies such as Twitter announcing they will allow employees to work at home forever.

As we accept the normalisation of working from home, in some instances customer service quality has suffered. More than half of consumers have stated they’ve been kept waiting longer on phone calls to brands during the pandemic. Whilst there may be explanations for this in terms of increased demand and challenges with staffing traditional contact centre sites, this still harms brands when it comes to reputation and customer loyalty.

Over three quarters of customers now report that it’s easier than ever to take their business elsewhere — switching from brand to brand to find an experience that matches their expectations.

What’s more, 62% of customers say they share bad experiences with others. With the proliferation of peer review sites and social media, this practice can inflict widespread reputational damage. Therefore customer experience and the way that organisations respond to consumers has never been so important.

To ensure home based agent customer service is monitored, forward-thinking organisations have been outsourcing their quality assurance particularly during the pandemic. This ensures their home based contact centre agent’s customer interactions are objectively monitored and assessed effectively.

In some instances, rather than being outsourced the quality assurance monitoring has been carried out by an existing member of the team, which can be a bit like marking your own homework. This approach means the organisation loses objectivity and therefore any outcomes or actions that could have been picked up by the monitoring such as retraining requirements are missed.

Another benefit of outsourcing contact centre quality assurance is the cost. Looking at the number of calls graded in-house and the costs of employing and managing staff, organisations who outsource with Centrebound typically achieve a 20% – 30% saving versus their ‘in-house’ teams.

Outsourcing contact centre quality assurance also offers flexibility; increasing the number of contacts graded as and when the organisation requires. As we enter peak trading for retailers the need for contacts to be graded increases, or for some organisations they want a project focus placing on a certain area of service or sales and need more calls than usual listened to. An outsourced supplier such as Centrebound can take that additional amount of calls on without the need for the organisation to recruit additional staff or roll out training.

In conclusion outsourcing the monitoring of the organisation’s home based contact centre teams is cost effective, reliable, flexible and objective.