Sarah Chambers
Posted by Sarah Chambers
Mar 10 / 2018 | 0 Comments

Why Quality Monitoring Programs need to move Beyond Co-Listening

When organizations want to start a quality monitoring program, they almost always start with co-listening. Auditing calls to provide feedback to employees is an excellent way to dip a toe into the waters of quality monitoring - it’s quick, easy and provides immediate benefit to employees.


But co-listening or transaction monitoring is only the very tip of the iceberg of quality assurance in the contact center.

Mature quality assurance programs go beyond individual call monitoring. They use the data from a statistically significant number of conversations to improve team processes, develop team training and drastically move the needle on improving customer experience. Co-listening alone doesn’t have the same results.


Here are three reasons why co-listening isn’t enough for quality management, and what teams

need to do to continue improving.


Fixing process issues has a bigger impact


Co-listening often focuses on ensuring the employee is following the process they’ve been trained on. But if the process is flawed, co-listening is only enforcing a poor experience for customers.


Picture a customer calling into their phone company to upgrade their mobile phone. The agent, following the process they’ve been trained on, sees that the customer isn’t eligible for a free upgrade, and tells the customer politely that they will have to wait until next year. The customer, disappointed, ends the call.


While the agent followed the right process, they missed a big opportunity for delighting the customer, and for an upsell. Co-listening alone wouldn’t identify this missed opportunity - instead, the agent would get full marks for greeting the customer, answering the question, and using a friendly tone.


It’s estimated that 75% of customer experience issues exist on a process level. Even if reps are following the process to the letter, and receiving high scores on co-listening quality monitoring, customers still won’t be happy. Employees are only as good as the processes they are trained to follow.


Forrester reported that top three challenges for customer experience programs in 2018 include organizational culture (54%), organizational structures (45%), and processes (41%). Note that none of these challenges can be addressed simply by co-listening quality management.


In order to improve the total customer experience, quality management teams need to move beyond co-listening. By focussing solely on individual call quality, teams will quickly fall behind the competition on service delivery.


Do you even know what you’re listening for?


Secondly, most organizations haven’t analyzed what drives customer satisfaction and therefore don’t know what to listen to when performing co-listening sessions. In fact, Forrester reports that 72% of organizations “don’t model the influence of customer experience metrics on business outcomes.”


As call quality improves, key performance measurements should also improve.


Why do we want to provide great customer service? Hopefully, it makes our customers more loyal to our brand - they continue to purchase from us, and recommend us to others. Customer service quality should be directly linked to business performance.


Co-listening without fully understanding what drives customer loyalty is a waste of time. Well rounded quality programs ensure they are driving the correct behaviors. By taking the time to analyze the effects of customer service initiatives on key business metrics, the organisation ensures that monitoring forms are focused on the attributes that have the greatest impact to overall customer satisfaction and business performance.


Can’t see the forest for the trees


When co-listening focuses on providing feedback to individual agents, it misses a big opportunity. Sure, you might improve the quality of one employee, but it’s not scalable. If one employee is making a mistake, there’s a good chance many other agents are doing the same thing. Individual coaching is like washing the floor with a toothbrush - it will get you the result, but it’s going to take a long time.


Co-listening is where quality management programs should start, but the best insight comes after the call. Collecting data from each session can help quality teams uncover trends, and improve the customer experience at scale. Focussing on the big picture, and using individual data points to inform training programs and process improvements will help quality assurance teams make a bigger impact.


Analyzing co-listening data for trends requires sampling a statistically significant number of calls. Many teams don’t have a set process for choosing which conversations to audit, or if they do, they aren’t auditing enough conversations.


Finally, teams that are only co-listening to calls miss out on valuable data from emails, chat sessions and other interactions with customers. Organizations need to move beyond listening to a few recorded calls a week, and build a statistically significant, scalable process for quality management.


Moving beyond co-listening


It’s helpful to think of the maturity of quality monitoring programs like a pyramid. Each step up the pyramid depends on successfully implementing the levels below. The goal of organizations should be to move up the pyramid, through Storming, Forming, Norming and finally, to Performing.

Roadmap for implementing transaction monitoring

Co-listening forms the base of the pyramid. Listening to calls and providing feedback to agents is the first step of any quality monitoring program. This is considered the Storming level of the quality pyramid.


Forming, the second level of the quality pyramid, includes collecting data from audits and starting to form repeatable processes for call audits. This might include creating callflow and call monitoring forms and choosing which calls to audit. It’s at this point many companies implement a tool to help systemize the process of creating, collecting and analyzing monitoring form data.


The third stage is Norming. Organizations who have reached the Norming level monitor a given number of transactions to provide statistically significant results. They use this data to implement quarterly workshops, develop adaptive learning programs, and focus on improvements with a Six Sigma approach. Call calibration must be implemented in order to achieve a high quality of data. Most organizations use a co-listening software, also known as a transaction monitoring software to help them gain control of the large quantity of audits.


Finally, to reach the Performing stage, organizations must continuously analyze quality monitoring data on both the employee and process level. They must also train their staff to identify the root cause of issues when deciding what actions to take. Organizations who have successfully reached the Performing level incorporate quality improvement into every process and employee’s ethos.


Want to learn more?


Where do you place yourself on the quality assurance pyramid? If your team is ready to move beyond co-listening and up the pyramid towards Performing, we want to help.


Download our ebook, Beyond Co-listening  - 9 fasttrack steps towards a killer CMX program, for even more in-depth advice about starting a quality program or look at how Heyware's industry leading Adaptive Learning Platform can help you achieve higher quality within your contact center.