align frontline training with QA
Illustration by Janik Sollner

As more organizations turn to customer experience as a competitive differentiator, contact centers must ensure that staff are fully prepared to drive customer-centric goals.

So how can contact center managers more effectively tie QA results into training? In our recent Contact Center Training Special Issue, we asked the experts from the leading contact center training providers for their views.

Mike Aoki, President, Reflective Keynotes Inc.
Get the trainers involved in QA. Have them attend calibration sessions so they know what “great” sounds like. Have the QA team debrief any identified hot-button issues with the training team, so trainers know what to emphasize in their workshops. Don’t leave communication to chance. Schedule these sessions on a weekly basis!

Jodi Beuder, Customer Experience Advocate, Impact Learning Systems
Managers should identify their call center’s metrics that drive their customer’s success; what metrics should they be keeping an eye on, on a regular basis? Once they have a Top 10 list, they can more effectively measure quality of agent behavior based on how successful the call ends up.

Elaine Carr, Training & Development Manager, International Customer Management Institute (ICMI)
After a training session, whether it be new-hire, crosstraining, refresher training or any other type of training, isolate the QA results for those trained and look for areas of improvement or areas of opportunity. This means being able to drill down on the QA results to see what was missed and to see the specific comments the analysts provided. Make sure to focus on both positives and negatives. And then share this information with the trainer. Even make QA results for the people the trainer has recently trained available to the trainer to do their own drill-down analysis. After training, this analysis should be done at least weekly for the first month, if not longer, for new-hire classes.

When sharing QA results with the trainer, make sure that the tone is collaborative and not accusatory. Recognize that not everything covered in training will be remembered when people actually are on the floor. Are there any big areas that people needed that they don’t seem to remember (whether or not they were covered in the training)? What areas did the training class excel at (so that you do not lose these areas of focus)? What could be changed about how a topic was covered in class that might make it more memorable? Is a job aid needed?

I also coach trainers that they need to make the quality analysts their best friends. These analysts are a great source of information not only about areas of struggle, but also about specific examples for these areas. If a trainer wants an example of a specific type of call, they should let the analysts know about it so that when the analysts come across that kind of call in the course of their work, they will pass along the example to the trainer. Analysts are a great source of interesting, helpful, realistic stories that trainers can use in the classrooms, as well. The trainer should invite an analyst into the classroom to cover quality processes and do a calibration session with the participants.

Training, quality and supervisors should regularly meet together to compare notes about how the teams are doing and what issues might be arising. Training is not the appropriate answer for every performance issue, but taking the time to meet and look at areas of opportunity with the teams will allow supervisors to proactively make plans for performance interventions, whether or not training is the appropriate intervention, and will more closely bind together trainers, analysts and supervisors as a team.

Jay Minnucci, President & Founder, Service Agility
QA and Training must be closely linked or an organization will never achieve success. Every month, the QA team should generate a report showing quality rates by each category that is monitored (opening, courtesy, etc.). The data should be shared with Training as a way to prioritize the areas where the trainers should focus their efforts. Beyond this, it can be very effective to have the trainers function as “part-time” QA staff, at least when hiring activity is minimal. That allows the trainers to directly observe the outcomes of their work.

Dina Vance, Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing/Managing Director of North American Operations, Ulysses Learning
To effectively tie QA results into training, QA must benchmark and identify trends, behaviors, processes, performance gaps, and compare those results with customer satisfaction data. Based on this information, training provides tools, job aids or short refreshers to address the needs. QA continues to provide new benchmarks to show changes in behavior.

Download the Contact Center Training Special Issue for more insights.