How to select a high-performing compliant outsourcer without compromising on customer contact
by Angie Burgess, Business Development Director at Infinity CCS.
Thursday, August 02, 2012
In the wake of recent publicised failures in compliance and quality by well-known brands it is becoming more difficult to achieve sales via the contact centre and comply with various industry regulations. There are major ramifications for organisations not acting in the appropriate way, resulting in unwelcome press attention, hefty financial penalties or simply damage to your brand resulting in the dissatisfaction and loss of customers.
So when you choose to outsource your ‘customer contact’, how can you assess whether your partner has the right checks and balances in place to ensure on-going compliance, but not at the expense of commercial goals.
Lifting the lid - Achieving maximum sales compliantly
After short-listing suppliers with the necessary experience and credentials to do the job, part of the due diligence should also focus on lifting the lid of what goes on behind the scenes - in particular you should undertake a detailed review of how compliance, quality and performance are collectively managed.
Of course in highly regulated industries such as financial services or telcos, you need to ensure that the necessary scripting is employed so that you stay within the law, and that you can retrospectively prove that you are following industry guidelines. However, even if you are fully compliant, shortfalls in quality and performance improvement can dent your overall sales targets and reduce customer retention.
How is quality managed – paper based or automated?
Where many outsourcers fail is how they internally manage their compliance and QA processes. One of the biggest problems, is that some of the systems used for measuring quality and individual agent performance are still quite antiquated, relying on paper-based score cards to assess individual agents. These manual approaches are time-consuming and lead to delays in establishing true performance results, so by the time that reports are produced and acted upon you may have already lost the gains that any corrective action could have produced, and campaign productivity is compromised. Delays in the timely launch of campaigns lead to loss of revenue, client dissatisfaction and competitive disadvantage.
What is often missing is the ability to produce meaningful data quickly and distribute this to the key people that can address the quality issues in real-time. If you can’t measure it then you can’t manage it. You therefore need to ask a potential outsourcer how quality issues are flagged and measured, who is responsible for making improvements, whether these can be done in real-time, and how the results are then fed back into the business to improve on-going and future performance.
A 360 degree approach – using compliance tools to improve performance and customer service.
Once a quality issue has been identified, perhaps ‘mis-selling’ by an agent or you recognise that elements of a script need modifying, there should also be a structured chain of command in place to take the appropriate action. Quality improvements will only happen if you have a ‘360 degree approach’ that involves all the necessary departments in the QA process – Training, Team Leaders, Compliance Officers, HR and also senior management. In our experience, there is too much reliance on the Team Leader to identify and fix quality issues which in many cases simply fall into a black hole with poor follow up. However, by providing better visibility of QA information, across all departments, it becomes it easier and faster for everyone to work together to improve quality.
Not all scripts produce best results first time, first call, therefore it is vital that you work with a partner who has the ability to proactively manage compliance, performance and scripting.
Align QA with business goals
Not only should the outsourcer tick all the compliance boxes, they should also have the capability to highlight where agents are missing out certain procedures that will prevent a sale or transaction being completed. For example in the claims management industry the ‘pack-back’ rate measures when an application pack is returned because the application has not been filled in properly or lacks some pertinent information. Whilst the original conversation between the agent and the customer may have been fully compliant, (for instance voicing any obligatory disclosures), you also need a system that can create an alert when procedures are overlooked or correct data is not captured. An early warning system means you can take any remedial action immediately, so agents do not repeat their mistakes and lose more potential business and sales opportunities are not missed in the future.
No margin for error
Finding a balance between compliance and commercial success is much more achievable if you have the right quality systems and procedures in place. If you want to get greater value from your outsourcing relationship then find a partner that will get the most out of their time and resources. An extra sale an hour can make a huge difference on your cost of acquisition, so if they can harness and act on QA data fast, there will be no margin for error.
Points to consider when selecting an outsourcer
- How are compliance/quality issues flagged? Do scripts have ‘mandatory fields’?
- How quickly can they identify and resolve compliance, performance and quality issues?
- What type of QA reporting is available – is it automated? Can reports be provided in any format?
- Is QA information available in real-time to multiple departments?
- Is there a standardised and holistic approach to quality & performance improvement?
- Is QA information presented in a meaningful way?