Contact centers are often the face of an organization and a critical first point of customer interaction shaping the organization’s brand image. At a major telecom organization, for example, a contact center might interact with an average of 95,000 customers daily. So a positive customer experience is crucial.
In today’s competitive environment, organizations need to consistently upgrade their quality management systems to keep pace with changing customer needs. According to the recent ASQ Global State of Quality 2 – a research study of nearly 1,700 companies in 20 countries – quality process-oriented companies are half as likely to have customer service/quality disasters organizations that don’t prioritize quality processes.
ISO 9001:2015 is a global quality management standard that ensures products and services consistently meet customer requirements. The standard is focused around customer centricity helping contact centers improve business performance and includes customer focus plans needed to enhance customer satisfaction as well as requirements for monitoring and review of these processes.
Considering the importance of contact centers in improving customer experience and retention, it should be an organizational priority to standardize and improve customer satisfaction by implementing ISO 9001:2015. Here are 7 principles of ISO 2015:9001 that contact centers can leverage to improve quality management.
1. Customer focus
An organization must understand the needs of customers interacting through the contact center. Customer satisfaction score and net promoter system can be good measurement criteria to understand where the center stands in terms of customer satisfaction and expectation. For example, if contact centers find from the NPS that customers are negatively impacted because of an agent’s inability to resolve issues the in first call, they should take the initiative to improve the agent’s skills as well as set key performance indicators on first call resolution. Similarly, contact centers should improve agent soft skills when there are problems. Contact centers should understand customer expectations and set strategy and KPIs accordingly.
Leaders play an important role in driving the KPIs and strategies of the organization. They must believe in customer centricity, walk the talk, and regularly communicate the benefits of customer centric KPIs or strategy that directly and indirectly hit the bottom line of the organization. They should also keep employees engaged.
3. Engagement of people
It’s extremely important that the contact center employees are motivated and love what they do, since a smiling employee means a smiling customer. Organization leaders should enable employees to share ideas on how to improve customer experience and organizations can also introduce NPS Champion and Customer Ambassador kinds of titles so that others can follow them as role models.
4. Process approach
Coherence between process and systems is crucial, as a bad process can destroy a good system, and vice versa. Organizations must deploy world-class customer relationship management so that call handling processes become efficient and FCR is achieved. ISO 9001:2015 can help ensure that the service operating procedure is well documented, easily accessible by the employees, and regularly audited to ensure unique service delivery from the contact center. The employees should also be empowered with required access and tools to reduce cross-functional dependencies.
The well-known continuous improvement model Plan-Do-Check-Act outlined in ISO 9001:2015 can continuously improve contact center performance by ensuring that the gap between customer expectation and reality is well identified and corrective actions are developed, tested, and implemented. A dedicated process team can be deployed in contact centers to run the PDCA cycle on a continuous basis.
6. Evidence-based decision making
To be an international standard contact center in compliance with ISO 9001:2015, it is important to make decisions based on sufficient and reliable data. Maintain balanced scorecards that give data on a real time basis regarding call inflows, FCR, average call handling time, answered call ratio, etc., along with providing experts who can interpret data properly and make correct decisions.
7. Relationship management
ISO 9001:2015 provides guidance on customer relationship building, which is essential to creating a wow factor that starts from greeting customers with their names, offering birthday greetings, or any opportunity to proactively suggest offers based on a customer’s usage pattern and behavior. Real-time decision and contextual marketing should be integrated with the CRM system to help the contact center employees have effective relationship management with the customers.
Edited by Alicia Young