The importance of quality interactions.

Author:Tehrani, Rich
Position:Publisher's Outlook - Dialogue with Chris Coles - Interview

There was a time, before the advent of the Internet, when upsetting a single customer was believed to be the equivalent of losing ten customers, because the typical person with a poor experience would share their experience with others. But, as social media has evolved, the ramifications of a single poor experience can be far greater, as customers have shown, when they are upset, they don't hesitate to use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and a host of other services to flame the company and transaction in question. Yet, in such an environment there are companies continuing to shop for customer service agencies and BPO shops based on price alone. There are many stories of companies getting burned because they think about short-term profit and not the long-term damage poor quality can cause an organization.

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To learn more, I reached out to Chris Coles, President & CEO of HyperQuality, which focuses on helping its customers provide optimal quality experience over the phone, email and chat. The company also analyzes accents and cultural issues with agents in India and other countries. Our interaction provides solid information on how important providing quality interactions is to customers.

How has contact center quality changed these past few years?

CC: The focus has expanded from agent performance to gaining customer insight from the calls to drive both a targeted coaching process for agent performance and business process improvements. New technologies, such as speech analytics, allow a larger percentage of interactions to be analyzed, and those calls that are most valuable to be evaluated by a person are flagged. This expanded insight increases the contact center's importance and delivers stronger ROI to the business.

How has the move to international contact center agents affected quality?

CC: International centers have brought both benefits and new challenges. Leveraging new talent pools for hiring has enabled broader customer service phone support. However, these centers have, at times, experienced language and understanding challenges.

How strong is the correlation between customer interaction quality and sales/customer retention?

CC: The quality of interaction, as determined by the customer (and not simply metrics of the company), is generally quite important in the customer's consideration of repeat purchases. Assuming the purchase is not simply about lowest price, the customer experience is the most important factor...

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