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Bouquet Training hones contact center agent skills

Bouquet Training, a module in the Bouquet CDM platform, enables managers to customize contact center agent training courses based on customer feedback.

Product: Bouquet Training, a module of the Bouquet Customer-Driven Management (CDM) platform.

Release date: Bouquet Training was released in December 2014 and is integrated with Bouquet CDM, which was released in 2012.

Contact center agent training is a crucial part of providing good customer service. If an agent isn't well-educated about a company's products or well-coached on keeping calm during customer interactions, business can suffer.

Historically, managers have focused more on measuring agent performance rather than trying to gauge customer experience during calls. Bouquet aims to shift that focus by tapping into the voice of the customer. Tamer Partners Corp., an enterprise management software provider based in Colleyville, Texas, aims to take the burden off of agents and managers by using real-time customer feedback to improve customer experience.

"Customer feedback resonates with agents and managers," said Scott O. Thomas, senior partner at Tamer Partners Corp. "It's not filtered through a third person. There's no bias."

What it does

Bouquet Training, which is part of Tamer Partners Corp.'s Bouquet CDM software, assists contact center agent training by enabling managers to develop courses to hone specific agent skills. Contact center managers can create their own quizzes or input their own video or audio files into the training sessions.

Bouquet CDM is a SaaS-based software that allows contact center managers to customize surveys that are automatically emailed to customers once a service call, chat, or email interaction ends. The surveys ask customers to rate agents' aptitude in empathy, friendliness, product knowledge and other areas. Managers can choose an open-ended question where customers can elaborate on what made their experiences good or bad. Using customer feedback from surveys, managers can tailor training to address areas where a customer has indicated that an agent's skills were lacking.

Why it matters

Bouquet CDM lets customers provide companies with specific information on an agent's skills or shortcomings. With the data collection process coming straight from the customer, managers can augment training procedures faster without manually monitoring every call to pinpoint problem areas in the agent's skill set. This can alleviate the burden of having to monitor agents on each customer call.

Customers receive surveys automatically after a call ends, regardless of whether the case has been closed, and they may also receive surveys if they call back on multiple days. When a survey comes back, the results are sent to both the agent and the manager.

Feature drilldown

  • Consolidated data. With Bouquet CDM, data from the surveys and training modules can be consolidated in one system, providing a one-stop shop for training. Managers can isolate a single agent and see how his score improved after certain training sessions. Agents can take the training courses at their desks, and re-take training to keep skills sharp. 
Figure 1: Bouquet Training enables supervisors to customize quizzes that are designed to sharpen agents' skills.
Figure 1: Bouquet Training enables supervisors to customize quizzes that are designed to sharpen agents' skills.

 

  • Inclusion of other metrics. In addition to asking customers to rate a specific agent's performance, companies can include other metrics and use the data for customer satisfaction reporting. Companies can test for Net Promoter Score, first-contact resolution or any other key performance indicator.
  • Customizable reporting. Managers can view an agent's scores over time and filter by various metrics. Agents can see where they scored well or poorly and adjust their behavior based on this feedback. Managers can set alerts for certain words in the surveys that can give them further insight on agent performance. Managers can automate the frequency of reports that they get, choosing to receive them monthly, weekly, or daily.
  • Ability to train on new skills. Other than improving weaknesses for agents, companies can use the training modules to teach agents new skills en masse. Bouquet Training features a quiz and course builder and enables managers to populate the system with the company's own content. Customers can even recommend which survey questions ought to be changed.

What users say

ExpressToll, which offers toll collection services for the state of Colorado, has tied the surveys and training to its employee bonus program, which aims to help with agent attrition. The better agents do on calls, the better their schedules and bonuses. This has assisted in reducing employee churn, said Jim Harlan, service center manager. While 20% of the staff regularly turns over, 60% to 80% of staff has stayed on the job longer, in part because of the customer feedback and training modules.

The company has also extended the software out to its roadside assistance group, expanding its reach so that all aspects of the business are driven by customer feedback.

"We stopped measuring handle time altogether. Our agents have no time constraints and focus on making the experience better for the customer," Harlan said.

ExpressToll has seen customer satisfaction, which is judged on a five-point scale, rise from a 4.81 average in 2012 to 4.9 today.

"We're going to let the customers tell us whether [agents] have a tone or sincerity problem," Harlan said.

Pricing

Pricing is based on the number of agents being measured and is scalable. Tamer Partners' Thomas said that the software is appropriate for under 50-seat centers all the way up to more than 3,000-seat centers.

Next Steps

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Has your team undergone contact center agent training recently? Did it improve business? What were the areas of concern?
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There are a few aspects here that make me nervous about how this might be used.

The first thing that comes to mind, is that it would be difficult to 'quizzify' the kind of problem solving abilities that lead to great customer service. It seems like quizzed trainings would be superficial at best.

The second thing I'd worry about is the idea of evaluating performance based on the metrics of customer responses. This might encourage support reps to give the nicest and easiest answer over more useful and accurate answers that might be upsetting to customers, rather than training them to make bad/difficult news as acceptable as possible.
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Carol, these concerns sound pretty similar to those around standardized testing in education - it's tough to put these kind of metrics around everything, but still, every industry craves some kind of reportable numbers to demonstrate growth. 
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