Track Employee Development With a Relational Database

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The key to effective cross-selling in the catalog industry is the strength of the catalogers' customer databases and the extensive data that tracks the sales success of particular products within targeted customer segments. Catalogers have long known the value of relational databases in cross-sell applications. They allow a company to refine marketing strategies by analyzing customer sales and calling statistics, thereby creating a correlation between such data and profitability.


Well, a segment of call center technology is finally catching on to what the catalog industry knows: Software is available in relational database structures to allow the industry to adopt the same analytical principals for employee development. Just as conventional customer database information is analyzed to identify profitable product/customer segments and those that need refreshing, employee development software can target successful employee behavior and that which requires changing. While this technology is available across the call center industry, catalogers in particular will appreciate its capabilities and know how to capitalize on its use.


One of the hottest niches within employee development technology is quality assurance software to automate the monitoring of your call center employees. QA software incorporates multidimensional, qualitative scoring systems that allow the user to spend more time creating coaching strategies for the monitored employee and less time calculating quality scores because the software automatically generates a score based on the user's input.


When you incorporate voice recording between the telephone service representative and customer to the actual scoring form, you create the beginnings of a comprehensive employee development program. To complete the package with the creation of a support tool that quantifiably improves calling results, you need to go to the next level, and that's where the power of the relational database comes in.


Target Issues You Can Quantify


Monitoring is excellent for employee development. However, it is important to target "real issues" that can be quantified to have a negative impact on the customer experience and therefore hurt call center revenue. Only with this type of data can management perform a cost-benefit analysis to determine which sectors within employee development will yield the greatest return.


This is the same type of marketing analysis performed for product and customer marketing: Which products have had the widest appeal and will generate the most revenue if featured in a cross-sell manner? What are the commonalties among customer demographic segments that respond well to featured products?


The same type of analysis can be performed with employee analysis software to incorporate an employee development strategy measured in "hard-measures" (such as profitability and production) instead of "soft-metrics" (such as employee satisfaction).


How does one accomplish this?


First, use a qualitative grading system that minimizes subjective evaluations. QA software that uses abstract, static scoring methodologies does not allow for in-depth analysis to locate common problem areas among a global TSR base.


Static scoring also means you have to discard the monitoring scoring system employees know well. Such a transition is more complicated than may appear on the surface. Not only is your staff learning how to use the software and all the functionality available within it, they must learn a new qualitative methodology.


If the technology provider does not have a training program that educates users on how to implement the new scoring system and how to retrieve the value of the data from the reported output, then beware. You could be installing a solution that automates a currently manual process, but in a manner that causes new headaches, such as learning a new quality-assurance system. And, if it does not provide quantifiable marketing reporting, the software may have little impact or correlation to production and profitability.


Track Customer Reaction


Second, take advantage of the data from employee monitoring sessions. These sessions allow you to track customer reaction to products and cross-sell presentations and calculate how effectively each TSR interacts with the customer.


A relational database is crucial to capture this type of data. While scoring individual TSR skill sets, you can capture marketing-related data and cross-reference it to a particular marketing initiative or strategy. Such data includes the percentage of time that a cross-sell opportunity was sold or the percentage of time a cross-sell presentation generated a customer question and resulted in an additional product sale.


The result is an analysis of the most effective strategies in presenting products and cross-sell opportunities. The data is quantifiable and statistically valid to provide insight into training and management techniques that must be modified to improve employee behavior that affects call results.


You should be able to examine the marketing and employee skill set data for trends, with the reporting capabilities allowing for the calculation of improvement percentages. This provides the data to quantify the impact of adjustments made to employee development strategies (training, coaching and scripting).


The qualitative data should also possess the capability for historical tracking and global call center benchmarking. This allows you to set qualitative standards for your center as well as improvement goals for groups and individuals. All of this is possible through the development of a relational database and understanding how to effectively use such a tool.


Analyzing why customers make purchases and why particular products appeal to targeted customer segments assures on-going revenue generation from your customer base. Learning how to increase revenue per order is accomplished by developing marketing concepts based on the analysis of such data.


Employee development is the next link to increased revenue per order and customer order frequency. If you apply the same proven analytical techniques for product sales to the methodologies and tools available today for QA software, then QA software will become a highly useful call center tool.

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