When we talk about quality as a concept, a few things usually come to mind. Some describe it as the degree of excellence of something (or someone!). Others may say it's about meeting certain expectations. Vague at best. But when we talk about quality in a chat evaluation, it's important to know what characteristics you're measuring and why.
ActivEngage Director of Messaging Operations, Randy Jeffrey, is no stranger to assessing chat quality. And, in this blog, he's sharing our trade secrets in how we conduct a chat evaluation to provide the best messaging service for car dealers.
Oh, hi! I'm Randy, the director of messaging operations here at ActivEngage.
Q: What does "quality" mean at ActivEngage?
Our job is to take the relatively complicated process that the car dealership has in selling a vehicle and give their consumer an experience that is at the level that they're shopping for. So quality for us isn't checking boxes; it isn't making sure that we hit on these very scripted points that other companies may have.
Our job is to take what the consumer brings to us that your shopper brings to us and leverage their experience along with your needs, whether that be in your region, your specials, the way that you want a customer being spoken to — to leverage that quality that you happen to want to be represented in the way that the consumer will best soak it in. That may come through using fun words in the south, that may be through mentioning specials in the north, that may be a dealer in Wisconsin that needs us to focus on a very specific thing that we bring an element that is completely different than anyone else that we can represent you in the best way.
And that is quality to us.
Q: Why is it essential to master the art of quality?
When it comes to messaging and quality in the written word, especially right now, we're obviously in the middle of a pandemic, and it's the holiday season. People may be on edge. People are dealing with things that they've never experienced before. You and I, we're all dealing with this. So when it comes to messaging and the written word, things can be taken out of context, translations cannot come through right, or people just may be feeling a certain type of way or sadness because of the holidays that the written word can impact significantly.
So what we try to do at ActivEngage with the quality of our conversation is to have fun with it and relate on the human level. It is extremely powerful to come into the conversation, and someone has to start their day with, "I haven't had my coffee yet. Sorry for the typo." And our team loves those opportunities to be able to say, "I haven't had my coffee yet this morning, either. I need to put a little pumpkin spice and to get things going." And that's why quality and messaging is so important. We're able to parlay the written word into something that can relate to people in unprecedented times, and just to get them to smile and make their day a little bit better through our conversations.
Q: How does ActivEngage make quality happen?
To make sure our conversations are of the highest quality, especially during these really challenging times, we're leveraging a team that has—our training and our quality team together—have 40 years combined experience just at ActivEngage alone. That's not combining the leadership time, the management time, the experience, and coaching; that is just time with ActivEngage understanding the consumer.
So to keep the conversation at its very highest, we have implemented quality evaluations. And we've even upped the ante for how we're trying to do them, including extra incentives for our team. We know that we need to connect on a whole new level during these times to make sure that the quality of what the customer is wanting is the same quality that the dealer is expecting, too. So, we've upped our game. We've upped our evaluations to make sure that people know this is the connection season, not just the messaging season.
Q: What's the chat evaluation process like step by step?
The quality evaluation has several points that I want to hit on, the first of which is the process that we go through. So, point one is we have our associates go through a chat evaluation every other week. So, they're graded bi-weekly on the conversations that they have. A conversation is pulled in a random sample size by our quality and training manager; she is looking to just make sure the associate had enough time to provide information to the customer.
Now the evaluations themselves fall under a 20-point grading system. There are 20 individual points that we asked our associates to meet, on the very top one being was the dealer representing the way that they are looking for. So we have dealer notes, and that allows us to represent the individual dealer however it is they would like to be represented like I spoke about in the first question. Other points that you'll see being met through that are: Were the responses timely to the customer? Were we engaged? Did we connect in opportunities that needed to? If someone brought up that they're shopping for their daughter because they had just graduated from college, it is an expectation that our associates take that opportunity to congratulate the daughter for graduating college because that is indeed very exciting, and we want to use that in the season of connecting.
There are also points in there, such as the closing. Closing is really important because no one likes to feel like "what's next?" So our responsibility is to transfer the relationship at the end of a conversation from our customer engagement experts to the internet sales team or the eCommerce team at the dealership. When a chat evaluation is completed, the supervisor of the individual will then go through the actual quality evaluation with the associate. If they miss points, the supervisor is then responsible for going through and making sure that the conversation is had because we have the human element and we're not, um, scripted.
There will be times where we do have to go back and give some feedback, and we view that as an extremely positive thing. Development and growth is huge within our evaluation. If it's an evaluation that went just perfectly amazing (it was an awesome evaluation to go through), we love reward, we love praise, and we find unique ways to make sure that our team knows that they're doing a really great job. After the evaluation is done, a quality and training manager will go through and calibrate the conversation just to make sure that all of our supervisors are on the same page with the evaluation and that they're all being represented in the same way with the same verbiage each time, so we have consistency and standardization.
On behalf of all of us here at ActivEngage, we hope you stay safe and healthy, and happy holidays!