Our group is currently working with one of our clients on a major overhaul of their quality program. With projects of this size, it is natural for things to take longer than planned. In a meeting a few weeks ago the discussion came up about when we would go “live” with the new Quality Assessment (QA) scorecard since the original deadline was fast approaching. The initial response was “we don’t see any reason not to implement as scheduled and start evaluating calls right away.” It did not take long, however, for the team to realize that it would be inappropriate for them to start evaluating Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) before they had even told the CSRs what behaviors the new QA scale evaluated. To their credit, the quality team and management chose to miss their deadline, push back implementation, and give their front-line associates the opportunity to learn what the scorecard contained before they began evaluating the agent’s phone calls with the new scorecard.
In retrospect, it seemed an obvious decision. Why wouldn’t you want to give your own associates the consideration to view the QA criteria and have an opportunity to change any necessary behaviors before you analyze their calls? As I thought about it on my drive home, I realized how often I find a lack of consideration in the corporate contact center.
- Marketing drops a promotion that will generate a spike in calls without ever consulting the contact centre or telling them what the promotion contains.
- CSRs are given an ultimatum to cut “talk time’ or “average handle time” without anyone taking the time to assess and find out tactical ways to do so (like identifying new shortcuts to commonly requested information, etc.).
- Changing a policy or procedure, then holding associates accountable before it’s been clearly communicated.
- IT procures and installs telephony, IVR, call recording, or other system software without consideration of how it will affect the call center’s ability to serve customers.
- A supervisor or QA team simply gives a CSR his or her “score” (e.g. “You got an 82 on your QA this month”), without any clear documentation regarding which behaviors they missed or a conversation/coaching about how the CSR can alter behavior and improve.
- Having QA criteria that is so broad and ill defined that a “QA Nazi” supervisor can use it to beat CSRs into submission with their own personally impossible expectations while a “QA Hippie” supervisor can use the same criteria to boost the team’s self-esteem by giving them all “100?s (turning the zeroes into smiley faces, of course).
As we near year end and are looking towards setting goals for 2011, perhaps one goal for all managers should be to identify areas of our process in which we act without consideration for those our actions will affect.