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  • Writer's pictureSharon Oatway

Call Center Quality Monitoring Scores: The Good and The Bad

Call Center Agent with No and Yes signs

In the fast-paced world of call centers, where customer interactions are the currency of success, measuring agent performance is not just a matter of tracking numbers. It's about evaluating the quality of service, the efficacy of problem-solving skills, and the ability to leave a lasting positive impression on customers. At the heart of this evaluation lies the Quality Assurance score – a numerical representation of an agent's performance when compared with predetermined criteria. But are Quality Assurance scores helping or hindering agent performance? The answer is nuanced, reflecting a spectrum of opinions and experiences within the industry.


Understanding the Role of Call Center Quality Monitoring Scores

Before delving into call center agents' attitudes toward quality scores, it's essential to understand their significance within the context of call center operations. Quality scores typically encompass various aspects of the customer's experience with an agent, including knowledge, professionalism, ability to manage the customer's emotions, resolution, compliance adherence, overall call quality, and more. Collectively, each element of the Quality Monitoring Scorecard should reflect the kind of experience you are trying to deliver. QA scores serve as performance indicators, guiding agents toward delivering exceptional service and meeting organizational objectives.


Some organizations have abandoned the QA score in favor of a more qualitative measure of success, which has its own set of challenges. Here's our take on the positive and not-so-positive impact of using QA scores to measure agent performance.


Check out the following blog posts for tips and information about how to design and deliver a great Call Center Quality Monitoring program:


The Positive Outlook

For many call center agents, quality scores represent more than just numerical benchmarks – they are a source of motivation and validation. Here are some reasons why agents may view quality scores positively:


1. Clear Feedback Mechanism: Quality scores offer agents clear, quantifiable feedback on their performance. They provide insights into areas of strength and areas needing improvement, empowering agents to take proactive steps toward enhancing their skills and delivering better customer experiences.

2. Recognition and Rewards: High-quality scores are often associated with recognition and rewards within call centers. Agents who consistently achieve high scores may be eligible for incentives, bonuses, or advancement opportunities, fostering a sense of accomplishment and incentivizing continued excellence.

3. Benchmarking and Growth: Quality scores allow agents to benchmark their performance against predefined standards, industry averages, and each other. This benchmarking serves as a yardstick for growth, motivating agents to surpass their previous achievements and strive for continuous improvement.

4. Career Development: Performance scores can play a crucial role in agents' career development within the call center or the broader organization. Agents who consistently demonstrate high-quality interactions may be considered for promotions, leadership roles, or specialized training programs, offering avenues for professional advancement.


The Skeptical Perspective

Despite the potential benefits, not all call center agents view quality scores in a positive light. There are several reasons why some agents may harbor skepticism or resentment toward performance measurement systems:


1. Pressure and Stress: The pressure to achieve high-quality scores can create stress and anxiety among agents. Fear of disciplinary action or negative repercussions for low scores may lead to a tense work environment, detracting from the overall job satisfaction and well-being of agents.

2. Subjectivity and Inconsistency: Quality scoring systems can be perceived as subjective, particularly if the evaluation criteria are not transparent or consistently applied. Agents may feel that their performance is unfairly judged, leading to frustration and disillusionment with the system.

3. Gaming the System: In some cases, agents may resort to "gaming the system" by focusing solely on metrics that are easily quantifiable or by manipulating interactions to artificially inflate their scores. This behavior undermines the integrity of the quality monitoring process and erodes trust within the team.

4. Overemphasis on Metrics: A narrow focus on numerical scores may overshadow other aspects of agent performance, such as empathy, problem-solving skills, and rapport-building abilities. Agents may feel undervalued or overlooked if their contributions are not adequately recognized beyond quantitative metrics.


Bridging the Divide

The varying perspectives on quality scores underscore the complexity of performance measurement in call centers. While some agents embrace them as tools for growth and recognition, others perceive them as sources of stress and inequity. So, how can organizations bridge this divide and cultivate a more positive perception of quality scores among agents?


1. Transparent Communication: Organizations must communicate openly and transparently about the purpose, criteria, and implications of quality scores. Providing agents with clear expectations and actionable feedback fosters a sense of trust and fairness in the evaluation process.

2. Specific Feedback: Focusing solely on the QA score can be detrimental if agents are not provided with specific feedback about how to improve their performance. Instead of vague critiques that accompany a QA score, agents benefit from actionable insight into their strengths and weaknesses and how to improve the overall experience next time.

3. Balanced Approach to Evaluation: Organizations should adopt a balanced approach to performance evaluation instead of solely relying on numerical scores. This includes considering qualitative feedback, customer satisfaction ratings, and subjective assessments of agent behavior and demeanor.

4. Empowerment Through Training: Investing in training and development programs empowers agents to enhance their skills and adapt to evolving customer needs. Organizations can instill confidence and resilience in the face of performance challenges by equipping agents with the tools and resources they need to succeed.

5. Recognition Beyond Metrics: Recognizing and rewarding agents for their contributions goes beyond numerical scores. Celebrating achievements, acknowledging efforts to go above and beyond, and fostering a culture of appreciation cultivate a sense of belonging and motivation among agents.


Conclusion: Striving for Balance and Fairness

Quality Monitoring scores play a pivotal role in evaluating agent performance in the ongoing quest to optimize call center operations and deliver exceptional customer service. However, their effectiveness hinges on more than just numerical benchmarks – it requires a balanced approach that considers the diverse perspectives and experiences of call center agents.


Organizations can bridge the divide by fostering open communication, providing actionable and constructive feedback, and prioritizing agent empowerment and recognition. Ultimately, the goal is to create a work environment where agents feel valued, supported, and motivated to deliver their best, driving success for both the call center and the customers it serves.


 
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VereQuest has been helping companies of all sizes develop, manage, and support Quality Assurance and Contact Center e-learning programs since 2002. Need help building a customer service scorecard that reflects your brand? Want an independent, third-party perspective of your QA program and scorecard? Need help building your library of customer service skills training? Leverage our vast knowledge to build an Agent Performance program that builds and sustains agent performance over time. Call 1-866-920-2011 for a no-obligation discussion about what is possible, or contact us!

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