• Sharon Oatway

Designing a Call Center Quality Assurance Scorecard

Updated: Jan 20




What is a Quality Assurance Scorecard?


Whether you are embarking on a new contact center quality program or looking to raise-the-bar on your existing program, it all starts with defining your expectations: What is it you expect of your agents? You will know if an agent is performing to your standards by evaluating their interactions against these expectations. Ongoing quality monitoring – combined with timely coaching and feedback -- is the foundation upon which contact center performance is built.


The Quality Assurance Scorecard (or Quality Monitoring Scorecard) contains the criteria by which every interaction will be measured – whether it be a call, email, live chat, video chat, or back-office function. When combined, this criterion should reflect the kind of customer experience you want to deliver. These are often referred to as “Standards of Excellence” and often reflect best-practices in your industry.


Having the Right Perspective


Before you begin to build your QA Scorecard, it’s important to make sure you have the right perspective. That means understanding your company’s brand and the customers you serve. So, for example, if your brand promises to be “easy to do business with” then the criteria you use to measure each interaction should reflect that. If your company targets seniors on Medicare, then the criteria should contain elements related to their unique needs.

It is vital that you understand what your customers expect of you. Sometimes their expectations are shaped by their past experiences with your company or a competitor. Often it is formed through the day-to-day interactions they have in their lives with coffee shops, dry cleaners, restaurants, and more.


What is a Behavior-Based Standard?


There are two types of performance standards to consider: behavior and results. As managers, we tend to concern ourselves only with results. However, when we encourage the right behavior -- and that behavior is sustained over a period of time -- results will inevitably follow.


Behavior-based standards are those, which focus on a specific thing an agent is expected to do or say. They are always within the agent's control. For example, being courteous, asking the right questions, or asking for the order are all within an agent’s control. Whereas the time to serve the customer or how a product performs, may not be within their control.


Call center agents are often the bearers of bad news and can’t always deliver an experience that meets or exceeds the customer’s expectations. For example, if your goal is to ensure that 100% of customers would recommend your business to others, an agent can control how they respond to a customer’s request (e.g. tone of voice, empathy, questioning, etc.) but they cannot control other areas of the business, standard operating procedures or regulatory requirements to ensure the customer’s full satisfaction. It is unfair to measure an agent’s performance based on a standard that is not totally within their control.


Building Your Quality Assurance Scorecard


1. Understand the Flow


Every interaction will have a beginning, middle, and end. It helps to map out what an interaction may involve, and the skills needed at each point along the journey. For example, a Help Desk call or Live Chat session may include:


Beginning

  • Deliver a welcoming greeting

  • Ask for and use the customer’s name

  • Verify account details

Middle

  • Understand the root of the issue through questioning

  • Recap to ensure understanding

  • Express empathy

  • Demonstrate ownership

  • Manage dead air and lengthy holds

Ending

  • Confirm you have answered all the questions

  • Leave the customer feeling valued

Throughout

  • Be courteous and professional

  • Adjust communication to the customer’s unique needs

An email responding to a Customer Service issue may include some of the same expectations but will be stated differently:


Beginning

  • Start with a personalized, welcoming greeting

  • Restate the reason for the inquiry

Middle

  • Express empathy

  • Demonstrate ownership

  • Answer all the questions contained in the email fully

Ending

  • Provide contact information for any further questions

  • Leave the customer feeling valued

Throughout

  • Be courteous and professional

  • Good spelling, grammar, and punctuation

TIP! It makes sense to put your standards in an order that aligns with a typical interaction flow. As QA Analysts listen to the call and/or read the email/chat you don’t want them having to jump all over the Scorecard.

2. Define the Standards


Now that you have identified in general terms what the company and customer's expectations are, it will be important to define what it ‘sounds’ or ‘looks’ like.


For example, a Welcoming Greeting may sound like: “Thank you for calling ABC Customer Service. This is Sharon. How may I help you today?”


But what are the characteristics of the greeting? What makes this a ‘welcoming’ greeting and what is a barrier? For example, for a greeting to be welcoming, it would have to:

  • Happen promptly (no dead air before answered)

  • Be energetic and upbeat

  • Be clear and easy for the customer to understand

  • Include the department name (if not already provided on an IVR) along with the agent’s name

  • Include an offer to help

TIP! If you are having trouble defining what a welcoming greeting sounds like, think about the characteristics of an inhospitable greeting.

3. Describe/Document the Standards


The most often-overlooked step in creating a powerful QA Scorecard is to document the standards. You cannot have too many examples or too much definition here. The ‘playbook’ makes sure that everyone has a common understanding of what the expectations are.

NOTE: If developing your scorecard and documenting your expectations seems like a daunting task (it certainly can be!), reach out to VereQuest for support in this area. We are able to draw upon best practices across industries to create a scorecard that best aligns with your brand and the kind of experience you want to deliver.

Your QA Scorecard Playbook will start to take shape and may look something like this:

Sample of Call Center Quality Assurance Scorecard

Once you have a detailed description of all your standards, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Collectively, do the standards reflect the kind of experience you want to achieve?

  2. Do the standards reflect your company’s brand?

  3. Are the standards behavior-based? Does the agent have full control over meeting these expectations?


4. Weight the Standards


Not all standards are equal when it comes to creating the best possible customer experience. With that in mind, it is important to weight each standard to reflect the impact it has on how the customer feels about the interaction. The higher the weighting, the more critical the requirement for adherence and coaching. Remember, everything is important, but some things are more important than others. Depending on the QA system you use, you can assign points or %.


EXAMPLE ONLY

Standard Weight/Points

Welcoming Greeting 5

Obtain/Use the Customer’s Name 2

Complete Authentication 8

Ask Curious Questions 10

Express Empathy 15

Take Ownership 15

Manage Dead Air/Holds 5

Demonstrate Courtesy/Professionalism 10

Problem Solving 20

Personalize Closing 10

TOTAL POSSIBLE SCORE 100


A couple of things to note:

  • Some of your standards may be mandatory, compliance-related behaviors that must be present in each interaction. They are critically important and may result in an Auto-Fail’.

  • If there are standards that your agents have been able to deliver consistently well and don’t need as much attention (e.g. a Welcoming Greeting) then, although you know that a great opening helps to build a positive interaction from the get-go, you may want to weight this standard lower in favor of another equally important standard that you want to reinforce and work on (e.g. Empathy).