QA: Measure All You Want, but Measuring Alone Won’t Change Anything
Getting in shape and losing weight is a great analogy for call center quality assurance (unless you’ve decided your New Year’s fitness resolution was just so last year!). In a fitness program, we measure (or weigh) ourselves often – perhaps even daily. In quality assurance, we measure ourselves often as well – by evaluating calls.
But just as by stepping on the scale you won’t lose you any weight, measuring calls alone won’t deliver improvement. In fitness, we need diet and exercise. With QA, coaching and accountability are the diet and exercise.
Call Center Agent Coaching
‘The more coaching, the better’ is a mantra we drive home with clients. Coaching touch points are critical to making progress. The number of calls that can be used in coaching sessions is one of the criteria we use when determining the quantity of calls to evaluate. Remember coaching is the key to call center quality improvement – not just how much or how frequently you measure.
Point-of-Contact: Maximizing the Power of Coaching
Since coaching is the key to performance success, we recommend the use of additional coaching touchpoints to maximize the value.
Point-of-contact coaching is one such useful technique, in which a mystery call coach role-plays as a real customer with the agent. At the end of the call the agent identifies themselves, and then provides coaching on a few key behaviors. There are a number of benefits to this technique, including:
- Ensuring the coaching is immediate – it happens right away, at the end of the call, when the content is fresh and top-of-mind.
- Analyzing just a few specific behaviors, with the coach stating the goal and how to use the skill to achieve the goal.
- Interacting positively with the agent, and possibly incorporating a reward for achieving the desired behavior (learn more about employee incentive programs in this post).
Better Quality Assurance: Get Supervisors Involved
For a Quality Assurance program, the ideal coaching model is to involve supervisors in a consistent coaching process, training them to provide positive and specific feedback on as many call evaluations as possible. We advocate regularly-scheduled coaching sessions for everyone on a supervisor’s team – even high performers need encouragement!
Give Call Center Agents Knowledge to Empower Growth & Change
Sometimes, supervisors just aren’t available to provide coaching. In such cases, a common way to provide coaching comments is on the evaluation. The comments should be directed to the agent, and offer specific guidance along with examples of how to incorporate the behavior. Such a method assumes the agents are able to review their evaluations – which is something we encourage clients to allow. But with that being said, a self-coaching type of technique is strictly a last resort – and not a primary method of coaching.
Call Center Coaching Programs Demand Consistency
The only thing worse than not coaching at all is to implement an inconsistent coaching program. Whether a program relies on internal supervisors or mystery call coaches, consistency is crucial to the success of the program. Here are 3 recommendations for implementing a consistent call center coaching program:
- Perform regular calibrations to keep coaching fresh and consistent.
- Routinely hold ‘Coach the Coach’ sessions with the coaching team.
- Managers should be involved with the calibrations, but should also observe coaching sessions and provide coach feedback.
Improve Your Customer’s Experience
At CSR, we work across the full employee development cycle for call centers – beyond simply front line training and quality monitoring to also include coaching, tracking, analyzing and more to ensure results-oriented front line performance.
The objective of Call Center QA is simple: improve the customer’s experience with the front line, increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty to drive the bottom line.