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Performance Management

Best Practices on using contact center metrics, reports, dashboard and key performance metrics (KPI) to optimize customer service

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Performance Management Hints, Tips & Best Practices

Performance Management: The Agent Assessment Form

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The fundamental goal of performance management is to promote and improve employee effectiveness. One important aspect of that undertaking is the agent assessment form.

The assessment form plays a central role in framing discussions between agents and managers with an aim toward setting specific performance goals, measuring progress, providing feedback and coaching for improved performance, and rewarding achievements. But the results won’t be as successful if the form does not provide the necessary content to move those discussions forward. 

The Basics

Let’s start with the obvious – the name of the agent, the assessment period under review, and the date of preparation. 

The Goals

There are two ways to proceed  – a standard list of goals for every contact center agent (faster response times, lower average handle time, more upsells, etc.) based on the objectives of the business and the areas that present the greatest ongoing challenges. This is where you would also list any attributes, or relative competencies, that you expect from every agent (teamwork, problem solving, etc.) Or, the form can be customized for each agent, providing specific areas where improvement is needed most.

The Ratings

How specifically do you wish to address performance? You could use a 1-10 scale, ten being the best – but that’s not as precise as it could be. What real difference is tangible between a 5 and a 6 rating – and if someone improved from a 6 to a 7, would that be cause for celebration?

Try fitting all answers into as few choices as possible. We prefer just three:

Exceeded expectations

Met expectations

Fell short of expectations

Each of these categories is clear and leaves little room for confusion. Plus, it will be more obvious when an agent moves up (or down) within such a limited scale, thus triggering greater reward or more training.  

The Signatures

Having the manager and agent both sign the assessment form might seem like a formality, but it’s still important. If the agent wishes to add any additional comments prior to signing, such feedback should be encouraged. You never know where the next great idea might come from.

Do you have any tips on assessment forms that have worked at your contact center? Share them on our Facebook page

Find out how Monet Metrics can turbo-charge your performance management efforts

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Four Tips to Become a Better Contact Center Leader

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The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things. – Ronald Reagan

Leadership is an essential quality for a contact center manager. But there are many different ways to lead. For decades the drill sergeant approach was among the most popular, but that’s not as effective anymore, especially with millennial employees. While enforcing business rules and maintaining discipline must always be considered, here are four tips that will make the intrinsic but harsher aspects of leadership more acceptable. 

1. Join the Team

Agents know the manager is in charge. But a good manager will send the message that we succeed as a team and we fail as a team. By presenting one’s self as an ally rather than an adversary, there is a better chance of inspiring better agent performance.

2. Lead by Example

“Do what I say, not what I do” is a recipe for a hostile work environment. The best managers follow the same rules as their employees, leading by example and demonstrating confidence in the policies that have been put in place.

3. Notice and Reward Performance

Focusing on team goals should not preclude recognizing outstanding individual performances. Reward those agents that go above and beyond. Doing so will have a positive effect not only on the person being recognized but his or her coworkers as well. When agents understand their efforts are appreciated, it will raise morale across the entire organization.

4. Listen

Agents are on the front lines of customer service, and they will have ideas on how methods or scripts can be altered to better serve customers. Listen to those ideas and reward those that are implemented. The more an agent feels like he or she is part of the company, the more likely they are to stick around.

Do you have any tips on effective contact center leadership? Share them on our Facebook page

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Accomplish Your Contact Center Goals with Roadmapping

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Business goals are like destinations. The best way to achieve them is to determine the path forward that will be most effective. If you were driving toward an actual destination, you’d use a road map.

For a contact center goal, you can do the same thing.

Roadmapping is a process that refers to the actions that must be taken, the steps that execute those actions, and the resources needed to achieve those steps. It’s a plan that turns a vision into reality.

For instance – your goal is to increase first-call resolution. The road map here will have that as the final destination. How do you get there?

Start by gathering a team of those whose work is integral to that objective: agents, managers, coaches, trainers, and customers if you can – if not, conduct a customer survey that asks what went wrong with that first call. In this research phase you are gathering facts and opinions from those involved.

Now the strategic planning can begin. Take a fresh look at components, such as your script. Review your forecasting and scheduling procedures. Are there times when an insufficient number of agents are working, which may prompt those that are extra-busy to wrap up calls faster to cut down on wait times?

At the end of this phase, you should have a series of steps that should lead to more first call resolutions. The final step is creating that road map, and making sure everyone in the organization is using that map and heading in the same direction toward the same goal.

Try making road mapping part of your performance management efforts. Monet Metrics can help with this as well. It helps you to easily track, analyze and manage agent, group and center performance to optimize your call center performance. With Monet, you can create a culture of accountability and self-motivation.

Find out more about Monet Metrics for Performance Management

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Three Ways to Motivate Your Agents (Besides Money)

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The old adage “you get what you pay for” may be true, but there are times when it is simply not possible to reward your best agents with the raises they may deserve.

Thankfully, there are other methods that can be just as successful, and keep those superstar agents from seeking other employment. Try these three ideas and let us know if they work!

1. Encouragement in Coaching

Too often, training sessions focus only on what an agent did wrong. After too many of those, the agent will either quit or tune out the feedback.

Agents that only get things wrong won’t be with you long anyway, so it’s safe to assume that the rest are doing a generally good job – there are just some areas where improvement is possible. Make training about what went well – praise the areas where each excels. And when some correction is needed, help them to understand why the change is necessary, so it doesn’t sound like criticism for the sake of criticism. 

2. Meet Your Customers

“Customer service is our top priority” is a nice slogan, but by itself it won’t motivate an agent to a better performance. However, such messages are more effective when delivered not from the manager, but from the customers themselves.

Share any customer data you have with agents, from surveys to interviews to recorded calls. Or take it one step further and set up one-on-one conversations between agents and your best customers. Let them meet the people that rely on them for a quality experience. If they can picture a real customer in their minds as they take every call, it will motivate them to bring their ‘A’ game every time.

3. Friendly Competitions

Divide the agents from each shift into two groups – boys against the girls, newcomers against the veterans, fans of opposing sports teams – and have them compete for better performance on specific customer service goals.

And here is one extra tip: Monet Metrics, which delivers the means to analyze agent performance, and personalized scorecards that motivate agents to self-manage their performance.

Find out more about Monet Metrics

What agent motivation techniques have worked at your contact center? Share them on our Facebook page

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Volunteer Projects Support Call Center Unity

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If you work with people you like, going to work every day is a little easier. And if you work for a company that seems to not only care about its employees but about the community as well, it can make you feel a little better about your job.

One way to achieve both of these goals at your contact center is by supporting volunteer projects.

Encouraging agents and other employees to participate in community projects is not just good for morale – it’s the right thing to do. It allows agents to help organizations that are important to them and it can generate some positive media coverage for your company as well.

There are two ways to go about this: one is to give each agent a few days of paid leave every year to pursue projects that will have a positive effect on morale and on the community. 

The advantage to this is that every agent will be able to make a difference for a cause they already care about. You should also encourage networking, as its possible agents will discover common causes, such as animal rescue, or cancer research, and work together for their benefit.

Another option is to have all of your agents, or all of the agents from a certain shift, choose a common cause that they can all help together. Perhaps that would mean giving up a few hours on a weekend to build homes for Habitat for Humanity, or organizing a fundraiser for a local nonprofit organization.

These are all good things to do in and of themselves. But you may be surprised at how much they will also help you achieve the quality and service goals you’ve set for your contact center.

According to a Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT survey, 61% of millennials said a volunteer program would be a factor “when choosing between two potential jobs with the same location, responsibilities, pay and benefits.”

Once on the job, employees also feel better about their corporations — and themselves — when they’re presented with the opportunity to volunteer. Deloitte found that over 50% of millennial employees that volunteer are very loyal toward their company, proud to work there, satisfied with their employer, and likely to recommend their company to a friend. their work culture as “very positive,” as compared to those who don’t volunteer.

Do you have any recommendations for nonprofit or other organizations that need volunteer help? Share them on our Facebook page

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Creating a Positive Call Center Work Culture

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To make customers happy, we have to make sure our employees are happy first.


If you are lucky enough to be someone’s employer, then you have a moral obligation to make sure people do look forward to coming to work in the morning.

--Whole Foods Market

You have to be a place that’s more than a paycheck for people.

--PF Chang’s

Those are quotes from three companies with little in common except for the following: They are very successful, and they recognize the importance of creating a positive workplace culture. 

Can this philosophy be translated to the contact center? Why not? It may be more of a challenge here, because most people that become contact center agents aspired to do something else - it can be a good job, but it’s not a “dream job.” Add to that the challenge of dealing with demanding customers, and the tedium that accompanies repetitive data entry tasks and script reading. 

Still, there are ways to encourage a positive culture. Let’s start with the obvious: a competitive salary with bonuses and incentives for those who excel, and a clean, pleasant working environment with a well-stocked break room. Also, make sure agents have the technology they need to deliver great customer service. 

Don’t discourage a little fun, especially when call volumes are down. Music, games, and dress-up days can all make going to work a little more enjoyable. 

The relationship between agents and management is critical to a positive work culture. Communication is key: when management listens to and welcomes feedback, and includes agents in decisions that affect the entire contact center, it makes for a more cohesive organization. 

Some agents look on that job as temporary – a stepping-stone to moving up within the company. Those that do so should be encouraged in this and even helped along the way. 

Do you have some tips for creating a positive work culture? Share them on our Facebook page

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Tips to Boost Speed and Accuracy in After-Call Work

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What do your agents do after a call or chat session ends? The answer may include updating a customer’s file with new information, or adding details to a new order, or perhaps even sending an email to someone else at the company to follow up on that customer’s case. 

All of this, which is sometimes referred to as after-call work (ACW) may be necessary but it takes time – time that could be spent with the next customer. Rushing through these post-call steps, however, can result in errors that will prove costly later on.

It’s a delicate balance (but what isn’t in this business?). Here are some ideas for maximizing the impact of ACW in the shortest amount of time. 


A lot of ACW is comprised of the same procedures. Instead of having agents enter the same text in a dozen different files every day – prepare a block of text that can be copied and pasted in a few seconds. 


Can agents type ‘cu’ instead of ‘customer’? Or ‘6’ instead of ‘Product 67850?’ Any type of shorthand, as long as it will be understood by anyone in the company who sees it, will save time.  


As with every aspect of contact center work, training delivers more positive results. Perhaps start with a greater focus on ACW with new agents, so they develop efficient habits from the outset. Then, make ACW reviews part of the scoring process you employ as part of your performance management strategy.

Time Management

The time between calls that is devoted to ACW can sometimes be extended by agents to include a quick chat with a fellow agent, or a check of one’s Facebook page or a visit to the break room. Try to keep such instances to a minimum. 

By incorporating after-call work into performance management, you can encourage both accountability and self-motivation, and bring the time numbers down to where they should be. 

Find out more about Monet’s Performance Management solution here

Or watch Monet Performance Management in action in this online demo

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Maximize Accountability Through Performance Management

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A recent Harvard Business Review study found that 46% of high-level managers were rated poorly when it comes to accountability. 

How is that defined? As holding people accountable for their job performance, especially when they are not performing up to the company’s standard. 

In the contact center it’s easy to just blame accountability issues on agents not doing their jobs. But sometimes it is the manager that has not created an environment that encourages outstanding performance and accountability. Are the goals of the contact center clearly defined? Does every agent understand them? Are there compensation/bonus policies in place that encourage improvement? Are some managers uncomfortable about confronting agents that are slipping, because they’d rather avoid conflict? 

And most importantly – are these managers setting a good example themselves?

Performance Management Is Key

One way to maximize accountability is with a consistent performance management program. 

What is performance management? It’s a process of motivating employees through setting goals, measuring progress, providing feedback and coaching for improved performance, and rewarding achievements. If executed correctly, there will be far less instances of any employee falling short of accountability standards. 

The place to start is with a unified/integrated workforce optimization system. Performance management encompasses a number of moving parts, and it’s necessary to have one system that connects all aspects of scheduling, skills, quality, metrics and compliance. Both qualitative and quantitative information should be incorporated to emerge with a comprehensive assessment of how your contact center is working. 

Once this data is accessible, the next step is to clearly define what metrics drive performance. These will vary by the type of business, and perhaps by its size or the product or service involved. But managers know when they are delivering customer service up to expectations, and the metrics that measure their efforts. 

Use these metrics to set and communicate goals – is the average handle time too long? Are customers waiting too long for an agent? Are product upsells below expectations? Once that to-do list is in place, make sure all personnel are on board and working toward the same standard. 

Now, the excitement begins. Invest in a contact center management system that makes tracking metrics easy through one dashboard, and allows for the ability to react to key metrics and make the kinds of changes (scheduling, call recording, shrinkage) that will impact performance immediately.

Which one will do it? We’re glad you asked. 

Find out more about Monet’s performance management solution

Or watch a demo to see our workforce optimization solution in action

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Who Makes the Final Call at Your Call Center?

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Last year, the Harvard Business Review interviewed 7,500 customer service representatives from more than 30 countries around the world. It found there were three types of business cultures in this sector: 


In these companies, everything is done “by the book”. Rules are established for how to handle situations, and no exceptions permitted. 

Personal Judgment 

Here, employees are allowed (and encouraged) to make decisions based on their best judgment and personal experience.

Group Judgment 

In this environment, employees seek guidance from other employees on the best way to handle situations, and use that feedback to impact their choices. 

You’ll find these cultures in contact centers as well. And adherence seems to be the one that is most prevalent. Personal judgment offers employees more autonomy, but can result in some agents delivering great service, and others falling short. 

It’s the network judgment model, according to the Harvard study, that delivers the most effective culture in terms of its positive impact on team performance and customer happiness. It empowers team members to make decisions, while informing those decisions with the experience and wisdom of their colleagues. 

With this arrangement, the answer to the question posed in the title of this blog is – everybody. 

If you are considering the adoption of a group judgment (also called network judgment) culture, here are some ideas to get started. 

  • More group activities: Bring agents, managers, coaches and trainers together to discuss how best to improve customer service
  • Agents training agents: Encourage experienced agents to work with new hires
  • Job switching: Let agents serve as managers for a day, and vice-versa. Let them see what the company looks like from another perspective
  • Hire team players: When interviewing prospective agents, look for those with a history of working well with others. Those that only have telecommuting experience, for instance, may have more difficulty with this transition. 
  • Encourage feedback: Whether it’s a Google community, regular meetings or a good old-fashioned suggestion box, make sure there are plenty of avenues available for sharing ideas. 
  • Performance Management: The right performance management solution can make it easier to set performance goals, and solicit the best ideas for achieving them. 

Monet Metrics helps you to easily track, analyze and manage agent, group and center performance to optimize your call center performance. With Monet you can create a culture of accountability and self-motivation.

Find out more about Monet Metrics

Or see Monet Metrics in action in this online demo

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Coming Soon: A Way to Salute Your Top Contact Center Team Members

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Over the years we’ve created several blogs about the importance of recognizing the top performers at your contact center. 

There are several ways to do this – but we’re about to introduce one more, and we think it’s pretty special.

Why? Because this is recognition that not just benefits the individual employee, but also offers a way to share knowledge about Monet solutions that could help other contact centers across the country achieve better customer service results. 

We’ll announce the details soon. In the meantime, start thinking about the agents, managers, coaches and trainers that make your contact center a better place. 

In the meantime, if you’re looking for some other ideas on how to motivate and reward your top performers, this blog might be of interest to you.

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Performance Management: 6 Tips to Turbo-Charge Your Efforts

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“Performance management” is something of a catch-all term that incorporates a wide range of management aspects, from planning to developing agent skills, to evaluating performance based on metrics and making adjustments accordingly.

It’s an essential process, and it can be a difficult one without software that tracks and analyzes the performance levels of your contact center team.

It is also a process that benefits from refined tactics and new strategies. If your procedures haven’t been revised in a while, here are six ideas that may be worth trying at your contact center.

1. Weekly Challenges

You pay attention to several KPIs – why not focus on one each week, and challenge your agents to improve performance? Start with first call resolution, for instance, and then move on to average handle time and average speed of answer.

2. An Email After Tough Calls

If a call did not go quite right, send an email to that customer (whether the issue was resolved or not). It’s an easy and free way to reinforce that customer relationship.

3. Brighten Things Up

How does your contact center look? A more appealing, colorful workspace almost always influences agent performance in a positive way.

4. Covert Espionage

Doesn’t that sound like fun? Your agents might enjoy it as well: have them pretend to be customers and call other contact centers to find out how they handle the same challenges you do every day. It’s a great way to measure your performance against the competition.

5. Friendly Competitions

Divide the agents from each shift into two groups – boys against the girls, newcomers against the veterans, fans of opposing sports teams – and have them compete for better performance on specific customer service goals.

6. Daily Team Meetings

A brief meeting every day can bring out for discussion issues that could impact customer service. This is also a good time to share customer feedback from emails or recorded calls.

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When Customer Complaints are a Good Thing

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No call center likes to hear complaints. But the sentiments of unhappy customers provide valuable data into a company’s products and services. 

Obviously, if a call center receives too many negative calls, it’s a sign that changes are needed. But if a call center receives almost no complaints, that’s not necessarily an indication that everything is wonderful. 

According to Lee Resource, for every customer complaint, there are 26 other unhappy customers who have remained silent. And a Financial Training Services study found that 96% of unhappy customers will not share their frustration with a company – they’ll just take their business elsewhere. 

And while some customers may not give negative feedback to a company, they will write negative reviews on Facebook, and on other online review sites. 

Why do they stay quiet? At some companies, the process of filing a complaint is too complicated (perhaps by design?) to be worth the effort. 

Some people just don’t feel comfortable expressing themselves that way. Others believe complaining doesn’t really accomplish anything. And some worry that if they identify an employee who did not provide good service, it might result in that employee being out of work. They might be upset, but they don’t want to be responsible for someone else getting fired. 

The bottom line: call centers may be missing out on negative feedback that could result in positive changes and better service. That is why it is important to make it as easy as possible for customers to share feedback and complaints – and to be proactive and solicit their opinions, good or bad. This can be achieved anonymously online, through surveys sent via email, or on social media. 

Don’t be afraid to ask how a customer would rate the service he or she received, why they chose that rating, and whether they would be open to being contacted for more information. When a customer feels their opinion really matters to a company, they are more likely to remain a customer. 

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Perfecting Your Performance Management

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Performance Management is something of a catch-all term that incorporates a wide range of management aspects, from planning to developing agent skills, to evaluating performance based on metrics and making adjustments accordingly. Most call centers engage in some form of performance management – unfortunately, many still rely solely on an annual review to determine how well they are doing.

The success of call center performance management requires an ongoing effort and regularly scheduled meetings throughout the year. 

Yes, we know it can be a challenge to find the time when there are so many other responsibilities that need to be handled. But automated workforce management (WFM) can make a significant difference in collecting and analyzing employee data, so effective agent management can be achieved in less time. 

Once you have that program in place with the help of WFM, here are some tips to make it more effective. 

Set Specific Goals

“We want to improve customer service and experience.” “We want to improve our training.” Great  – now how are you going to do it? The more specific you can get with your objectives, the more likely you will be to accomplish them. When you set more precise goals (“We want to lower our average handle time”), WFM will provide the data that can be used to make it happen. 

Provide Specific Feedback

Successful performance management relies on clear communication between managers and agents. This is particularly important when it comes to assessing performance and offering guidance for improvement. With the Performance Analysis component of WFM, managers have access to reports, statistics and analysis of all agent activities, including their schedule adherence and key performance indicators (KPIs). That will help to further target training sessions.  

Avoid Agent Burnout

Agents that are tired, bored, distracted or no longer engaged in their work are an issue faced at every call center. Replacement of such agents should be a last-ditch option, to avoid the cost of hiring and training someone new. Instead, try to accommodate agents with these issues as much as possible. Flexible scheduling makes it easier for agents to work shifts that are more convenient, and when they have that option they are likely to be more productive and provide better service. With WFM, shift-bidding and shift-swapping (with a manager’s approval) are streamlined, while holidays and other special events can be factored more efficiently into overall scheduling. 

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Getting the Most Out of Gamification

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To some it’s an effective way to create a positive workplace; to others it’s pandering to Millennials who don’t know the difference between work time and playtime.

We’re talking about gamification, the practice of redesigning everyday routines and tasks to be more game-like and interactive, resulting in experiences that are more engaging, more fun, and (hopefully) more productive.

Can this work to motivate employees in the contact center? Possibly – as long as there are not any negative consequences to the activities devised.

If you’re considering adding gamification to your call center, here are some questions to ask first. Once you have decided on the answers, you’ll have a better chance of success.

What do you want to achieve?

Is the objective to make work more fun, or do you want to use the games to improve agent skills? The more specific the objective, the more likely you’ll attain it. 

What will it take to win?

Games have winners, or they’re not much fun. What talents will agents have to display to emerge victorious? Hopefully, they’ll be the same talents necessary to be a better agent – initiative, creativity, attention to detail, etc. 

Who is going to play? 

Create activities that will appeal to the types of agents you have now. 

What will the winners receive?

Sure, a little recognition among one’s peers is always nice, but additional incentives will result in more enthusiastic participation. A gift card for a nice restaurant might work, or first choice of shifts for the next two weeks, or good old-fashioned cash. Try these and other ideas – it won’t take long to figure out which rewards are most well-received. 

What should I do when the game is over?

Don’t just review the results to see how agents performed. Gauge the responses and level of participation. Find out which agents showed the attributes needed to win and which did not, and adjust your coaching and training efforts accordingly. And get feedback from everyone involved to make sure the call center is on the right track.

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Five Tips for Improving Performance Management

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What is performance management? It’s a process of motivating employees through setting goals, measuring progress, providing feedback and coaching for improved performance, and rewarding achievements. 

In a call center this can be achieved through software applications that combine dashboards, analytics, workflow and data integration, all of which make it easier for managers to set specific performance goals and communicate them to agents and other personnel. 

Here are five tips to improve your performance management efforts: 

1. Prioritize

All of the key performance indicators are important, but some will be more critical than others to your customer service effort at this stage. For instance, average handle time might be an issue, but if too many calls are being abandoned because customers are hanging up before an agent greets them, that is the problem that should be addressed first.

2. Delegate

Identifying issues is only half the battle. Brainstorming a solution is the next step, but then you still need someone to implement it. As someone once said, a goal without a plan is just a dream. Put someone in charge of executing the plan. 

3. Set Realistic Goals

Chances are you won’t cut average handle time by 5 minutes per agent – but perhaps a 1-minute cut is possible, and when that time saved is added up over an entire month the savings will still be significant. Don’t focus only on quantitative objectives, where you can strive to hit a specific number that represents improvement. Set qualitative goals as well, such as challenging agents to be more courteous with each customer. 

4. Establish Positive Patterns

With goals and plans in place, identify the hurdles that stand in the way of consistent performance moving forward. Will additional training keep everyone on the right track? Would better forecasting and scheduling software improve the likelihood of success? Is it time to consider workforce management? 

5. Monitor and Repeat

Check your results, but don’t wait for the end of the week or month. Quality monitoring and tracking key call center metrics should be an ongoing process, as it may be possible to make additional changes to further optimize a call center process that is underperforming. Refine the system and then set new goals. 

Performance management is one of the most effective ways to improve contact center service – as long as the metrics are accurate and implemented in a way that bolsters the associated workflow functionality. This is not a one-time fix but an ongoing challenge that should become part of the call center’s everyday management procedures.

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More Call Center Quality Monitoring Tips

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We’ve covered quality monitoring (QM) before, but it’s such an important topic that there is always more to say, and more good ideas worth exploring. If your call center is still not getting the results you desire, try some of these tips.

A New Focus Every Month

Complacency can result from following the same quality monitoring formula every month. Rather than repeat the same procedures, review recorded calls and select the one issue where correction is needed most. Focus only on that one for the next 30 days, and then review the results at the next QM session. If positive changes have been made, move onto the next most pressing problem.


Recording customer calls will give you all the raw data you need for effective quality monitoring. But some call centers still find it beneficial to test agents, especially new ones, with specific challenges in a role-play scenario. These calls are then monitored just like an actual customer call, to determine if the agent is capable of handling these situations when the real thing comes along.

Agent Involvement

Your call center agents know it is their performances that are being scrutinized in QM sessions. They’ll feel better about this, and more responsive to its conclusions, if they are invited to be part of the process. That starts with the preparation of the QM checklist on what areas to review and where improvement is needed. If they are consulted in this effort they will be more invested in the result.

Agents can also be involved in the review process. Have them listen to calls from other agents and offer feedback. This also provides excellent preparation for listening to and reviewing their own calls. Some call center coaches have taken to not offering specific feedback, instead letting agents draw their own conclusions on how they can sharpen their skills. 

Equal Monitoring?

There is an inherent fairness in treating every call center agent equally, and devoting the same amount of time to reviewing their performances via quality monitoring. But given the limited time and personnel resources available, it makes more sense to spend less time with agents who are excelling, and more time bringing those that are struggling up to speed.

What is ‘Quality’?

Before starting a QM program, a call center needs to define a quality customer interaction, and set benchmarks and standards for getting there. When everyone is in agreement on what constitutes a “good” call, this will make it easier to achieve the goals of the program.

Agent Reassurance/Rewards

Another benefit of including agents in the process, as described previously, is how it can ease tensions over QM sessions, and fears that they are being used as a way to get rid of slackers.

Quality management should be introduced in positive terms, as a way to improve both individual performance and that of the entire call center. Managers and trainers should place equal emphasis on great experiences, by saving the best calls and using them in training sessions. The agents responsible for those engagements should be rewarded for their fine work.

How is Your Competition Doing?

With QM you regularly measure call center performance internally, comparing this month’s results to last month’s and adjusting accordingly. For a fresh perspective, compare your call center to a similar operation for another company. This type of external benchmarking may yield useful ideas on how to get better.

Dispute Resolution

What happens if an agent believes his or her evaluation was unfair? Have a system in place to review results – perhaps bring in a second manager or an experienced agent to provide another opinion.

Don’t Forget Customer Feedback

As your team prepares its monitoring process and quality definitions, some effort should be made to incorporate the views of the most important people in this equation – the customers you are trying to serve better. This information can be gathered from phone surveys or comment cards or social media, or by inviting customers in to attend focus groups. Following the initial implementation, customer feedback should remain an ongoing part of your QM strategy.

Review Evaluation Forms and Agent Scripts

When actors get stuck in a bad play they always say, “If it’s not on the page, it’s not on the stage.” That works with call centers as well. The evaluation form is a key cog in your QM routine, so review it and refine it to make sure the right questions are being asked, the scoring results are consistent and accurate, and the answers are prompting the right form of training. Similarly, make sure that any quality issues with agent performance are not coming from the script read to each customer.

Focus on High Value Calls

While every customer is important, some customer calls are more valuable than others when it comes to quality assurance. Focus on those that expose potential issues with new products or marketing campaigns, or those from the type of customers that are vital to your company’s success. Desktop analytics software can make it easier to locate these calls. 

Don’t Wait a Month

It’s not that quality monitoring can’t be effective with monthly meetings – but there are still things that can be done between those sessions to improve call center service. Some managers start each day reviewing the last five calls of a handful of agents from the previous day. Those notes can then be presented at the start of their shifts, or saved for the next QM meeting.

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Performance Management: What Not to Do

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There is a lot of advice out there on what to do to improve performance management (PM). We’re going to approach that question differently, with three tips on what not to do. Why? Perhaps by framing the advice this way, it will be easier for some call centers to realize that these mistakes are all too common. If you want to set a new goal for this challenge, the place to start might be in breaking some long-standing bad habits.

Don’t Do This: Set General Goals

Why try to hit specific numbers and performance targets?

“As long as things seemed headed in the right direction, that’s good enough.”

The problem with this approach is it doesn’t last. Without clearly defined goals agents tend to be less vigilant. The targets on KPIs should be established and disseminated to all personnel, with those who get there receiving acknowledgement and reward, while those who do not receive additional coaching and training. With the data delivered by a workforce management solution, call centers can know exactly where they are, and where they need to be.

Don’t Do This: Subjective Scores

Some performance management systems rate an agent on average handle time or quality of greeting on a 1-10 scale. The problem is what constitutes a ‘4’ or an ‘8’ or any other score in that range. One manager’s ‘6’ might be another’s ‘9.’ Scoring must be consistent, or agents will not buy into the program.

Don’t Do This: Deal With PM When It’s Convenient

When performance management reviews are not built into a weekly or monthly schedule, they are easily delayed when other business pops up and takes precedence. Scoring sessions and agent meetings and reviews should not be rescheduled unless a genuine crisis arises. If they are postponed regularly, agents will eventually realize they’re not that important to management – which suggests that performance itself is not a priority. That will impact how some agents do their jobs.

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How to Boost Productivity at your Call Center?

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Efficiency and productivity – that’s what it’s all about at the call center. 

The challenge with maintaining these attributes is that they don’t stop working all of a sudden. Productivity rarely drops suddenly – instead it slides, gradually, over a period of weeks and months until, left unchecked, a lower standard becomes the new normal. 

If this is happening at your call center, or you just want to be vigilant so it doesn’t occur in the future, here are some tips to keep your business on the right track. 

Consistent Training

Agent attrition is an ongoing concern at most call centers, and one of its most important components is the training of new agents to replace those that depart. If that training effort falters, a business will exchange qualified agents with less-qualified substitutes, and productivity is certain to suffer. A fresh look at both initial and ongoing training efforts may uncover the source of reduced efficiency. 


Does every agent know the numbers he or she is expected to achieve? Benchmarks should be clearly defined and reinforced. Rewards for those who get there consistently also encourage consistent productivity. 


Meetings are important – but when they happen too often, or run too long, they can also interfere with a call center’s ability to serve its customers. Hold them only when necessary, keep them on a strict time limit, and make sure they are attended only by those employees that need to be there. 

Speech Analytics

Among other benefits, speech analytics can expedite how customer information is updated, reducing wrap-up time on every call. 

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Call Center Performance Tips: Borrow from the Best

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Want to be a great baseball player? Study Kris Bryant’s swing. 

Want to run a great call center? Study how the best ones are getting things done. 

Maybe you don’t have time to travel the country visiting these successful businesses in person. That’s why we’ve collected some of their best advice and tips for better results. Hopefully they will work for you as well. 

Start with this: Make things as easy on the customer as possible. Some customers may appreciate exceptionally friendly service, but for most the top priority is getting an answer, placing an order (or whatever prompted the call), and then moving on with their lives. So emphasize speed of answer, technology that rapidly delivers the customer’s information to the agent, and allowing agents to provide what is needed without putting someone on hold or transferring the call. 

Are your communication channels fully integrated? That means knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each channel (ordering, conflict resolution etc.) and making sure well-trained and cross-trained agents are handling each interaction. 

Next, make sure your agents are engaged. That starts with measuring attrition and absenteeism to weed out those that aren’t cutting it, and perhaps using speech analytics to track performance. But if you demand great performance from agents, you need to give them something in return besides a paycheck – flexible working hours, extra help when they need it, and a path to advancement for those seeking something better. 

Is Net Promoter Score one of the KPIs you measure? It is at many top call centers. This gauges the likelihood of an average customer recommending or criticizing a business’s service. And it’s not enough to collect the data – you have to act on it. 

Finally, don’t look for answers outside the business when they might be available from your own teams. Companies routinely hire outside consultants to tell them what their customers are thinking, what they want, which products should be introduced and which should be discontinued. Before paying someone else a fee to deliver this data, investigate whether your agents and managers already have this information, and put them in charge of putting it together. 

By doing so, the company saves money while getting better answers, and offers an opportunity for agents to take on some executive-level business analysis, which may provide them with a path to career advancement.  

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The Benefits of Performance Management Software

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Performance Management is something of a catch-all term that incorporates a wide range of management aspects, from planning to developing agent skills, to evaluating performance based on metrics and making adjustments accordingly. Most call centers engage in some form of performance management, whether through ongoing meetings to assess progress or an annual review. 

It’s an essential process, and it can be a difficult one without software that tracks and analyzes the performance levels of your call center team. 

The analytics provided by Monet Metrics has made performance management faster and more accurate at a wide range of call centers. Data is delivered in a way that makes it easier to identify the skill sets of your agents, as well as any skill gaps that need to be filled by additional training. 

What used to require stacks of paperwork and tedious manual operations now gets completed automatically; saving valuable work hours that can now be devoted to other tasks. 

Is Monet Metrics your best option?

Obviously we think so. But as you explore the different software selections available you’ll want to select the performance management system that best fits your call center’s needs. 

As you investigate, always keep in mind that performance management is only as good as the data it receives. Your workforce management and quality management efforts, as well as those devoted to training and billing and other specialties, must collect accurate numbers for the system to work. With Monet, that’s never an issue. 

Performance management is one of the most effective ways to improve contact center service – as long as the metrics are accurate and implemented in a way that bolsters the associated workflow functionality. This is not a one-time fix but an ongoing program that should become part of a call center’s everyday management procedures.

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Robot Agents - Just Five Years Away?

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Automation has changed the day-to-day operations at call centers around the world, and has made the job of the agent easier.

But will the non-stop  advance of technology also make the job of the agent obsolete?

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, many of the 1.2 million call center positions in the Philippines may soon be replaced by customer service robots. This is happening primarily with non-agent positions - such as monitoring the performance of digital networks. But the article suggests that the robot agent revolution may be as close as five years away.

Will it happen in the U.S. as well? Certainly some companies may embrace the prospect if it means cutting costs - but no matter how it is implemented, these companies also run the risk of cutting customers as well.

In this political season rife with rob-calls, consider the frustration most of us experience in listening to recorded message that cannot be altered. Now apply that same principle to a contact center customer trying to ask a question or place an order.

An automated voice cannot make a customer feel appreciated. No matter how sincere the "We appreciate your business" recording is, many will think, "If you really appreciated my business, you'd hire someone to let me know in person."

And no matter how much foresight is applied to anticipating customer requests, there is no way to have an answer programmed to every question. Thus, several customers will still be forwarded to a live agent, and wonder why they couldn't receive that kind of attention in the first place.

We have all come to embrace cutting-edge technology as a boom to our businesses and our lives. But at some point it's wiser to take a step back, and understand that just because something is technologically possible, it doesn't mean it's better than what has gone before. 

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Back to Basics: Six Key Measurements

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Contact center managers have a lot of responsibilities, among them keeping track of various measurements that track efficiency and customer service. These six categories should be on every manager’s list. 

Measuring Forecast Accuracy 

An accurate forecast model relies on accurate historical data. Workforce optimization (WFO) delivers seasonal stats, monthly stats, daily stats, even numbers analyzing one portion of one hour, so variations can be determined and adjustments made accordingly. Special days and special events will also figure into these calculations – once again, the automated WFO solution will always be better and faster than a spreadsheet.  

Measuring Schedule Adherence

Schedule adherence plays a critical role in the success of any contact center. Workforce management (WFM) software makes the goal of optimal schedule adherence easier to achieve. Not only will the WFM-generated schedules provide more accurate information, they will make a dramatic change in the manager’s schedule as well. How long does it take to run all of the necessary numbers with a spreadsheet? With WFM, managers can access better numbers more quickly, so they have more time to address other issues, or leave the office on time for a change.

Measuring Quality

Several diverse components contribute to the quality management at a call center. Wouldn’t it be great if all of these components could be accurately evaluated from the same place? That’s one of the benefits of Monet Quality, technology that enhances workforce optimization and call recording capabilities, to deliver unprecedented insight into quality monitoring, performance trends and agent training needs. 

Measuring First Call Resolution

Few statistics are more important in a call center than First Call Resolution (FCR). When this is achieved a customer issue is solved with maximum efficiency, and the customer is much more likely to be satisfied with the call center encounter, and will remain a customer in the future. 

Measuring Employee Engagement

Workforce Management can play a prominent role in improving employee engagement, particularly as it pertains to schedule flexibility. Skill-based scheduling allows managers to better match agents with the types of calls they are most comfortable and experienced in handling.  This boosts both employee confidence and customer service. Flexible Schedules are also more easily managed with WFM, so agents can balance obligations in their personal lives with work responsibilities. 

Measuring Customer Experience

That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Measuring service is an obvious and necessary exercise for every call center manager. But service level should not be confused with the more comprehensive examination of customer experience. Once you’ve developed a strategy to track, measure and improve customer experience, you’ll have a road map to identify any systems and programs that need to be revised for optimal customer satisfaction.

The challenge comes from the reality that customer experience encompasses a wide range of touch-points within the company that a customer may encounter – email, website, store, chat, reps. While telephone engagements are just one piece of the puzzle, they are a particularly important piece. They provide an opportunity to find out about the other channels and aspects of customer experience, and to fix any problems. It’s also the time and place when most customers expect to be queried about the company, and may be more open to providing honest, direct and detailed feedback. 

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Performance Management: Time to Think Outside the Box?

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Change for its own sake rarely produces positive results. 

In a recent survey on performance management, more than three out of every four responses indicated that the performance management procedure in place at their respective companies could use some changes. 

But one-third of these respondents also admitted that they’re not just making the usual tweaks to the system – they’re going to try something bigger. 

For many, this involves shifting the focus to company culture and management. Rather than concentrate on ranking employee performance, which can be a prelude to firing those at the bottom of the list, businesses are looking instead at boosting employee feedback, making sure managers are more engaged in day-to-day activities, and instilling greater transparency. 

Transparency is particularly important, given that more than 60% of employees do not believe the performance management rating they receive is accurate. If those employees are receiving feedback, coaching and encouragement throughout the year, rather than in one annual assessment, it may help to eliminate some of these conflicts. 

And when managers are more involved in the activity on the contact center floor, it creates a nurturing environment for agents at the contact center, which contributes to a more positive culture. Sophisticated software such as workforce optimization can create the temptation to let technology do all the work and deliver data to the manager’s office. But it is not a substitute for face-to-face communication. 

The performance management of the future will be based on such communication, as well as annual goals that will be presented not as an ultimatum to employees, but a shared challenge that will be met with everyone working together. 

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Performance Management and Agent Reviews

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Agent reviews should be a mandatory part of your contact center regimen. Your performance management results depend in part on knowing you have a capable, motivated team of agents working on behalf of your business and your customers. 

But what is the best way to handle these essential but sometimes challenging assignments? Most contact centers rely on one of two options: a company-wide review in which every agent receives their feedback at the same time (a focal review), or individual annual review sessions, dated from the day that each agent joined the company. 

It’s Your Anniversary! Now, Here’s What You’re Doing Wrong…

Of course, with new hires you probably won’t wait a full year before providing review feedback. But once any probation period has passed, the method of using annual written or verbal reviews has several advantages, starting with the obvious – it’s a logical approach that also makes it easier for managers to prepare, as they may only have 1-2 reviews in a week, as opposed to a focal approach, where the entire team is reviewed at the same time. 

This is also a reliable strategy if the crux of your review is a measurement of agent performance against the contact center customer service criteria, rather than against the performance of other agents. 

However, scheduling often proves more difficult with this method – nobody really enjoys agent reviews, so managers sometimes procrastinate, resulting in delays or sometimes even neglecting to do them at all. Plus, if performance reviews reveal a flaw in a company process that needs to be changed, doing so may be harder to implement throughout the entire contact center. 

You’re All Slackers. OK, Back to Work

The advantage of a focal review is getting all the reviews out of the way quickly. This always makes a difficult task more palatable. And because you’ll have performance review data on all of your agents at the same time, it’s easier to compare and contrast their performances, and provide updated guidance on new company policies to the entire team. On the down site, focal reviews take longer to prepare, especially at larger contact centers.

Whichever option you choose, the most important thing is to make sure the reviews get done. When management neglects the review aspect of performance management, it makes it easier for agents to neglect the responsibilities of their position. 

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Performance Management and Quality Monitoring: A Checklist for Success

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Is there such a thing as a quick fix when it comes to more effective performance management? Can one little change in attitude or procedure make a big difference in quality monitoring?

The answer is yes – and no. 

Both performance management and quality monitoring require coordinated planning and execution throughout the contact center. 

Performance management is something of a catch-all term that incorporates  a wide range of management aspects, from planning to developing agent skills, to evaluating performance based on metrics and making adjustments accordingly. Doing so will be more successful with a detailed plan of action. 

Likewise, creating an integrated quality monitoring program will take time and preparation, with particular focus on call recording, PCI compliance, quality scorecards and screen capturing

No quick fixes there. However, once the foundation for both programs is established, small changes can indeed pay significant dividends toward the ultimate goal of ensuring consistent, high quality service that meets or surpasses expectations. Here are a few that may help your performance management and quality monitoring endeavors.

Praise from the top

How often does your upper management team review calls? Have them listen to a few every week, and then contact the agents that did a great job and let them know their work is appreciated. 

Training doesn’t have to be boring

If training consists of the same procedures every week or month, agents will tune it out. Have trainers use varied methods to maintain a higher level of engagement. 

Quality monitoring starts (before) day one

While agents are still in the induction phase, introduce the QM system and expectations in place, and make sure they are aware of the criteria. 

Instant gratification

Praise and reward systems can be beneficial (more on some of these later) but there is no substitute for immediate positive feedback following a customer’s praise. If an email or a phone call contains that praise, don’t wait to share it with the group. 


This is obvious, but bears repeating. These programs require consistency, not just in how they are carried out by agents but how they are presented and maintained by supervisors.

Who watches the watchers?

Your coaches are entrusted with maximizing agent performance – but who is making sure that the coaches are doing their best? Their work must be regularly monitored as well. 

Group therapy

Individual call monitoring is important, but occasional group meetings to review calls may also be beneficial. 


Feedback won’t work unless it is clear and actionable. You can find out if this is the case by providing agents with feedback forms about coaches (they’ll love that anyway). Offer them a chance to confirm that they understand the assessment they received, and if the coach took their thoughts and opinions into consideration. 


Encourage a general climate of professionalism, not only in how agents communicate with customers but how they communicate with managers, coaches and their fellow agents. Once this becomes second-nature, performance will inevitably improve. 

Involve the QM team in agent recruitment

Your quality monitoring teams knows what to look for in outstanding agents. So why not involve them in the recruitment process? 

Positive reinforcement

Coaching and training sessions should not be dreaded by agents. If they are, something is wrong. Try starting each session with positive coaching – what the agent is doing well and how the call center is lucky to have them. Remind agents of the improvements they have already made. Then review areas where further improvement is possible and discuss ways to work together to get there. 

Include customers in performance management

Agents play a role in performance management, but customers do as well. Take their feedback into account. 


A lot of contact centers give out prizes to agents for consistent performance or specific moments of excellence. A free meal, a spa day, or a cash bonus works better than a trophy or a “job well done” certificate. 

Encourage peer discussion

You know your agents already talk about their jobs and customers (and probably  you as well) with each other. Set some time aside to allow them to get together and also talk about improving quality. Some very smart ideas may emerge from these sessions. 

The big picture

When discussing performance management with agents, tell them about the center’s greater goals and over-arching customer service strategy. The more they understand the big picture, the more they might buy into the program. 

Public or private coaching?

Some contact centers conduct coaching sessions in a closed office; others have these discussions out on the floor within earshot of other agents. There is no sure formula for which will be more effective at your contact center – so why not try both and see what happens?

Watch your language

Does anyone still use words like “demerits” or terms like “marked down” in coaching sessions? Use positive, supportive language instead. 

Grade calls in sections

Break each call into different sections for review purposes, such as: call open, courtesy, technical skills and compliance, efficiency, and closing. 

Don’t ignore the longer calls

Short calls are always desirable but not always possible. Sometimes you can learn more about agent performance, contact center issues and your QM strategy by reviewing longer calls. 

It’s ok to ask for help

If an agent is having difficulty answering a customer’s questions, he or she might be hesitant to forward that call to a supervisor if it reflects badly on their performance. But if that is the best way to keep that customer relationship, make sure the agent knows that doing so is the right step. 

Never stop improving

Did you achieve your quality goals? Great! Now, set new ones. Complacence is the enemy of every contact center. 

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A More Efficient Call Center in One Minute?

These are just some of the real-world benefits experienced after implementing Monet WFM software.

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