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Quality Management

Practical information about call center recording software, call monitoring and quality assurance for contact centers

Scorecards Hints, Tips & Best Practices

Scorecards are a critical aspect of quality monitoring. Most scorecard elements are fairly standard: Calls can be scored on a 1-10 scale, or with the type of A-F letter grades we used to receive in school. Once grading is complete, the results can be shared with each agent, and additional training scheduled if needed.

Of course, it is also beneficial to have a unified call recording/call scoring WFO solution that will automate the review and evaluation process. That means faster and more accurate results in the form of reports and statistics, and a reliable blueprint for necessary revisions and updates based on the data provided.

The following blogs and articles offer more information on scorecards. Still have questions? Search for answers here.

Quality Monitoring: The Never-Ending Quest for a Better Call Center

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Maintaining quality, particularly in the customer experience, is critical in every aspect of call center operation. It’s at the heart of everything we do, from technology to agent screening to script creation. 

Quality monitoring is how call centers identify what is working and what isn’t. It is primarily a problem-solving system, but it also recognizes areas where things are going well, so those practices can be maintained. 

How can you get the most from your quality monitoring efforts? Here are a few tips that may help. 

Define “Quality”

It seems obvious, but still worth noting: You can’t assess which calls are successful until you have a standard for what constitutes a quality customer interaction. That takes into account not just the outcome of the call, but the manner of the agent, the total time required for the engagement, and how it met service levels and KPIs. This process is easier with a quality-monitoring tool that provides a comprehensive view of agent and call center performance. 

Review a wide range of calls before setting the benchmark for future success. The objective is to find the very best calls – ones that everyone involved agrees could not possibly have gone any better. Hopefully they won’t be too difficult to find!

Getting Agents Onboard

Initially some agents may view quality monitoring suspiciously, which is not only bad for morale, it could negatively impact the results of your efforts. Make it clear that monitoring is a company-wide necessity designed to make everyone – including managers – more successful at their positions. Make the process collaborative instead of authoritarian. 

A Reliable Process

Evaluation forms will likely be part of your QM program. These must be developed correctly, or every subsequent step might be impacted. Make sure you are asking the right questions and getting optimal results from them – that means the kind of responses that dovetail naturally into training and procedural changes to generate better results. 

The personnel assigned to head up QM will also be critical to the program’s success. Recruit a team to handle monitoring, evaluating and training, and make sure they have the expertise and the resources to do the job right. 

Call Scoring

This is another critical aspect of quality monitoring, so it is best decided with the participation of as many employees as possible. Divide each call into sections – greeting, closing, speed, issue resolution, courtesy, empathy, etc. – and then score each segment. This could be done with a letter grade like in school, or on a 1-10 scale. Then, compare results. Don’t be surprised if assessments vary – you are still early in the process and this is how you will determine what qualifies as a great call, a good one, and one that was not well-handled. The more participants become acclimated to the QM system, the closer the scores should get. 

Feedback and Dispute Resolution

Feedback is important throughout the process. At the outset you need feedback from your customers, which can be obtained through an advocacy survey. Don’t assume you know what they want or expect from your call center before asking them. 

Once monitoring has started, feedback may be handled through individual contact with agents, trainers and other personnel, or through group sessions where findings can be shared, and discussions can take place on how to best achieve whatever milestones were set. The more agents can be involved in this, the more likely they will be to buy into the process, and feel that their input is valued. 

Sometimes disputes may arise within a performance evaluation. If this happens, do not just dismiss the objection – schedule a re-evaluation conducted by another member of the team. 

Can you trust your agents to self-evaluate? Not at the beginning perhaps – but once they grasp how the process works many may be trusted to assess for themselves how well they are meeting the quality expectations of the call center. 

Check QM Against Other Call Centers

How does your call center fare compared to other call centers of similar size and function? Finding out via an outside agency that specializes in external benchmarking can provide a new perspective on how your business is performing. 

Recognize and Reward Success

When the quality numbers start trending in the right direction, make sure this is not unnoticed by all of your call center staff. Find a way to reward agents, coaches, trainers and other personnel for their contributions. 

The Right Technology 

Measuring quality manually is long and arduous process, that is made much more efficient when relevant data is accurately compiled and analyzed automatically. 

And yet, many contact centers have still not implemented an automated call monitoring solution, and are thus not gathering the measurable metrics that can only be garnered through effective call monitoring and evaluation. 

Before selecting a technology solution to be used in a quality monitoring effort, three questions should be asked: 

1. Will it improve agent performance?

2. Will the data we collect improve efficiency?

3. Will our call center monitoring solution protect us from a legal challenge?

Choose the Right Call Monitoring Software

Without the right software, a quality monitoring program is going to struggle. Monitoring of customer interactions should be simple for agents, and the intelligence gathered through the system should be easy to analyze for managers. Also, consider future growth – the software you select should be able to grow with your company, and meet your needs not only today but tomorrow. 

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Contact Center Service: Getting it Right the First Time

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Any expert in business or marketing will tell you that it’s easier to keep the customers you already have than to get new customers. But how can you convert first-time customers into reliable repeat business? 

Often, this responsibility falls on the contact center – and the agent that picks up the phone may have just one chance to get it right. 

This was the conclusion of a survey of more than 2,200 Americans by the PH Media Group. Almost 60% stated that if a first call to a company’s customer service line isn’t handled properly, they will not be calling again – or buying any more products from that company. 

If you are a business with products or services geared toward seniors, the news is even worse – 63% of those surveyed said you get one call to provide good service, and if you don’t they look elsewhere. And since seniors are still the group that is far more likely to contact a business via telephone rather than an online platform, it puts even more pressure on your agents. 

Millennials are slightly more forgiving, but more than half will leave as well after a negative call handling experience. That’s a more difficult loss, since with 18-24 year olds these could be customer relationships that will last decades. 

A Renewed Commitment to Service

The challenge is how to make certain that first-time callers are always treated right. That responsibility falls first on the agent, but managers have a role to play as well. They should have a reliable forecasting and scheduling system in place so there are always enough agents available to deliver quality service. They should be utilizing call recording for performance management, and making sure regular coaching and training sessions are scheduled to keep your team engaged. 

Well-trained agents and quality technology, working together, improve the likelihood of a successful resolution. 

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You Record Calls, but Do You also Score them?

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Recording calls is important, but it’s only the first step. Additional benefits from this technology can be derived from the efforts made to review and analyze recorded calls for information that can benefit customers, agents and company sales and marketing plans. 

Call scoring provides a systematic means to conduct these reviews, so they can be optimally used to improve quality management, agent performance and training.  

Scoring furnishes a means to identify the weakest areas of agent performance and, combined with a review of call recordings, paints a more precise picture of where agents need to improve, and the steps necessary to get there. 

The first step is to determine what elements are important in each customer engagement, and how each effort should be scored against these pre-determined criteria.

Most scorecard elements are fairly standard, and are derived from dividing a call into segments. Many contact centers use a basic open-middle-close format (how is the customer greeted, how is the problem or question resolved, how does the call end). Of course, most of the action takes place in the middle segment, so additional scrutiny here may be helpful – was the agent able to answer all questions? Was the agent friendly when the caller was hostile? Were any upsell opportunities missed? 

Calls can be scored on a 1-10 scale, or with the type of A-F letter grades we used to receive in school. Once grading is complete, the results can be shared with each agent, and additional training scheduled if needed. 

Of course, it is also beneficial to have a unified call recording/call scoring WFO solution that will automate the review and evaluation process. That means faster results, more accurate results in the form of reports and statistics, and a reliable blueprint for necessary revisions and updates based on the data provided. 

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Quality Scorecards for Call Centers: How Do They Work?

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Quality monitoring scorecards can be a valuable reference tool for determining which call center agents are doing well, which are missing key components of their customer interaction, and which need additional training.

While this practice has been in place since the 1980s, it is only with the advent of more sophisticated technology, such as call center quality management software, that scorecards have truly come into their own. If you are not using scorecards to track agent performance, it is time to consider doing so.

Scorecards work by capturing agent interactions with customers, primarily through call recording, and scoring them against pre-determined criteria. Contact centers will vary in their priorities, but some scorecard elements are fairly standard. These include dividing the call into segments and scoring how the agent performs in each one.

The easiest method of call division is a basic open-middle-close format. However, since the middle of the call is where most of interaction takes place, many call center scorecards will opt for further dissection and grading on separate elements such as answering questions, handling complaints, upsell attempts, preparedness, courtesy and personality.

Grading, which can take the form of a 1-10 scale or the letter grades we first received in elementary school, is conducted by managers who compare each agent’s performance to call center policy and best practices.

Once grading is complete, the results can be shared with each agent, and additional training can be scheduled if needed.

When introducing scorecards for the first time, reassure agents that this is not a form of punishment, but a way to boost overall performance, so everyone can learn from their mistakes and better serve the company’s customers. Tactful coaching can help to allay fears among those who do not score as well the first time out. Make sure to recognize and reward improvement, as this goes a long way to boosting agent morale and assuring continued focus and dedication.

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Do you use Quality Scorecards in your Call Center?

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Call Centre Quality Scorecard - Monet Software
Call quality scoring and scorecards are a significant component of quality management (QM). Rating agent performance is one way to reward your outstanding team members and identify areas where other agents may need additional coaching and training. It can also be used to rank agents at each center as a way of performance management, or also as a way to improve staffing and scheduling based on skills.
Different call centers use different types of quality scorecards. But as a general rule the process should not be too complex. Here are three typical scorecard formats that generate results.

1. Dividing the call into many parts
In this scenario, every aspect of a call in separated and graded either on a 1-10 scale or a yes/no response to whether the agent handled that section correctly. Categories can include greeting, call opening, vocal quality, listening to customer, etiquette and closing.

2. Standard tasks vs. specific tasks
In this QM system, a call is divided into the parts of the call that should remain standard from customer to customer (the agent’s opening, close, upsell attempts, etc.), and those that are specific to each situation – alleviating the caller’s concerns, answering questions, handling complaints. Both sections are graded based on best practices and call center policy.

3. Open – middle – close
Another method is to divide the quality score form into three sections – call open, middle and close. “Open” covers the greeting, “close” covers the scripted sign-off, and the middle refers to the actual call interaction. Since this is the most important aspect of each call, grading should be weighted accordingly. The open and close could count for 25% each, with the remaining 50% devoted to the bulk of the customer conversation.

Whichever method is used, a quality management scorecard offers a valuable reference tool for determining which agents are doing well, which are missing key components of their customer interaction, and which need additional training. If you would like to learn more about this, please contact us for a personal demonstration of quality scorecards.

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