Performance criteria

Customer Satisfaction Surveys: Stop Guessing What Customers Care About

What Matters to Your Customers?
Do your customers care if call center agents address them by name? Does it make a difference? What about product knowledge – should agents know every single product detail? If you don’t know, you should definitely find out – especially if you are training and measuring agents on a specific behavior such as using the customer’s name a few times.

How Important is Training for Call Center Supervisors & Managers?

Customer Service Starts With Coaching the Coaches
Many times when we think about Call Center Quality Assurance, we focus our attention on the front line agents. We also tend to focus most of the training & coaching in a customer service organization on customer service reps (CSRs). Front line agents can only perform to the level of quality they are trained to know.

Call Center Changes Afoot for 2016?

Over the last few weeks, I’ve read several roundup articles of predictions for the call center industry – most of which were written end-of-year in 2015. The predictions largely fell into one of two categories: technical or procedural (though there can be some overlap).

Relax the Call Center Script

I recently read a good Small Business Trends article (Encourage Customer Loyalty with Your Call Center) that discussed an issue I’ve previously mentioned in the context of Shake Shack: it is okay for call center agents to leave the script behind when dealing with customers.

CSR and the Training Cycle

In my last post on call center agent coaching, I mentioned the importance of employee development, and creating an atmosphere in which it’s a constant, ongoing focus. A commitment to call center employee development benefits both front-line personnel and the company. It’s a sure-fire way to consistently improve service, sales and customer satisfaction on the business side (bottom-line improvements), while also raising employee morale and retention.

Call & Contact Center Agent Accountability

Front line call center directors often find it difficult to develop and implement appropriate accountability processes. These challenges aren’t uncommon by any stretch: call centers are beehives of nonstop activity, and the number of agents is typically large…both factors making constant oversight challenging.

In a previous post on performance criteria and KSAs, I mentioned an absence of standards as a key mistake call centers can make. A “free-for-all-anything-goes” operation isn’t an easy job for call center agents, since it isn’t their ideal work environment. It may seem counterintuitive, but people are happier and more at ease in environments where they know precisely for what they are accountable. Knowing what their primary tasks are and how they fit into the larger corporate mission helps frontline call center personnel excel.

Most call centers understand they need to hold agents accountable for performance. At issue is how successful their accountability programs are and in what ways they can be improved.

Accountability – The Only Way to Achieve Optimal Call Center PerformanceThere is only one way to truly bring about and sustain peak performance in a call center: hold everyone accountable for performance, whether frontline employees or those who support the front line.

Here are six features of a successful call center front line accountability program:

  • Across-the-Board Consistency: Applying different standards to different personnel performing the same task is a big no-no. Measure all front line employees exactly the same way  – accurately and consistently.
  • Training: Front line employees should be trained on the standards for which they will be held accountable.
  • Coaching & Feedback: Frontline staff should be provided accurate and consistent coaching and feedback. Managers should develop plans for keeping the coaches accurate and consistent, and all coaches should be trained and certified to achieve this end.  One tip: utilize routine “coach the coach” sessions or reviews.
  • Technology: Use technology to track data and resolve issues. Companies should make use of evaluation software that updates automatically and provides at-a-glance results through a dashboard. Such systems make it easier for call center supervisors to track agent goals in real-time, and provide them with feedback. (At CSR, we aren’t in the software business – but as a service to our clients, we provide them the use of our comprehensive software reporting platform to ensure they have the right tools for success.)
  • Reporting & Data: Knowledge empowers team members. Share data (and reports) with everyone –especially frontline team members.   You can’t ask for better future performance when personnel have no measures by which to gauge their past or current performance.
  • Rewards & Consequences: Execute on performance utilizing a ‘Rewards & Consequences’ model.  Have a plan in place to document employee performance situations. Develop a reward plan that specifies where and when rewards are appropriate. You should also determine in advance the termination process and timing.  It is important to have the resources in place to offer employees remedial support, where needed.  But what happens when coaching and retraining aren’t working?  After the employee has had the appropriate remedial supports, you will need to proceed with the Consequences.  The termination plan should also be determined in advance and approved by your HR group.

What tools, techniques or tactics do you use to increase call agent accountability?

Call Center Quality Monitoring and Scoring: Five Things You May Not Know, But Should.

Monitoring, scoring and taking steps to improve call quality are the cornerstone of a successful call center operation, irrespective of industry or operational function – whether sales, inbound customer service or otherwise.

Call Center QA: Avoid These Five Common Performance Criteria Mistakes

Customized Performance Criteria Help Measure Development in Call Center QA Processes

In call center operations, properly-defined performance criteria are critical for measuring the professional growth & development of front line personnel and the success of the call center. Performance criteria are used to measure and evaluate the execution of given tasks.