The Secret of this Team’s Success…

Analysis Analytics Bar graph Chart Data Information ConceptI scored a lot of calls today and it was really satisfying. The calls were fantastic. I mean, these calls were really World-class. I began working with this client years ago. They had no quality program in place. They had never monitored a call or coached their agents on service quality. Actually, when we began they could be described as decent. You might have said that they were very good – above average, even. That’s the thing. It’s one thing to help a customer service team who knows they’re bad. I think it’s a tougher job to take a team who’s doing well and motivate them to excellence.

This team is a good study in some of the keys to developing a consistent, world-class delivery:

  1. A management team that’s committed for the long-haul. This team had the same manager for several years. He was committed to developing a culture of quality and had the support of his superiors. No matter how much the front-line railed against the program or how wishy-washy the front-line supervisors may have been at times, the consistent message and commitment to quality has always been there.
  2. Outlast the critics. The QA program has not always been popular among the ranks. As is true whenever you start a quality program, there are plenty of crusty veterans who have been used to having the free-reign to do and say whatever they desire. Over the years, the nay-sayers on this team were quietly faced with three choices: get on board, retire or find another job. There are few of them left.
  3. Set a high expectation for new hires. This team has had turnover – like all call centers. This team implemented a new hire orientation training in which it’s clearly communicated that quality service and exemplary phone skills are mandatory.
  4. Individual accountability. The program for this client began by measuring and reporting team-based results. This was great to get the process started and to get front-line buy-in. You can only get so far with team-based reporting, however. This team let their program evolve until every team member received regular, individual feedback. Their QA scores are now a significant part of their annual performance review.
  5. Have fun rewarding performance. Through the years, this team has done a mixture of incentives. One year there were quarterly team rewards like going bowling for an hour at the end of the work day, taking a limo out for ice cream or having lunch in the board room. One popular incentive cost almost nothing – it allowed agents to throw a pie in their supervisor’s face. Another year, each agent who achieved a certain quality score got his/her name in a drawing for a major prize (like, $1500 nice). Perhaps the most motivating reward I’ve witnessed, however, comes from this team’s senior manager. He sends an e-mail or voice mail to every agent who achieves World-class QA scores and thanks them for their efforts.

I hate to think how many thousand phone calls I’ve scored from this team over the years. But listening to their calls today and hearing the difference…it feels pretty good.

  1 comment for “The Secret of this Team’s Success…

  1. Bright House Barb
    January 12, 2007 at 9:31 pm

    I am wondering about best practices amoung all our Quality teams out there. The main concern we struggle with is private location to actually hear the calls to really evaluate them to the best of our abilities. Where are your Quality people located in your centers?? Even if they are located behind closed doors they should frequently mingle with the floor and send invites for sessions…remain open doored to questions etc. What is the best practice here??

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