Put Some Teeth in Your QA Program

I recently read a post by Jam Mayer in Call Center Scripts addressing the issue of customer service representatives (CSRs) who spend work time surfing the net. The post struck a chord with me because of an experience I had yesterday.

I’m spending the week on-site with a client, shadowing and mentoring their quality assessment (QA) coaches. Yesterday, one of the coaches was evaluating an e-mail. The QA software clearly showed that the agent surfed a soap opera forum for seven minutes before routing the customer’s e-mail back into queue for someone else to handle. Not good.

The first of Jam’s suggestions on this subject was “roll out a consequence management process.” BINGO!

Our group has audited the QA program for this client for the past few years. One of the issues we have continually addressed with them is the fact that their QA process has no carrot and no stick. There is no incentive for the CSR to do well, neither is there a consequence if the agent performs poorly. The result is that the entire QA program is an expensive “FYI” for their agents. The CSR who avoided work while keeping up on her favorite soap may receive a verbal reprimand, but the agents on the floor know that there is no real consequence other than – maybe – a stern lecture. I seriously doubt her behavior will change.

If you’re going to spend the time, energy and money to have a QA program, make sure that it effectively impacts the behavior of your CSRs. Behavior change happens when the process has some teeth. That is, when agents are held accountable and motivated to improve through both positive and negative reinforcement.

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