On the surface, it looks like a good idea: an agent’s front-line supervisor should be the one to analyze calls and be the call coach for his/her team. While it works in certain controlled circumstances, we have often witnessed it to be a recipe for long-term problems and inaccurate data.
- Tyranny of the Urgent. Front-line call center supervisors have a demanding job that pulls them in many directions each day. When call volumes are high, agents need help, management expects projects to be done on time and the to-do list is longer than can be humanly accomplished, the QA process quickly gets pushed to the back burner. It is common for us to watch management teams place the QA responsibility on supervisors only to be disappointed months later when it never gets done – or is done haphazardly.
- Clouded Judgement. Relational issues or other job performance problems can make it difficult or even impossible for supervisors to analyze a call objectively. Supervisors often unconsciously allow other job performance issues (attendance, attitude, personality conflicts) cloud their call analysis of the call, judging certain agents more harshly and giving other agents the benefit of the doubt.
- Conflict of Interest. Supervisors are often offered incentives based on their teams’ QA scores, but then they are given complete control of those scores. It has always amazed me that this conflict of interest is allowed to exist, but I’ve found it to be a common scenario. When supervisors know that the calls they’re scoring will impact their performance evaluation and possible monetary incentives, even the most honest individual will be tempted to be less than objective in his or her analysis.
If possible, use a dedicated QA analyst or team who can focus on quality assessment and coaching without other supervisory entanglements. If supervisors are used, they should routinely calibrate and their results should be regularly audited. An objective third-party may also be considered to provide cost-effective call analysis and/or routine audits.