Putting a Fox in the QA Henhouse

I was reminded yesterday of an issue that we find surprisingly common in call center QA procedures. It’s very common for the scoring of calls to be delegated to front-line supervisors or managers. What amazes me is that these same supervisors and managers have incentives and bonuses based on their teams quality scores!

I like to believe the best of people. But, I also am a realist when it comes to human nature. If you put a well-meaning fox in the hen house – you shouldn’t be surprised to see feathers flying. If I’m scoring calls and I know that there will be a financial reward for me if the scores are positive – then it’s going to be awfully hard (maybe impossible) to be truly realistic and objective in my analysis.

The problem usually lies in the fact that call centers are hot-beds of activity where change is constant, turnover is tumultuous, and fires spring up on a regular basis. The atmosphere in a call center often forces managerial attention away from "important" strategic issues toward momentarily "urgent" issues. The result is that conflicts of interest in QA don’t even make it on the radar screen. The managers only concern is that they have some kind of QA score to send up the ladder when the report is due.

Maybe today is a good day to think strategically about your QA process. A good place to begin is to ask if the people scoring calls in your call center are receiving incentives based on the results of their analysis.  If they are, it’s probably time for an immediate change in s.o.p. – or maybe it’s time for an audit of your QA program!

  2 comments for “Putting a Fox in the QA Henhouse

  1. April 19, 2007 at 9:06 am

    Our strategy has always been for senior call takers to do call observations. The call scores of the folks they are rating are not a reflection of the observer’s success or failure as a mentor.
    Their is a deliverable for senior members as mentors to help their protege’s succeed. The QA score is a small part of career success. Also, parties who are being observed are shared and rotated by all senior members monthly. This means the folks they are observing may or may not be directly related to the person doing the observation.

  2. April 19, 2007 at 10:17 am

    What a great way to distance the relationship between CSR and Call Scorer. This takes away the conflict of interest and, hopefully, sets the Call Scorer to be an objective advocate for quality service.
    The idea of rotating scorers is also a great practice. We do that internally with our scoring, as well. It provides a variety for the analyst and ensures that the CSR can’t “blame the scorer” for their overall marks.
    Thanks for sharing!!

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