Slow and Steady Wins the Race

One of the trends we’ve noticed through the years of doing Quality Assessment, training and coaching is that permanent behavior change is a slow process. You may have a mile-long list of habits you want a CSR to perform, but you shouldn’t expect a person to build lasting habits overnight. Too often we’ve witnessed CSRs hit the phones after a coaching or training session trying to do too much too soon. They do great for the first couple of calls but then with too on which to focus, they become discouraged and fall back into old patterns.

It’s been said that it takes 21 days to make a habit (or was is 51 days? maybe 30?). The key is to have only a couple of things on which to focus. If a CSR can focus on a couple of behaviors for 3-4 weeks, they will typically begin to build habits into lasting behaviors.

We’ve regularly ran contests to try and motivate people to work on their service skills. It’s amazing to watch the charts as people do really well for a short burst, but then their service level quickly drops back down to mediocre.

Steps to building good service habits:

  1. Make a list of all the behaviors you need to work on.
  2. Prioritize the list. Determine the behavior or behaviors (no more than three) that will have the greatest positive impact on your customers.
  3. Focus on these few behavior(s) daily until your realize that they have become an unconscious part of your service delivery.
  4. Replace the newly formed habit with the next behavior on your priority list.

Slow and steady improvement is the key to lasting behavior change. Slow and steady wins the race.

  2 comments for “Slow and Steady Wins the Race

  1. July 20, 2007 at 2:46 pm

    Thank you! You know, I was just sitting there today, after a couple of escalations, wondering if what I was doing there was doing any good. My boss assured me that it was, and gave me the stats to back it up. After two years of this QA system, things are starting to come together.
    Our previous monitoring plan was five calls per month per agent. The poor QA person never got to do it, because she was always asked to do surveys and things that were considered “more important.” I was on the floor for almost a year before I went into QA, and I only received five QAs in that period of time.
    I got the position when new management came into the picture, and they realized how important QA is. We got away from the live monitoring, and went to a total call recording system. I do nothing else other than QA, and I perform 15 per month per agent. It is working. I get discouraged at times, but it’s working, and yes, it’s worth it.

  2. July 21, 2007 at 9:37 am

    Good for you, Ann. Keep up the good work. I have not doubt that you’re having a huge impact on your call center, even though you may not feel like it on some days!

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