Measuring 101 Percent

We have, quite often, run into companies who measure their CSRs on a Quality Assessment (QA) scale that goes to 100 percent. They have all these people getting 100s on their assessments and then the QA analyst or supervisor has a call where the CSR did a great job. They feel that "100" doesn’t quite capture how good this call really was, so they decide to add something to the scale so that the CSR can get more than 100 percent if they exhibit this or that "extra" behavior.

While I appreciate the intent of the management team to reward exemplary behavior, there are a couple of issues we take with this approach:

  • If most of your CSRs are getting 100s and you feel like you have to give "extra credit" to an exemplary call, then your scale is likely a measure of mediocrity. You have many CSRs who, by their nature, will never give you more than 100. "I got 100. That’s good enough. As long as I get 100 I’m happy." If scoring 100 is common, then your scale isn’t challenging people to reach for excellence.
  • If a behavior is worth rewarding, then it should be in your scale and set as an expectation for all your CSRs when it applies. Don’t make it an optional "extra" for those who want to do it, make it the expectation that every CSR should do it when it’s in their power and ability to do so.
  • There’s nothing wrong with setting a high standard. It’s tempting to lower the standard in order to make people "feel good", but feeling "good" is often a mask for feeling "complacent". Setting a high standard means that your CSRs are continuously challenged to improve and those who reach the high standard can honestly feel a sense of accomplishment.

The result of a high standard is that people will score 100 less frequently. That’s okay. You simply have to help your team understand that context of the score.

  2 comments for “Measuring 101 Percent

  1. David B
    September 5, 2007 at 11:35 am

    The trick then is to help the team understand the context of the score. I launched a 60% baseline Quality Guideline for a customer service project a few years back. I had numerous instructional sessions, and covered every communication vector I could think of.
    One point I specifically addressed was that the scale was designed so that a 60% score was acceptable.
    The first week after moving to the new guideline was chaos. Managers were contacting me continuously about the ‘poor’ results. Ironically, the agents seemed relatively positive about the change. They understood that the ceiling had been raised and they could get credit for actual achievement.

  2. September 5, 2007 at 12:43 pm

    Good point, David. It’s a tough cultural shift to get away from the “academic” mindset (94-100 is an “A”; 87-93 is a “B”; etc.). It’s nice to hear that you were able to do it successfully!

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