“DANGER WILL ROBINSON!”

Robot
I was in a training session this morning and a front-line CSR questioned one of the elements in the QA scale. "This doesn’t make sense to me," he said. "I do it because I know I’ll be scored down if I don’t – but I don’t believe that I’m doing right by the customer."

DING!-DING!-DING!-DING! DANGER WILL ROBINSON!

Do you hear that? Whenever you hear a CSR say, "I do it just to get the points", that’s the sound of alarms going off telling you that there’s an issue that needs to be addressed. You want your QA scale to "make sense" and to promote behaviors that "do right by the customer". If your CSRs are questioning either, then it’s time to revisit the scale or to have a discussion with the agent because a couple of possibilities exist:

  • The QA scale could, indeed, be promoting a behavior that you didn’t intend. If you have a hard time justifying the element with your CSRs, then you need to ask why it’s in the scale in the first place. If it doesn’t make sense, delete it. If it makes sense but needs clarification then reword it. The scale is not the Constitution and it’s not Holy Scripture. You need to be able to change and refine it, as necessary (though changes should be made in a timely, ordered manner – too many changes too often only creates confusion and frustration).
  • There could be a calibration issue with the supervisors or QA analysts. You might have people interpreting and scoring the same element different ways. The fact that the CSR raised the alarm creates a great opportunity to meet with your QA team, review the element, and discuss how it’s being scored and coached.
  • The CSR could misunderstand the intent of that particular scale element and needs clarification. Pull the agent aside and explain to them why the element is in the scale, what is intended by the behavior, and what it accomplishes for the customer.
  • The CSR might understand why the element is there but they just don’t like doing it and do it "just to get the points". I find this happens with certain things like apologies or offering to help with other needs. In this case, a begrudging adherence is acceptable, if regrettable. I often find that certain behaviors begin with an CSR’s begrudging adherence, but eventually – as the agent builds a habit – they begin to understand and ultimately become critical of others who don’t do it.

When CSRs struggle with the scale, it’s easy for management to dismiss it as bad attitude or complaining. But, the CSRs struggle is great accountability and an opportunity for the process, and each person involved, to get better.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and drp.

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