Quality Scores Don’t Always Tell the Truth

ScoreIt is not uncommon for executive ranks and upper management to demand a report a quality score from the front-line. This is usually part of a broad-based performance management process within the corporation. While I applaud these efforts, I have witnessed situations in which getting a "score" is more important than the true service performance they represent.

  • One company has multiple divisions who measure "quality" differently. One division uses a demanding scale and strict methodology which makes front-line agents work hard to reach quality scores in the low to mid 90’s on a 100 point scale. Another division uses a forgiving scale and a "give them the points and coach them on it" methodology which results in CSRs getting scores of 98-100 without having to work at it. The result? Upper management sees two sets of scores. They think the division with the scores of 98 are much better than the division struggling to get to 95 (Yet, when customers are surveyed, guess which division gets far higher customer satisfaction rates?).
  • Another company has a scoring methodology which credits CSRs for behavioral elements that are "not applicable". The result is that a CSR can miss a few key elements on a short call in which only a few things applied. Because they are credited for all the things that didn’t apply, their QA score comes out looking stellar. While the call center recognizes that this methodology adds "noise" to the data and doesn’t really represent a true picture of the service provided – they don’t want to change because they’ve been given a mandate to hit a certain number on their quality scores by upper management – with no regard for what that number represents.

Management teams have a responsibility to hold their quality teams accountable for the validity of the quality process. If you tell a Call Center Manager "I want to see quality scores of 97 or better!" then that manager will ensure that you see those scores no matter how they have to manipulate the process to make sure that the scores come out high.

Do you care about your customer’s satisfaction – or just about meeting an internal metric?

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and viewmaker.

  5 comments for “Quality Scores Don’t Always Tell the Truth

  1. February 4, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    You bring up some valid points. There is a huge inconsistency in what is evaluated as well as how it is scored and many companies don’t know how to build a solid evaluation form with accurate scoring. I have also found too often that the “number” or “percentage” associated with quality becomes the determiner of success when actually, success should be measured by KPI’s associated with the skills on the evaluation form. For instance, if you are trying to drive First Call Resolution (FCR), then evaluating and coaching to skills such as asking probing questions, identifying customer needs and offering the appropriate solutions should drive that FCR and FCR should be what is measured. If a company can’t tie the individual skills on the form to KPI’s then perhaps they should abandon the skill.

  2. February 4, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    Great points, Connie. I would add another thought. Often, CSRs are held accountable for FCR when the reason that FCR was not acheived had nothing to do with the CSR but the policies, procedures, information or lack thereof that is provided to them by management.

  3. February 5, 2008 at 3:32 am

    Nice post, Tom. Good examples of what can happen when quality isn’t evaluated from the customer’s perspective and QA becomes more about CYA than TLC.

  4. Mark Heise
    February 13, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    I had an opportunity to address this with our manager this year when she asked me to ‘formalize’ our quality scores. I explained to her that I was much more interested in a holistic view and would prefer to offer a softer rating on how willing the team members were to adapt to feedback. She liked the explanation and all is well!

  5. February 13, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    Good for you, Mark! Congratulations on working towards a system that actually works towards improvement rather than just a meaningless “C.Y.A.” number. Let me know how it goes!

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