New CSRs Don’t Necessarily Hurt Service Quality

New_employeeIt’s funny, the things about which managers get concerned. When our group provides third party Quality Assessment and analyzes a client’s phone calls, it’s quite common for fearful managers to call about a host of issues that might hurt their quality scores. I understand their concerns. They have a senior manager or V.P. who will read the Service Quality Assessment reports and hold that person accountable for any drops in quality.

However, some managers’ concerns are ill-founded. Take the "new CSRs" concern. It is quite common for a manager or supervisor to call or write and e-mail letting us know that they have a new Customer Service Representative or a crop of new people on the phone. They are concerned that this new associate with limited experience (and sometimes insufficient training) will drastically hurt their service performance.

Data say otherwise.

In our 14 years of providing QA to companies of all shapes and sizes, our data has consistently revealed that new associates perform as well, if not better, than veteran CSRs in providing a quality service experience. In fact, we find that a team full of veterans could use an infusion of new blood from time-to-time.

A while back I was on the road training two groups of CSRs for a client call center. One group were Senior CSRs. Many of them perform well, though most have what I would call an "I’m good enough; What are you gonna do? Fire me?" attitude. Arms crossed, glazed stares, they paid scant attention to the data or the information about how they can improve.

The other group were made up of new CSRs fresh on the floor. This group was wide-eyed and paying full attention. They asked questions. They engaged with the data. They were taking notes. Eager to do a good job and prove themselves, they actively participated in the session so they could do a better job with their customers.

These two groups were a living word picture of why new CSRs don’t necessarily hurt your service quality. In fact, customers will often respond more positively to a new CSR who answers with an enthusiastic "That’s a great question. I’m sorry I don’t have that right at my fingertips. Do you mind if I put you on hold for a moment? I’ll be happy to get that that information for you!" than a crusty, monotone veteran who immediately grunts out the correct answer.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and Miss Distraction

3 thoughts on “New CSRs Don’t Necessarily Hurt Service Quality

  1. I think they key is also in the honest-to-goodness “I don’t have the answer but I’ll find it” mentality.
    I think that people respond better to CSRs when they get an authentic communication rather than a canned “this isn’t my department” answer to a question.
    It’s that human element again!

  2. This is so true.
    We are currently coming to the tail end of a huge ramp up of new staff and I can say with full confidence that our new staff are much more eager to do a good job than our older tenure staff.
    Our new staff are the ones consistently achieving 100% for their call quality, whereas the older tenure agents struggle to break bad habits that see them marked down.
    It is much more difficult for us to coach jaded staff than new agents who are willing to give it a go.

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