Should CSRs Perform Their Own QA Assessment?

Bigstockphoto_Customer_Feedback_Survey_1564305 Our good friend at Call Centre Helper recently responded to this series of posts on who should do the Quality Assessment (QA) in the contact center, and suggested we've missed two alternatives: CSR self-assessment and technology based speech analytics. I think both of these options deserve consideration.

Let's start with a post about CSR sefl-assessment. Many call centers allow or require their Customer Service Rrepresentatives (CSRs) to listen to and assess their own calls. It can be a great training tool:

  • Individuals can listen without the pressure of feeling someone else's judgment. In call coaching situations, some CSRs are so nervous about having someone listening to their calls or judging their performance that they tend to miss the point of the process. By listening alone to their calls, a CSR can sometimes focus in on what took place in the call without these interpersonal distractions.
  • We tend to be our own worst critics. Individuals will regularly hear things that others don't. It is quite common in coaching sessions for CSRs to point out things they could have improved that didn't even occur to me. By having CSRs critique themselves, they may listen more critically than even an objective analyst, and that can be a huge motivator for some CSRs.
  • Having the CSR go through and assess the call using the QA scorecard engages them with the process and forces them to consider the behavioral standards. Many QA programs create contention simply because CSRs do not understand the criteria with which their conversations are analyzed, and don't understand how the process works. When a CSR sits down with the scorecard and analyzes their own calls, it forces them to think through how they performed on each behavioral element.

You'll notice I wrote that self-assessment is a great training tool. I don't believe that self-assessment is a great way to approach your QA program if you want to get a reliable, objective assessment of what took place on the phone. Self-assessment has its' drawbacks:

  • Having people grade themselves is inherently biased. If you want a reliable and statistically valid measurement of what's happening on the phone in your call center, you need someone other than the person who took the call to analyze the call.
  • Based on the personality and attitude of the CSR, individuals tend to be overly critical ("It was AWFUL. I sound TERRIBLE!") or not critical enough ("That was PERFECT. I heard nothing wrong with that call."). Sometimes CSRs get highly self-critical about a minute issue that makes little difference to the customer experience while missing larger behavioral elements that would impact the customer. Even with self-assessment, CSRs often need help interpreting what they are hearing.
  • Because individuals are so focused on their voice and their own performance, they tend to be blind to the larger policy or procedural issues that can be mined from QA calls by a more objective analyst who is trained to look at the bigger picture.

Self-assessment has its' place as part of the quality process, but our experience tells us that its strength lies in the training end of the program. If your QA program requires meaningful and objective data, then a more objective analyst is required.

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