Twelve years ago, I created a vision board. On it, I had a specific vehicle, a goal of annual family vacations, antique office furniture, a whole new backyard, including patio furniture, and a playground for my kids, and a few other coveted things. I manifested every image I tacked on my board. EVERYTHING.
The success of my vision board is a lot like a project I’m working on with some of my clients.
When I work with customer service and marketing teams to improve customer interactions, I always ask some form of these questions:
After I deliver a customized, engaging customer service workshop, I help my clients reinforce the main ideas. One way I do that is by teaming up with the company’s Quality Assurance team. When working with the quality people to help make sure employees apply the soft skills I teach them, I find six typical mistakes. Here are the Six Common Mistakes Almost Everyone Makes In Quality Monitoring In Contact Centers.
1. Calculus-Difficult Scoring
In my last contact center job, the Quality Form that was in place when I started made me dizzy. One had to subtract, divide, and multiply to get the final score. My Dad, a retired mathematics teacher, may as well have created this form as an algebra project in word problem form for his middle school students.
Make scoring and interpreting your monitoring data as easy as reheating pizza in the microwave. Yes, I’m serious. We’re not preparing six-course culinary brilliance. We’re just trying to measure the customer experience.
Reviewing employees’ interactions and giving them guidance on how they’re doing go hand in hand, like a wick and flame. This seems obvious, but you’d be surprised to know how many companies take the time to rate customer service contacts – and then penalize employees for lousy performance without bothering to meet and discuss variances with employees. Employees expect and deserve feedback and guidance on their performance.
The goal was to motivate customer service employees to deliver a better customer experience by monitoring calls and giving feedback on calls. The manager carefully crafted a monitoring form, which would be used to measure everything from listening skills to friendliness, to empathy. Each dimension on the score sheet was rated on a 5-point scale after supervisors listened to a random sample of calls between employees and customers.
Two months into the new quality monitoring plan, employees were complaining about the “fairness” of scores, supervisors were stressed as they struggled to find time to listen to calls, coach employees and record all the data.
Just 5 months after introducing the new quality plan, management acknowledged that the project was thrown together without proper research or knowledge, it was too difficult to manage, and employees perceived the program as unfair. The entire plan was benched.
This, friends is an excellent example of how not to do a quality monitoring plan. Quality monitoring programs must motivate employees to perform at optimal levels, be easy to manage, and yes, they must be fair. Today I will explore with you 3 ways to Get Quality Monitoring Right.
When my daughter was 13, we re-did her bedroom to give her a teenage look. She picked out modern furniture from Ikea, lovely bedding and fun art that perfectly matched her style. Six years later my teenage son, now 16, pointed out, “You guys owe me a new room. Sissy got a new room when she was 13 and I’m 16 with the same room I had when I was little.”
My son felt we were being unfair to him by not redoing his room at exactly the same age as we did his sister’s. So, on Saturday night we went out and picked out his new room. We haven’t made the purchases yet, but the process is started! I didn’t think of the timing as being unfair, but that is certainly my son’s perception.
You, no doubt, have employees who notice the little (or big) things just like my son. This means you must take care to be fair and to be perceived as fair, particularly when it comes to performance feedback.
I remember managing a contact center and having an employee say to me, “Tammy does the exact same thing, yet the supervisor doesn’t take off points for her. I may not have a bubbly tone like Tammy, but I’m good with customers.” The employee was referring to the point distribution on her quality monitoring form versus Tammy’s points. Employees often came into my office to have discussions that were in one way or another just like this one. The problem was my people didn’t feel the supervisors were being fair. That was a problem.
It took me a short while, but I did eventually nip the unfairness dilemma in the bud. What I did is I began meeting weekly with my supervisors to calibrate. Calibration is simply:
I’m sitting at my desk, sipping my dark Italian roast latte and doing a run-through of tomorrow’s web training, “Coaching & Monitoring” and boy, am I excited! This is such an important training because it addresses head-on the 4 biggest challenges supervisors and managers face with monitoring and coaching customer service employee:
How to design the most effective monitoring form
How to address problem performance in the most diplomatic way
How to deal with whining and complaining employees
How to hold employees accountable for making improvement
So often I find that supervisors don’t monitor and coach consistently and if they are consistent with recording calls, they aren’t always strong and confident in giving constructive feedback. Without feedback, there really is no value in recording calls.
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