Sipping My Dark Italian Roast and Doing a Run-through for, “Coaching & Monitoring”

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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:

  1. How to design the most effective monitoring form
  2. How to address problem performance in the most diplomatic way
  3. How to deal with whining and complaining employees
  4. 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.

Continue reading “Sipping My Dark Italian Roast and Doing a Run-through for, “Coaching & Monitoring””

How to Boost Your Quality Monitoring with Calibration – And Why You Must

A close-up image of a young Indian business woman and her colleagues standing in front of a whiteboard. The woman is smiling and writing on the board while the others look on.

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. It’s now 3 years later and my son is almost 14. The other day he came to me  and said, “You guys owe me a new room. Sissy got a new room when she was 13 and I’m almost 14 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 the 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: Continue reading “How to Boost Your Quality Monitoring with Calibration – And Why You Must”

3 Ways to Get Quality Contact Center Monitoring Right

If you can dream it, you can do it

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 plan 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 a really good 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 certainly they must be fair. Today I will explore with you 3 ways to Get Quality Monitoring Right.

One. Let Employees Listen to Their Own Calls

Dealing with problems is what I do

Continue reading “3 Ways to Get Quality Contact Center Monitoring Right”

Everything Contact Center Managers Need to Know About Quality Call Center Monitoring – On-Demand Video

Quality Call Center Monitoring – On-Demand Video 

Fine-tune your call monitoring program. Pick up vital new skills in quality contact center monitoring.

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In contact centers, a robust quality call monitoring program makes all the difference. A poorly conceived plan can result in de-motivated agents, frustrated supervisors, wasted time, and no improvements in quality. Join me for this encore presentation of a blockbuster webinar where you get cutting-edge advice on every aspect of setting up or fine-tuning your quality call monitoring program from the monitoring form to measurements to coaching to monitoring methods.

Call Monitoring Agenda: 

The Monitoring Form: Simple tips and tricks that will position you to design (or enhance) your form like a pro! 

  • I’ll explain the five essential and straightforward components you MUST have on your monitoring form
  • Benchmark monitoring forms from superstar call centers
  • You’ll even get a sample email correspondence monitoring form
  • We’ll examine how to efficiently use Yes/No and Numerical scoring

With the discussion and information from the webinar, we are ready to get started and have even scheduled our first meeting to get it underway!

Debbie Riley, Consumer Affairs Supervisor, Giant Landover

Taking the Madness Out of the Method: What is the best way to monitor agents?

  • Get answers to your most pressing questions like “how often should we monitor?” and “how many calls do we need to monitor?”
  • Explore the 3 most useful call monitoring methods, including the pros and cons of each approach
  • Don’t get left behind…review cutting-edge advancements in call monitoring technology
  • Get more out of your monitoring software: Explore new trends in multiple
  • Get my resource list on the best call monitoring software packages on the market
  • Bonus:  I’ll supply you with a link to 100 questions you MUST ask any and all potential vendors of an automated quality monitoring system…proactively asking these questions can keep you from investing in a solution that is not a good fit for your needs and spare you from many sleepless nights and headaches down the road.

Making Sense of Measurements

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  • Learn to distinguish between styles and standards so that your evaluations are legally sound and fair (not to mention, more comfortable on you)
  • Establish clear, valid and measurable performance standards
  • Find out what’s off limits for measuring in quality monitoring and why

Your seminar has given me the tools to build {a} new incentive program.  I’m sure that my operators will appreciate the scoring process as well as the incentives.  I will appreciate the opportunity to be a better coach.

Jeri Chandler, Ivie & Associates, Inc.

Overcoming One of the Biggest Threats to Effective Coaching and Getting Agent Buy-In to Monitoring

  • I’ll reveal the one –and only- solution to solving the problem of inconsistent coaching among contact center supervisors
  • Explore 7 field-tested and proven tips (straight from the world-class centers of some of my clients) for overcoming agent resistance
  • We will review 8 common objections agents have to monitoring, and I’ll tell you exactly how to respond to every one of them

All About Calibration: Getting Every Supervisor On the Same Page: Nipping the consistency challenge in the bud

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  • Find out why it so easy for every supervisor to see (and rate) calls differently —and discovery what you can do about it
  • You’ll  get my 6-step easy method for holding productive calibration sessions that will ENSURE consistency among all supervisors who coach
  • Learn to distinguish between styles and standards so that your evaluations are legally sound and fair (not to mention, more comfortable on you)

Exceptional Value

Wondering how my registration fee compares to others? The  Resource Center for Customer Service Professionals currently has a seminar available called Monitoring and Coaching for Improved Call Center Performance. It is offered at 8 locations throughout the US at various times during the year.  The cost is $1,475 per person. If you had five supervisors attend, it would cost you $7,375, plus the travel expenses of each supervisor. My webinar delivers the same relevant content for a mere $299 for an UNLIMITED number of participants.

Quality Call Center Monitoring

Fine-tune your call monitoring program

Pick up vital new skills in quality call monitoring 

On-demand. Immediate download. Immediate viewing. Save and have it forever.

Download fee: $299. Purchase now.

“I really do love your webinars, Myra. They are very well done and extremely beneficial. I always find little helpful hints in your information.”

Kristy L. Bolen
Project Manager
Carlson Hotels Worldwide

 

How do we get call center agents to buy-in to a quality call monitoring and coaching program?

Hi. We’re looking for ways to create buy-in among our call center agents for our quality call monitoring program.

Myra’s answer to How do we get call center agents to buy-in to a quality call monitoring and coaching program? 

You’re in for a treat for this response because I’ve taken a segment right out of my Supervising, Coaching & Progressive Discipline Webinar and I’m sharing secrets lawyers use in the courtroom -secrets supervisors can apply immediately to prepare for difficult conversations with employees.

1. Give evidence of performance to employee. In litigation, prosecutors are required to turn all of their evidence over to the defense. In order to be fair to employees, supervisors need to do the same thing. Tony frequently received disturbing memos from his district manager about his poor performance on sales calls. “You failed to cover the Five Points for Sales Excellence with a customer last month. This is unacceptable.” Tony never received a monitoring sheet spelling out the discrepancies, never heard a tape of a recorded call, and he didn’t even have the opportunity to defend himself because the cowardly manager simply shot her message off in a cold blunt memo.

Giving feedback the way Tony’s district manager does is dangerous. It certainly isn’t motivating Tony to improve. Moreover, because the manager has provided no proof of the calls – no score sheet, no recording of the call, no date or time, and not even one specific statement about Tony’s alleged ineffectiveness – Tony can’t even defend his performance.

When monitoring and coaching employees, ALWAYS turn over the evidence of the call to them. This evidence may include a recorded call, Mystery Shopper score sheet, detailed notes from customer’s account, etc.

2. Prepare for employee performance meetings in advance. No attorney would conduct a direct examination or cross examination without thoroughly and carefully pre planning their questions. I always prepare a loose script prior to meeting with employees about problem performance, even though I don’t actually read from my script. Writing the discussion out reinforces it in my mind and allows me to be less concerned with covering all the basis and more concerned with my employee.

3. Ask open-ended questions. Asking a juror if they are for the death penalty yields a yes or no answer, but asking her how she feels about the death penalty gives the attorney the opportunity to learn more. Just the same, asking your employee if she thought the phone call in question was good will yield a yes or no answer, but asking her how she thought the call went gives her the opportunity to expound. My favorite open-ended coaching questions include: “If you could do this call over again, would you?” “Tell me about that caller.” “Is there anything else about this call/customer that I haven’t asked, but need to know?”

4. Don’t allow the “Twinkie Defense.” In court, defendants may stand behind a theory of the case called the “Twinkie Defense.” This theory tries to throw the jury off the trail by blaming the client’s bad actions on something else – he ate too many Twinkies, for instance, and was on a sugar high when he killed/robbed/raped/molested and therefore is not responsible for his actions. You may have encountered the Twinkie Defense with your employees: “I was late because traffic was unusually heavy and then when I got here the elevator was broken, therefore my tardiness is not my fault.” Decide that employees will be held accountable for their actions and don’t allow them to hide behind the Twinkie Defense. In response to the Twinkie Defense, you respond with, “This is about individual responsibility – not trying to hide behind excuses.”

What is quality monitoring calibration and what are the benefits?

What is calibration  in the quality monitoring process and what are the benefits?

What exactly is quality assurance calibration and why would a contact center need to do it.

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Myra’s answer to What is calibration and what are the benefits?

The dictionary definition is…

  1. To check, adjust, or determine by comparison with a standard (the graduations of a quantitative measuring instrument): calibrate a thermometer.
  2. To make corrections in; adjust: calibrated the polling procedures to ensure objectivity.

To calibrate is to gain consensus, as a  team, on what a quality contact (phone call, email, chat, letter) sounds like, looks like, and “feels” like so that every evaluator is rating the calls the same way.

Evaluators meet on a regular basis to “check, adjust, or determine by comparison with each other the standards set forth by the call center.

Some of the benefits of calibration include:

  • It improves the consistency among everyone who monitors.
  • Helps protect evaluators against being accused of favoritism.
  • It actually serves as a quality assurance mechanism for improving the quality monitoring process.

A few months ago I hosted a webinar entitled Call Monitoring and the recording is now available. This program has dozens of tips for more effective call monitoring, agent coaching, and it discusses call monitoring technology. I encourage you to take a look at this program, as it may give you great insight for your current challenges.  View my call monitoring training outline.