How many things should be measured on my Quality Monitoring Form?

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How many things should be measured on my Quality Monitoring Form?

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How often do you think about how many things you should be measuring on your Quality Monitoring Form? Considering that many contact centers change or update their monitoring form because of dissatisfaction every 18-months, you probably contemplate it too often.

Seeking your answers in benchmarking reports seems like an easy way to get some reassurance, but I warn you against it. The entire call center industry is crippled by this problem.

“The entire call center industry is crippled by this problem.” Click to Tweet

The issue with an effective quality monitoring process too easily becomes ‘how many things should I measure on my Quality Monitoring Form?’, but this is not the right question to ask. It’s too easy to focus on the number and even numbers are moving targets (do you count item sub-questions, etc).

Is it wise?

Ultimately, it is unwise to invest in a quality monitoring program that is limited in the amount of value that it returns. More does not equate to better. And most 20+ items to score deliver low value to the mission of delivering an experience that is both outstanding from the company and the customer perspectives.

This e-book was developed to help you get more value from your quality assurance program. “Do you have less than 20 scoring criteria to grade on your internal quality monitoring form?” is a question that is included in the 29 Quality Assurance Mistakes to Avoid ebook and self-assessment.

Since the question is asked on the assessment, you can guess that the number should be less than 20 and there’s a better than fair chance that yours has more than 20. Rarely have I seen a quality monitoring form with more than 20 criteria be effective.

“Rarely have I seen a quality monitoring form with more than 20 criteria be effective.” Click to Tweet

What makes 20+ things to score on your QA form a problem?

At first glance, does your quality monitoring form look like the outline for your kid’s English Literature class or like a pre-flight checklist than a list of criteria to determine the quality of a customer’s call, email, or chat session?

When you complete the form, does it take you twice as long as the entire call or interaction actually lasted? Yes, it does? Well, that’s a problem on so many levels but let’s start with the obvious – do you think it’s efficient or effective to take 15-minutes to review and document an interaction that only took 5-minutes to complete?

How many hours a day or over the course of a week is your team spending to complete the call evaluations? Some might say that the answer does not matter because the task is their job. Arguably though, their job is to contribute value to the Quality Assurance program therefore wasting time decreases the Return on Investment.

The Financial Impact

When you assign some dollar figures to the amount of time spent with ineffectual activities, the amount of money wasted adds up quickly. Sure, you think to yourself, each supervisor (or analyst) only has to review a meager 5 calls per agent each month. Well, that equates to 50 calls for a team of ten agents. Not bad, but there are 300 agents in the center that someone else is reviewing each month.

What if I told you that instead of each of the 30 supervisors spending 15 minutes reviewing each call (that on average is only 5 minutes long) that you could yield better results by spending no longer than the call? That means instead of a supervisor spending 750 minutes or 12.5 hours (5 calls for 10 agents for 15 minutes) per month evaluating calls, it could be done in only 4 hours or less and be more effective.

Each supervisor would have at least 8.5 more hours each month to be more productive in coaching agents to help them improve and grow. I know what you are thinking – tell me how!

What do you need?

Well, remember the question about what is the correct number of items to score on the QA form? This is where to begin. What’s needed is a critical evaluation of the items. First, the reason for this process is to assess the agent’s customer service performance based from the perspective of the company.

This means there will be standard rating items such as did the agent execute a proper greeting to begin the call. Look at the items on your form and cross out things that are not scored as per your company guidelines. You should not force the issue of listening for things as if you were the caller, like did the agent quickly understand the reason for the customer’s call.

“You should not force the issue of listening for things as if you were the caller.” Click to Tweet

Are you resisting? Okay then, define quickly. What is quickly for me or you may not be quickly for the customer. A customer calling on their lunch break while running errands is going to have a much different definition of quickly than the person calling on their day off who is relaxing on the patio enjoying the weather.

Get rid of it

How can you decide what the customer would say to that question? You shouldn’t because it’s potentially inaccurate and therefore unfair to the agent. So why are you wasting your time guessing in order to complete the checklist on the monitoring form? Delete that wasteful QA form question.

Now that you are looking at your form through those glasses, I bet you see that there are more of those types of questions requiring an assumption on behalf of the customer. Unless you can read minds, get rid of them! This is just a waste of time and adding no value to the process. In fact, in most cases, it’s damaging it. As we have all learned from Six Sigma – if it doesn’t add value, we don’t do it.

This chart summarizes research that we conducted to provide proof that certain criteria evaluated with the iQM (internal quality monitoring) form do not equal the callers’ evaluation of the service experience.

In this study, the iQM form included 17 items, seven of which could be directly compared to the caller evaluations (Take special note, this form only had 17 criteria, yet still had waste). We examined the iQM and eQM (external quality monitoring – customer grades the call) scores over a five-month period. There was virtually no relationship at all between the caller evaluation of the experience with the iQM scores.

The only statistically significant relationship was related to perceived interest in helping and tone, and this was not a strong relationship. More details about the quality monitoring case study are available for review.

Big Savings

What do you think was the result of this research on the Quality Assurance Program? The proof from the customers’ perspective that the iQM form was not effective underscored the need to let customers answer what the call center should not be guessing. And what’s even more exciting is that a significant savings was now possible.

The original iQM program included 17 items scored per call, 5 per month for 2,000 agents. This equated to 170,000 scores given per month, with 4 completed per hour, taking 2,500 hours (not including the feedback time).

To complete 2,500 hours of scoring, 17 FTE were used at $48,000 per year for a grand total of $816,000 (again, without feedback and coaching time). Removing the items that the customer already scores allowed for a large reallocation of resources.

Granted, this is a large company with many centers with a full-time QA team, but you will find a relative savings of direct cost and the same or better for indirect costs.

A Better Quality Monitoring Form

Take a moment to get back to basics. Remove all of the unnecessary criteria from your form and genuinely evaluate the quality of the call. Stop penalizing the agent from attempts to mind-read customers.

“Stop penalizing the agent from attempts to mind-read customers.” Click to Tweet

Let customers answer for themselves with an eQM (external quality monitoring) segment in your quality assurance program. You will not only be more efficient in completing the task of evaluating calls, you will also save a lot of money in the process, while adding more value from the quality assurance program.

As an example of just how much money could be saved, let’s assign some dollars to it. Using our example above, this is what you could expect to save simply by streamlining your internal quality monitoring evaluation form:

In addition to the money saved, you also free up a lot of valuable time. As we all know extra time is a priceless commodity in a contact center so any amount of time that can be freed up is money extremely well spent.

Need help?

If this formation above is totally clear for you to move forward, then you are all set. If the information above has caused confusion or does not give you what you need then let us know. We’ll review your form and give you feedback on what’s preventing you from experiencing greater success.

About Dr. Jodie Monger

Jodie Monger, Ph.D. is the president of Customer Relationship Metrics and a pioneer in voice of the customer research for the contact center industry. Before creating CRMetrics, she was the founding associate director of Purdue University's Center for Customer-Driven Quality.

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