I don’t know about you, but before I “sign up” for something that is time consuming and will require a lot of effort and resources, I want to fully understand its value — both to my call center and to the company. So if the thought of creating a Quality Standards Definitions Document (QSDD) for your company sounds like more trouble than it’s worth, hopefully this article will change your mind.
Let’s consider the big picture first. As a call center supervisor, my primary responsibility is to manage and improve the performance of my agents so they are better informed and skilled to provide the best possible service to our customers. One way of doing this is to follow these five basic steps of Performance Management:
- Define what is “healthy.”
- Gather data about current performance.
- Diagnose and categorize the situation.
- Apply the proper intervention.
- Monitor behaviors and follow up as needed.
The first step in this Performance Management process is to define the performance expectations—what we call “healthy.” In a call center, this is the description of all the things agents need to do to provide that best possible service. We want to have performance standards that are observable, measurable, and under the agent’s control. Most call centers have no problem identifying a list of quantitative performance standards, ones that can be easily tracked and measured from data provided by the ACD (Automatic Call Distributor) such as AHT (average handle time), ACW (after call work), ASA (average speed of answer), and number of calls handled, just to name a few. But what about performance standards for quality?
I suspect most of you have a quality monitoring program in place, complete with a call evaluation form that lists skills for quality specialists to evaluate when reviewing a recorded call. For many centers, this is where it ends. And the problem with this is that the quality evaluation criteria are not uniformly understood or applied consistently by its users (supervisors, quality specialists, team leads, and trainers) or its recipients…the agents! That’s why you need a comprehensive, detailed description of every single item on your quality evaluation form. It’s your reference tool filled with definitions, explanations and sample scenarios designed to make quality less ambiguous and subject to individual interpretation and more an objective measure of agent performance.
Creating your Call Center’s QSDD
Just to re-cap, the Quality Standards Definition Document is a detailed description of each behavior, skill or performance standard that appears on a quality monitoring evaluation form. Each definition states WHAT, WHEN, HOW and describes the related center GOAL(s). Let’s take a look at a few examples in an opening section of a call.
- Verifies customer address and phone number
- How? Ask customer for address and check information against Customer Account Screen. If different, update system before proceeding with call.
- When? During the opening of the call, following the greeting.
- Related center goal: To ensure company has correct contact points for future billing and marketing.
- Offers assistance
- How? Offering assistance is when you ask the caller to explain the reason(s) for their call. Examples: “Mr. Smith, how may I help you?” OR “How may I assist you today?”
- When? Once you have obtained the caller’s name and account information and verified information in CRM, offer assistance so the caller knows you are ready to listen to their reason for calling. This may also be a good time to use the customer name to help personalize the call and begin building a relationship.
- Related Center Goal:
- Call control: Offering assistance is a technique to transition the call from the opening/greeting to the discovery/identification. It allows you to control the pace of the call, taking the lead through questioning.
- Ownership: Offering assistance is the first step to taking ownership for the call and building trust.