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Three Essential Quality Management Metrics for Contact Centers

listeningI’ve seen a lot of quality management metrics on a lot of dashboards, and with few exceptions, most are tracking similar items. What separates high-performing teams and contact centers is their ability to understand why the metrics are important and the various levers they can pull to improve them. In some cases, there are metrics beneath the metrics that leaders should be tracking to better understand how to improve.

In this article, I’ll share the three essential metrics for contact center quality management, discuss their importance, and talk about some of the supporting metrics required to actually improve them. Ultimately, you should gain a better understanding of how tracking these drives a better customer and employee experience.

Quality Compliance

With so many different contact center activities vying for supervisor time, quality management often gets pushed to the side. But taking time and attention away from this important activity that drives continuous improvement of the service provided to customers can be risky. To ensure that this doesn’t happen, quality compliance measures the number of customer interactions supervisors monitor in a given week or month against the amount they were required to monitor.

How many interactions should you monitor in your contact center? In short, I recommend determining a representative sample size based on the number of customer interactions you handle, and then also giving a bit more time and attention to helping lower-performing agents improve.

When we talk about quality compliance, there are a few supporting metrics that will add richness and meaning to this metric:

Coaching Completion - It’s one thing to complete a quality evaluation, and you might even email it to an agent. But for quality management to be completely effective, a coaching conversation needs to occur for every evaluated interaction.

Individual Agent Compliance Rate - This metric highlights the importance of giving more evaluation and coaching attention to the agents that really need it. Consider determining how many agents evaluations to analyze based on performance. You might reduce the number for top performers, and increase it for low performers.

Quality Percentage

Quality scores are always a fun topic in contact center circles, and there’s been an ongoing dialog around moving away from scores altogether.

Before I talk about quality percentage as a metric, allow me to differentiate between a score and a percentage. The score represents an elaborate system of points that may be presented to a contact center agent during a coaching session. For example, I’ve seen quality forms that asked supervisors to rate the accuracy of the information provided to a customer on a scale of one to ten. The coaching conversation then devolves into haggling over the difference between a four and a five rather than focusing on the most correct, complete answer possible.

A percentage instead is a gauge of completion of the required behaviors on a customer interaction. For example, if you have a quality form with ten items on it and the agent successfully completes nine of them, their quality percentage would be 90%. You might set the weight for certain behaviors heavier than others, but don’t go overboard. Keep the focus on the behavior, not the score.

Here are a couple of complementary metrics and practices to track that will enrich your quality percentage:

Individual Behavior Performance - You need to be able to break that quality percentage down and understand what behaviors require improvement. For example, you might have an item called “Greet the customer” that agents perfectly demonstrate on 95% of their customer interactions, but agents only correctly perform the “Demonstrates empathy” behavior 65% of the time. This means it’s time for empathy training in your contact center. Be sure to slice and dice the quality percentage at both the team and individual level.

Customer Satisfaction - What good is a quality percentage of 99% if customer satisfaction (CSAT) is at 79%? Sure, there may be policy and product issues impacting CSAT as well, but are you confident that your quality management process is properly evaluating the right behaviors to garner high CSAT? It’s important to keep an eye on this alignment and reevaluate your understanding of a good customer interaction as needed. If you instead measure NPS or Customer Effort Score following a transaction with the contact center, you can do a similar alignment check with those metrics.

Calibration Variance

The process of ensuring that all supervisors evaluate customer interactions in a consistent manner is called quality calibration. For many contact centers, this may simply equate to a meeting where the team reviews customer interactions together, discussing how the agent performed.

Why is this important? When you think about it, if supervisors aren’t in agreement on the required behaviors for successful interactions, customers will receive an inconsistent experience. I recommend tracking calibration variance to measure team alignment over time. Here’s a quick process to arrive at the metric:

  • Preselect a handful of interactions to review.
  • Have each team member review and evaluate the interactions separately and arrive at a quality percentage.
  • Come together and discuss the interactions, arriving at an agreed-upon percentage.
  • The average difference between the individual percentages and the agreed-upon percentage is your calibration variance.

    When you first begin quality calibration or make significant updates to your process, don’t be surprised if there’s a variance of 20% to 30%. With practice and thoughtful discussion, you should see this improve to somewhere around 5%.

    By gaining an understanding of the why behind quality management metrics, don’t be surprised if the metrics you’re tracking come alive and actually do their job in helping you drive both a better agent and customer experience.