How to introduce contact centre agent self-scoring evaluations
Self-scoring is a great way to empower agents with self-reflection and self-development, whilst reinforcing understanding and awareness of quality guidelines. So how do you introduce it?
Self-scoring, self evaluations, self reflection, whatever you call it, it's the process where your frontline employees mark their own work, listen back to their own calls and evaluate their own performance against the same guidelines used by the quality team.
First off, lets be clear, we’re talking about an agent engagement tool rather than a quality assurance tool. We’re not suggesting you should be replacing a quality assurance framework or process with agent self-scoring. Instead, we’re talking about using this employee engagement tool as a performance management process. It's a great way to empower agents with self-reflection and self-development, whilst reinforcing understanding and awareness of quality guidelines.
In this post, I’m going to cover what you need to consider with introducing agent self-scoring:
- What is agent self-scoring and why should I consider introducing it?
- Which agents are best candidates for self-scoring?
- Six things to be aware of if you’re considering introducing agent self-scoring
- What are the business benefits of agent self-scoring?
What is self-scoring?
Used as a performance management tool for increasing agent engagement, this process gives agents the opportunity to succeed though self development and self reflection.
I’ve been working in contact centres for over 30 years and have seen my fair share of tactics to try and get agents closer to understanding quality. This includes getting an understanding of the importance of quality and the impact it can have on the rest of the business but also the impact that having a good understanding of quality can have on the agents own development and career options.
Having a good understanding of quality is having a good understanding of what 'good' looks like. It's also an understanding of the standards that are expected and what an agent needs to do to achieve and surpass them.
It seems a simple idea, but not all agents have the ability (or the drive) to know these things.
Should every agent be able to score themselves?
There will be a few agents within your team who might show interest in personal development, perhaps are interested to know more about the quality scoring and standards set by the company, or perhaps looking to broaden career options… these are your prime targets for agent self-scoring.
It’s fair to say that agent self-scoring isn’t for everyone. I wouldn’t recommend rolling it out to all as it suits an active learning style, where the student actively seeks out ways to improve. It could easily be met with a negative response if pushed out, so I really believe it should be treated as a performance opportunity for those that are genuinely interested – not a mandatory requirement and certainly not a way to skimp on your QA budget.
Six things to be aware of when introducing agent self-scoring
Involving agents in Quality isn’t easy. In fact – rolling out any change isn’t easy. As I’ve mentioned before, this isn’t something that you should just roll out and get agents to adopt. I’ve pulled together a list of things to be aware of and consider when looking to introduce this type of agent engagement tool within a team.
- Ensure your quality guidelines are extremely clear and well-written. Before rolling out any agent self-scoring, have a chat with your quality team and agents to see if the guidelines need a refresh.
- Make sure any agent self-scoring results are kept completely separate from any quality scoring results. They need to be using the same scorecards and guidelines, but results should not be used for team metrics. Be fair and consistent with reporting and use agent self-scoring for agent performance and development conversations only.
- We are our own worst critic. Be wary of agents scoring themselves too harshly, perhaps getting into too much detail and it having a detrimental impact on morale and performance. Perhaps look at calibrating agent self-scoring with peers or team leaders, to give them the confidence and reassurance they’re on the right track.
- Don’t underestimate the resource required for introducing agent self-scoring. This goes for both the agent and the team leader. Agents who want to self-score can always find a few spare minutes here and there to conduct their own evaluation, but the team leader will also need to find the time to train agents on how to evaluate using a scorecard against a set of guidelines and then the time to have any follow up conversations that result from the scoring.
- If you’re going to empower agents – be ready for challenges and open conversations. An agent might initially disagree with an official quality score, but given the chance to evaluate themselves against the same scorecard and guidelines.. you might find them have a better understanding of the outcome. Rather than seeing it as a challenge to a quality score, use it as an engagement tool to give the agent a better understanding of the accepted standards and the guidelines.
- Use all the data available to you through the agent scoring and guidelines to open up the conversations and drive better agent development paths. Dig into why certain standards are the level they are, what’s the bigger impact for the rest of the business?
- Consider agents may be looking for opportunities for career development. Self-scoring is a great chance to get involved in Quality Assurance as well as management tasks and coaching sessions. This is great way for self development for career progression and should have a great impact on employee engagement.
What are the business benefits of agent self-scoring?
Ultimately, the main goal here is to empower agents with their own development, get them closer to quality management and understanding what ‘good’ looks like. These three elements will have a natural impact on agents having better conversations with customers.
As an employee engagement tool, agent self-scoring is a way to keep agents motivated, invested in their own career development and performance and should aid attrition rates, sick days and reduce costs. It shows the business is capable of open and honest conversations with employees, shows there are opportunities for self development and reflection and for those that are interested, a potential insight into management, coaching or quality assurance roles.
Introducing agent self-scoring pretty much means you’re putting more resource into improvement. And that's a good thing!
The group of people who invest the time in themselves are also investing time in the improvement of the business. Better conversations with engaged agents means more engaged customers and a better customer experience.
The original version of this post appears on the Evaluagent blog here.
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Jaime has many years experience leading customer service operations and customer experience improvement teams and programmes for leading UK brands. As Head of Customer Insight and Improvement at Orange, he established the organisation’s first customer experience function and played a leading role in helping the company to top the JD Power...