The Dilemma Between Quality and Quantity at The Call Center

The call center environment requires one to walk the tightrope between qualitative performance and quantitative output all the time. The Agents have to ensure complete customer satisfaction in the very first call, to boost their FCR. And at the same time they have to keep a check on the call duration otherwise it will stretch the AHT.

The Agents, and also their supervisors and management are usually torn between these two performance parameters. It is truly a tug of war situation to determine which one is a more important aspect to achieve – highest quality or maximum quantity.

There seem to be a section in the office, especially the marketing and operations division, which is most concerned with quantity. On the other hand, there is an entire department constituted just to monitor the quality and conduct random checks.

So the agents are usually confused about what should they focus more on. To save the employees from suffering from this dilemma, one of the first things that the management has to do is define a crystal clear performance metric.

The agents should have a consistent instruction about what their KRA really is. You cannot tell them to focus just on AHT today, without any regard to the FCR. And tomorrow reverse your instruction by thrusting on FCR, and overlooking AHT.

Conflicting directions by management are a sure recipe to get a completely confused staff. Beyond a point, the instructions will lose their value and the staff would ignore them. They will not work seriously and follow your orders, because they would know that contrary orders are also coming soon.

Therefore the management should deliberate and prepare one such KRA which will be consistently applicable for at least one whole year, until something drastic happens. The KRAs should be developed by keeping in mind the average employee, not the best one or the worst one.

And similarly KRAs should not be left to the discretion of the individual supervisor or quality manager. It is best to keep individual biases at bay, and develop a universal KRA which is made after brainstorming with everybody, and also then applies to everybody. Only then can we expect a level of standardization.
We follow this practice at Bluechip Callcenter, and that is why all our employees always have clarity of vision.

We would like to reiterate the example by Aubrey Daniel in his book called Bringing Out the Best in People. Imagine a doctor saying to a patient, “I’ve developed my own distinct style of surgery and I am going to try it on you. We will see if it works.” Call Center operation is also such a science and you cannot afford a trial and error method, not on your customers at least. Because even a single error can mar your reputation beyond repair!

So have standardized performance criteria that are good for you, good for the clients. And also good for quality and good for quantity!

Posted in Call Center.

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