I don’t know anything about your business. You may have 30,000 employees and be a Fortune 500 company. You may have twelve employees and barely making payroll. You could sell fidget spinners from China or sell a high-tech computer programming service. So, if I gave every business owner the same exact advice without first learning what makes his or her business tick, the results will be suspect. Some businesses would thrive from the advice. Others would crash and burn.
Yet, that’s precisely what many people expect from us. Without first looking under the hood about what makes their business run, they ask us the million-dollar question: How many quality evaluations should we be doing a month to accurately gauge service quality?
Then they wait for an answer, expecting us to throw out a tried and true number. Like, “You can’t go wrong if you do 127 quality evaluations every month. Do 126, and your business will tank. Do 128, and you’ll be wasting your time and expense. 127 IS the magic number.”
Sounds pretty ridiculous, right? However, by searching online, you could probably find a range of recommended quality evaluations for your industry. Here’s one common recommendation that we often see: 3 – 5% of total volume. By using these industry standard figures, companies find such different results even when using the same sample size. Why? Because it doesn’t take into account all of the important variables about that unique business.
As a result, we strongly advise against using these one-size-fits-all recommendations.
Sage Advantage has become one of the nation’s premier quality management service providers for call centers because we see every business as a unique opportunity. Your products or services are unique. Your team is unique. And certainly your customers are unique. Therefore your number or range of quality evaluations per month should also be unique.
Determining Your Ideal Quality Evaluation Quantity Using Critical Variables
After examining hundreds of businesses for quality evaluations, we’ve determined there are a number of variables needed to arrive at the recommended number of quality evaluations.
- The number of transactions (calls, emails or chats) that an agent handles
- The agent’s tenure — How long has the agent been with the company? Generally, newer agents receive more evaluations to reduce the learning curve and build good habits. We recommend that new hires should be receiving about 60% higher volume of evaluations their first month. If you typically do 8 evaluations per representative, we would suggest doing 12-13 the first month for any new hires.
Important Note: Not all tenured representatives deliver superior service. A recent study conducted by Sage Advantage showed a high percentage of experienced agents performed poorly when evaluated for the first time during a new call quality program.
- The nature of your business, service or product also plays an important role
- Ability to act: This includes the organization’s ability to analyze achievement results and the speed that information circulates through the quality process.
- Random Sampling: When pulling your sample, make sure you select calls evenly across the time period (week and month). Taking an effective random sample is one of the keys to keep volume of evaluations lower, which keeps costs under control.
- Quality Vs. Compliance: If you are evaluating compliance rather than quality, you may need a higher number of evaluations depending on the industry.
By considering these important variables, we can better provide a recommended valid sample size of quality evaluations.
Quality Outperforms Quantity In Your Evaluations
So, let’s say you take into account all of these variables and arrive at the ideal number of monthly evaluations for optimum results. You’re set, right? Not so fast…
After all, they’re called “Quality” Evaluations for a reason. The quality of evaluations as well as how the data is utilized are essential components. If done right, not only will you have the perfect number of evaluations per month, you’ll better be able to impact changing behaviors, improve performance and maintain (or improve) your level of service.
Quality starts with your form. Simply checking boxes is not enough. From these quality evaluations, you must provide the information supervisors and trainers need to affect positive change throughout your organization. We suggest detailing the subject of the call, how it transpired, as well as specific feedback tied directly to the quality criteria.
Through years of reviewing quality programs in just about every industry imaginable, we’ve noticed a common problem: The vast majority of companies do far too FEW evaluations for their representatives. We’ve seen examples such as this: A representative who handles an average of 35 calls a day — 735 calls a month — only receives between 2 and 4 evaluations a month.
That’s crazy! Not only is it not a valid sample size, with too few evaluations, you’re ultimately hurting your representatives, your customer service and your business!
Here at Sage, we’ve established a proven system that provides an ideal number of evaluations that feature the right criteria for improvement and results. We strive to help you establish evaluations that contain the direction, analysis and feedback necessary to improve training, review trends and adjust training. We also use targeted evaluations methodology to identify trends or problem areas.
At the end of the day, the organization has what they want: A quality program model featuring a valid sample size that’s perfect for their team, their customers and their growth.
Our Tested Method Consistently Produces Tangible Results
For years, the team at Sage Advantage has been testing, tweaking and improving our systems. Just as you evaluate your quality results and learn from them, we evaluate our systems, learn from them and work to improve them. We’ve tested our quality evaluation method across many contact centers and the data speaks for itself.
- One of our clients, a Growing Financial Services contact center, was doing 30 evaluations a month for each agent. Rather than increasing that number (and wasting their time and money), we actually reduced that number to 12. The results: they improved overall quality assurance scores and voice of the customer (VOC) feedback. Greater customer satisfaction and more sales while they also benefited from the cost savings in volume reduction!
- Another client, a Utility Company, was executing only 2 evaluations per month per agent. We evaluated their service delivery and built a quality program model around it. We increased their targeted evaluations to 8 per representative per month. The results: They significantly improved their quality of service and VOC.
So next time your team members are asking, “How many quality evaluations should we be doing per month?”, turn your focus away from that number. The quality of evaluations and the support process will always have a greater impact than simply increasing the volume.
You know your products, services, team members and customers better than anyone. That’s your world. Our world is in examining your quality of service, introducing a proven system to improve your training and your customer service that will help deliver the same impressive results we’ve seen countless times before. Greater customer service, higher retention rates, more sales and profits and even reduced costs.
Through our expert tools and analysis, you can dial-in the right volume and help you evaluate your service of quality. Request a free, no-obligation demo of our Sage Engineered Quality Program.