How to Evaluate Call Center Agent Performance and Close the Gap

At ClearSource we believe all of our employees deserve to be happy and healthy. But how do we maintain this goal in an industry with horribly high turnover rates? With our refined agent performance evaluation strategy.

Find out how to evaluate call center agent performance in three simple but effective steps.

1. Defining the Agent’s Role

Before we can accurately assess and evaluate a call center agent’s performance, we must first define their role. Namely: why does this role exist? To accurately answer this question, we recommend looking at the role’s core responsibilities. 

Core Responsibilities

Core responsibilities are the assigned tasks unique to the skillset of the role and represent the best use of that person’s time.

For example, looking at your call center agents’ core responsibilities, you may find the following duties:

  • Guiding callers through troubleshooting or navigating
  • Reviewing customer account information
  • Providing satisfactory answers to caller questions and concerns
  • De-escalating situations with dissatisfied customers

Once you’ve identified those core responsibilities, you can define what success looks like in that role.

Defining Success

To ensure your definition of success is effective and measurable, we recommend establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) associated with the specific role. These KPIs should be related to the agent’s core responsibilities.

At ClearSource, we break our KPIs into two different categories:

  • Behavioral KPIs: These factors reflect an agent’s performance in tasks that are entirely within their control. For example, we would assess an agent’s ability to promptly answer a caller’s concerns as part of their quality assurance score.
  • Results-based KPIs: Results-based KPIs are factors an agent may influence but does not have direct control over. Using the same quality assurance score example, we may look at the caller’s customer satisfaction score. If they reported high satisfaction, we might conclude the agent positively affected the caller’s experience.

Pro Tip: We recommend focusing more on behavioral KPIs for entry-level positions, such as attendance and not going over on break time. Meanwhile, you should use more results-based KPIs for managerial positions, as managers will often have more influence over those results.

2. Identify the Gap Between Performance and Expectation

The next step to improving agent performance in call centers is identifying the gap between the agent’s performance and your expectations for their role. 

Note: It’s better to have the agent help identify these gaps -—this fosters better trust and understanding between managers and agents.

Here’s an easy example: you expect your agents to have a 100 percent quality assurance score. In your last review, you found their quality assurance score was only 90 percent. 

This is a gap.

In our experience, every gap has one of three root causes:

  • A lack of knowledge—the agent is unsure how they should complete their tasks.
  • A lack of commitment—the agent doesn’t want their role or isn’t committed to the company’s mission.
  • A lack of capacity—they don’t have the time or resources to do what is expected of them, often the result of life outside of work.

How do you know which of these three problems causes the performance gap? By talking to your agent. Understand where they’re coming from. Try to identify their pain points.

In short: listen. Your agent’s own words will unveil more about the agent than any KPI could ever hope to reveal.

3. Close the Gap

So far, we’ve assessed your agent’s performance and identified what’s keeping them from executing their jobs well. But how do you improve your call center performance? By creating a treatment plan.

Your treatment plan should directly reflect the root cause of the agent’s performance gap. Here are some ideas of how you can inspire improvement for each of those three problems

  • Knowledge gaps: Teach your agents what they need to know to be successful in their roles. Do this through one-on-one coaching or team-wide training. Then, have the agents explain what they learned back to you. This will confirm whether or not they retained what they learned.
  • Commitment gaps: Work with your agent to connect the dots between their role and their aspirations in life. Maybe they’ll use this job as a jumping-off point to their next career. Or, maybe they want to make more money to purchase a home or a new car. Show the agent how their performance in their current role can directly impact those goals.
  • Capacity problem: Reduce what’s being asked of the employee so their responsibilities meet their capabilities. Or work with that employee to be more efficient and increase their capacity.

A Path to Happier and More Effective Call Center Agents

Following this three-step process can improve your chances of fostering better relationships with your call center agents and making them more effective allies for your company.

If you need more help to inspire confidence in your staff, or if you’d like a call center that’s founded on these principles, contact ClearSource to find out how we can help.

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