Traditional quality management solutions support standard processes of scoring, assessment and coaching. Metrics such as average handling time (AHT) are calculated automatically, and quality assurance specialists score calls based on standardized checklists. Then these evaluations are reported to managers, who schedule sessions to review and support employees to improve their quality scores.
It's a good system, and it works. But it could be even better. New quality management solutions offer capabilities that automate more quality processes than ever before. Analytics-driven quality assurance can analyze and score 100 percent of interactions and provide a more holistic view of contact center performance. Automated dashboards provide managers, evaluators and agents alike with insights into key metrics, and they further drive contact center goals and success. These solutions are fluid and robust. Their complex custom and out-of-the-box workflows also include automated self-assessment and coaching processes that enable employees and managers to further boost their performance.
The value of self-assessment and self-coaching has been confirmed by psychologists, educators and business experts. On its own, or combined with group and one-on-one coaching, self-coaching can improve performance. One study1 found that students who learned self-assessment strategies performed significantly better than those who didn't. Self-coaching also has shown2 its value in a business environment, and evidence suggests that it can surpass peer coaching in effectiveness. Similar trends have been recorded many times, both in educational settings and in the workplace.
In the contact center, self-assessment and self-coaching can enhance and supplement more traditional coaching models, in which supervisors send personalized coaching feedback -- such as links to knowledge resources, instructions and due dates -- as needed. Because quality is a vital factor in maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction, the added boost provided by self-assessment can determine the long-term survival of an organization.
The success of self-powered quality improvements for your employees depends on your ability to support them in their efforts:
1. Train your employees to self-assess and self-coach
Reviewing your own actions and thoughts isn't always instinctive. Just as employees have to learn how to use scripts, technology and recording tools, they need to learn how to self-assess and to understand the value it brings. Coach your employees on best practices, such as how to identify problem areas and deconstruct call recordings themselves. Be sure to explain why you are teaching them: "When we first start reflecting, it can feel like a burden," explains teaching expert Starr Sackstein3. "If students don't understand why they are doing it, then it will seem superfluous to them. Thus, it is crucial that we communicate to students why we reflect."
2. Provide thorough, reliable information
Don't just teach employees best practices; give them the information they need to act on them. Ensure that they have regular access to up-to-date scores. People who are struggling frequently don't know that they're having trouble, according to the researchers who defined the Dunning-Kruger effect4, a cognitive bias that causes individuals to assess their ability as much higher than it really is.
"…Incompetent people do not recognize —scratch that, cannot recognize —just how incompetent they are…. Poor performers — and we are all poor performers at some things — fail to see the flaws in their thinking or the answers they lack," explains David Dunning5.
Once people identify the areas that need improvement, they can correct themselves. This applies to quality management too. When employees have regular access to reports and dashboards reflecting their scores, they know whether they are performing well and when to reach out for additional support from peers or management.
3. Articulate expectations and set criteria
Learners need more than statistics about their own performance. In an educational environment6, students are much more likely to self-assess when they understand what their teacher's expectations are. To achieve this in the contact center, provide employees with clear outlines and guidance. Calibrate frequently so that everyone is working toward the same goal. Calibrations also improve the perception of transparency and fairness, which makes employees feel more confident that their efforts to self-direct will be rewarded.
Strong self-assessment and self-coaching skills can improve quality scores that in turn contribute to meeting and exceeding contact center goals. They're natural additions to traditional training programs and, with the capabilities now offered by top quality management solutions, are accessible to all.