Defining Success: Quality Model Thresholds

A common question we are asked by our clients is, “What is a best practice, or benchmark, for pass/fail thresholds on quality evaluation scores?” While there is never a one size fits all solution, there are some important determining factors every organization should keep in mind when developing their quality model and approach.

Pass and fail thresholds should be aligned with an organization’s business initiatives, impact to the customer, and overall performance improvements. A good place to start is with the strategic intent and expectations of your quality evaluation form.

  • Does your form support desired initiatives such as compliance, regulatory, sales, etc.?

  • Does your form support customer satisfaction objectives?

  • Does your form score according to agent behaviors you want to drive and does it support performance improvement opportunities?

Once you have ensured these key items are effectively laid out within your evaluation forms, the next step is to determine what it is that you need to measure and how are the scoring thresholds going to be used.  This is really where one size fits all does not fit at all. Let’s say you have a sales organization and you pay your employees based on commissions, you may need to set different performance levels and thresholds to determine that monetary amount.  As an example, here is what one organization’s thresholds may look like based on an evaluation form being scored with an overall 100%.  Of course the dollar amount or percentage of payout would be reflected per the organization’s appropriate pay scale levels.

  • 95% - 100% Bonus + Level 1 (x amount of $) payout

  • 90% - 94% Level 2 payout

  • 80% - 89% Level 3 payout

  • 70% - 79% Level 4 payout

  • 0% - 69% Level 5 payout

Keep in mind, not only should these thresholds be used for commission purposes, but also for coaching and performance plans.

Although some organizations have multiple needs for such thresholds as the example above, others may prefer to go with a different approach such as the following.

  • Exceeds expectations 95% - 100%

  • Meets expectations 90% - 94%

  • Needs Improvement 80% - 89%

  • Unacceptable 0% - 79%

They would then align these thresholds with the amount of coaching sessions required per employee, per determined time frame.

As you can see there are a variety of uses for score thresholds, however one fundamental item to keep in mind when determining the right thresholds for your organization is at what threshold does it start being impactful to your customers?  For example, typically if an employee is passing at 90% or better, there may not be anything of the 10% they missed that would negatively impact the customer’s experience and yet the 10% may still provide noticeable performance growth.  However when you see evaluation scores lower than 90%, what do you see with customer interactions at that point?  Are those employees that are getting a score of 80% - 89% only providing average service, nothing great, but nothing bad for the customer?  This is a potential threshold to support coaching efforts around helping those employees raise the bar and provide more than just average service.  At this point, you can investigate even further with those interactions where the employee is receiving significantly lower scores.  At what score range do you see the interactions taking a deep dive to being negatively impactful?  That range is another threshold that requires additional focus.  Coaching, coaching, and more coaching!

When setting performance thresholds for quality, it is important to remember the strategic intent of the call center, the impact to the customer and how you measure the success of your agents’ performance overall.  Once you have detailed all of that, the question of what thresholds you should utilize will become self-evident.  The final thought would be that your model should be reviewed at regular intervals to ensure that your client’s needs are still being met and that you are providing effective coaching to the right agents at the right time.

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