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Spreadsheets used to be the go-to tool for every call center manager to gather quality assessment data so they could evaluate agents and operations. Using digital scorecards to keep pace with a center’s activity will streamline your process and reveal new opportunities for improvement. So it's high-time you stop using spreadsheets for call center QA

However, there are still some who hold on to their spreadsheets for the familiarity they provide and the fact they can modify easily. But that’s about the extent of their benefits. In fact, spreadsheets can actually work against achieving your call center’s quality goals and objectives. So why would you continue to use them? 

We’ve identified 7 ways that spreadsheets are hurting your call center quality:

1. Spreadsheets Record Static Data

They are ineffective when tracking progress in a call center because the data is fixed. A spreadsheet simply cannot capture the dynamic activities in a call center—including agent progress—due to manual entry and the inability to be shared across users.

Spreadsheets do not offer real-time analysis opportunities and stall any dynamic QA activity. They are cumbersome, slowing internal operations and creating challenges with employee coaching, retention and engagement.

Accurate real-time data leads to better one to one reviews, reporting and overall operations.

2. Spreadsheets are Poor at Collating and Storing Data

Spreadsheets can be effective when trying to capture a particular moment in time but are not as useful when trying to continuously collect and collate new data from multiple sources. They create problems because they need to be updated to include new agents and their stats.

And forget about trying to find information about a particular agent during a designated time period. You could do it but it would mean going through pages and pages of spreadsheets and manually noting the data.

3. Managing Spreadsheets Drains Precious Time

Regular collection, analysis, and reviews are key elements of call center quality management but that is only half the story; reporting is just as important for the following processes:

  • Employee Performance Trending
  • Team and Group comparisons
  • Training Gap Analysis
  • Customer Sentiment collection and analysis

Collecting and measuring data takes up an incredible amount of time, especially when that information loses its relevance so quickly, spreadsheets do not collect and collate data efficiently, get that right and you have more time to analyze and manage.

4. Spreadsheets are Fragile

Creating spreadsheets requires manual entry of data and formulas which sets up the real possibility of errors, or worse, creeping errors over time. Accessing data from different sources and relying on manual data entry and formula creation creates more opportunities for error. Even a minor piece of information that’s entered incorrectly can set up a chain of negative events. Implementing real-time digital scorecards will dramatically improve the accuracy of call center information so that performance can be measured properly based on accurate data. Making business driven changes to digital scorecards is easy and does not impact reporting accuracy.

5. Managing Change using Spreadsheets is Difficult

As business and organizational needs change managing multiple versions of an evaluation form is very difficult if you are using spreadsheets. Typically, you end up with multiple versions and broken reporting.

Making predictions and strategizing for the business should not be a guessing game, especially when automated dashboards can provide critical information to support QA initiatives.

6. Spreadsheets Cannot Provide Real-Time Feedback for Agents

Using spreadsheets to score and track agent performance is an exercise in futility because it is old as soon as it’s created and the difficulty in sharing the results with agents typically means they are held for review at the end of the month. The dynamic nature of a call center means rapidly changing variations in agent performance every day. Feedback needs to be timely in order to track relevant changes in agent performance and overall QA. Coaching and meetings can’t be as productive when information isn’t current.

7. Data Integrity is at Risk with Spreadsheets

Spreadsheets can be easily lost or corrupted which means gaps in the data and reporting. Call centers are dynamic, and spreadsheets can’t keep up with changing QA criteria the way that an automated system can. Effective Quality Assessment hinges on accurate, complete data that’s available in near real time. Collecting and storing evaluation results across multiple individual spreadsheets is inefficient and makes sharing and collaborating difficult and time consuming, ideally all the information is centrally stored and accessed.

In Conclusion...Spreadsheets are not a QA tool

Spreadsheets are a generic desktop tool originally designed to make complex calculations and allow the user to change the variables and quickly see the revised results. They were not designed for collecting information in a dynamic environment. However, in the absence of alternatives spreadsheets have filled a need for many years when it came to documenting call center agent performance.

As call center operations have evolved and the need to capture results have become more frequent spreadsheets are no longer a viable QA tool. Automated tools have radically changed the landscape of call center QA initiatives, streamlining the process, sharing the information and adding rich data content, putting spreadsheets in the past where they belong. So don't feel bad when you say bye-bye to those spreadsheets you were using as QA tools.