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The Importance of Agent Self-Scoring to Boost Call Scores and Engagement 

How do your call center agents feel about their performance? Do they feel good about how they interact with customers?

Personal reflection offers critical feedback on agent performance, empowering them to improve and develop their skills. And that’s what agent self-scoring is all about.

Many call centers already offer agent self-scoring when it comes to quality assurance, but unless it’s fully understood and used correctly, it won’t yield the anticipated results. The problem is that self-scoring is often pushed to the side as “not important” or a waste of time better spent on the phones with customers. It is not seen as the valuable tool that it is.

So, let’s talk about agent self-scoring and why it should be an essential tool in your call center for employee engagement and performance management.

What is Agent Self-Scoring?

Agent self-scoring (also called self-evaluation or self-reflection) is a process where employees review their own work, listen to calls, and evaluate their call scores. The self-scoring should follow the same quality assurance guidelines that management uses while also empowering agents to review their own impact and performance.

It’s a tool that should not replace your current quality assurance processes, but that should be added to it in order to encourage employee engagement. When done well, agent self-scoring reinforces understanding and awareness of expectations and enables agents to succeed through self-development and reflection.

Why is Self-Assessment Important?

Oftentimes, agent assessment is perceived as negative, judgmental, or detrimental to team morale. However, agent self-scoring gives you the opportunity to change that.

It's Non-Threatening

In agent self-assessment situations, agents have the opportunity to scrutinize their customer interactions (calls, emails etc.), identify areas for improvement, and call out shortcomings. And when this is done through self-scoring, agents feel less threatened and judged because they make the decision for themselves.

In agent self-assessment situations, agents have the opportunity to scrutinize their customer interactions (calls, emails etc.), identify areas for improvement, and call out shortcomings. And when this is done through self-scoring, agents feel less threatened and judged because they make the decision for themselves.

One of the best ways to improve performance is to judge yourself. Agent self-scoring opens up a world of proactive behavior that will have positive ripple effects for the entire call center.

It is a Reliable Measure of Quality Customer Service

In addition to customer satisfaction scores such as Net Promoter Score® (NPS), agent self-scoring is one of the most reliable ways to ensure quality customer service. According to an article in the Journal of Business Research, encouraging team members to analyze their own interpersonal communication “has a critical role to play in influencing the customers’ total experience and satisfaction.”

According to one study, agents who reflected on their previous interactions gained better control over how they communicated with customers and changed for the better. They:

  • Increased first response time by 4.4%
  • Reduced language complexity
  • Had more stable interactions

Agent Self-Scoring Empowers Employees

Beyond being important for personal development, agent self-scoring is also empowering. It’s a great way to get call center agents involved in their own development and more interested in what “good” looks like when it comes to performance.

When agents are encouraged to evaluate their own performance, they become motivated and invested in their career development. This should decrease attrition rates, sick days, and reduce overall costs. Self-assessment also demonstrates to your employees that you are interested in having open and honest conversations, which increases employee loyalty.

It Increases Employee Engagement

When agents are allowed to be part of the solution and are validated for their work and decisions—when they have a sense of ownership—they are almost always better engaged. Giving agents a forum to provide feedback allows them to take charge of their career, which has long-lasting positive benefits.

When agents are highly engaged and have high satisfaction rates, they are:

  • 8 times more likely to stay with the firm beyond the first year
  • 16 times more likely to refer their friends
  • 3 times more likely to feel extremely empowered to resolve customer issues.

 

What Questions Should be Included in Agent Self-Scoring?

So, how do you successfully implement agent self-scoring? It starts with creating a powerful call monitoring form that includes the right questions and essential skill areas.

The key is customizability. Your agent self-scoring cards should match your agent needs, communication channels, training, and best practices. You can start with a template, such as what we outline below, but then you should adjust the questions to your QA process and call monitoring needs.

Example Soft Skills Questions

Without people skills, agents are not able to effectively interact with customers, coworkers, and supervisors. Agents should self-score their communication abilities, professionalism, problem-solving, and ability to gain trust.

  1. Did you display active listening skills?
  2. Did you build rapport and show an understanding of the client?
  3. Was your tone and pitch appropriate to the mood of the call?
  4. Did you summarize the follow-up plan?
  5. Were you professional at all times?

Example Process Questions

In call centers, the customer service process is critical to success. Self-scoring should be used by your agent to determine if they followed all processes correctly. These questions should be as specific as possible—we’ve used generic examples below.

  1. Did you follow the correct process?
  2. Did you follow the compensation process?
  3. Did you terminate the call correctly?
  4. Did you update the notes in the CRM case?

Example Compliance Questions

Compliance is essential to reduce risk and negative ramifications for your call center. We recommend asking pass/fail questions to help your agent pay attention to compliance requirements.

  1. Pass/Fail: Identification and validation
  2. Pass/Fail: Identifying and handling vulnerable customers
  3. Pass/Fail: Seeking permission for credit check

Example Outcome Questions

Outcomes are the ultimate measure of customer satisfaction. These questions should provide insight into soft skills, processes, and compliance, demonstrating if there was a positive outcome in all areas.

  1. How well did you meet your “greeting” goals?
  2. How many “soft skills” did you successfully demonstrate?
  3. Did you correctly demonstrate your “problem-solving abilities?”
  4. How well did you follow all the company’s processes?
  5. Were you fully compliant with company policies?
  6. Did you follow-up with the customer at the end?

7 Ways to Boost Engagement with Agent Self-Scoring

Agent self-scoring, as part of the QA framework, is critical to keep agents engaged and interested in overall business success. Highly engaged employees are 480% more committed to helping their company succeed. And companies with high levels of employee engagement improved 19.2% in operating income, while companies with low levels of employee engagement declined 32.7%.

So, how do you boost agent engagement through agent self-scoring? Here are seven tips for success.

1. Develop Clear Quality Guidelines

As we stated above, agent self-scoring should be completely customizable to your organization. The key is to roll out quality guidelines and questions that are extremely clear and well written. Your agents need to know exactly what is expected of them before they can self-score effectively.

It’s also important that these guidelines are updated regularly. As your call center and customer satisfaction metrics evolve, you will need to update your agent self-scoring form to match the new requirements.

We also recommend getting your agents involved in the process (which we talk about in #3). They have incredible insight into what it takes to be successful and can provide your team with more accurate agent performance metrics.

2. Get Call Center Managers Involved

Savvy call center managers should tap into the wealth of experience, skills, and knowledge that lie in their agents. By empowering and allowing them to contribute—especially on non-customer interacton related tasks—managers can encourage agents to show positive behavior, pursue engagement, and facilitate positive employee morale.

It is your manager’s job to provide an environment conducive to call center agent scoring. Agents should feel safe when contributing ideas and strategies. This will help them feel valued, and they will return the favor by creating great contact center customer experiences. They will also stay with the brand longer than they might if conditions were less positive for them.

3. Get Agents Involved in Developing the Self-Scoring Framework

Involving your agents in the entire QA process—including agent self-scoring—helps them understand their contributions and role in the overall success of the business. When they understand assessment and quality scores, they will strive to improve their current situation as part of the bigger picture of quality and revenue.

When given the opportunity to help develop and implement the self-score process, agents will also want to take more control of their careers because they can envision themselves growing with a thriving business. The guidelines for agent self-scoring are simple, but the rewards can be big for the agents as well as the business.

4. Keep Self-Scoring Results Separate

Don’t mix up agent self-scoring results with quality scores from other locations—management, NPS, CSAT, etc. Self-scoring should be completed on separate scorecards with their own unique guidelines. In this way, the results can be used solely for personal development and not as guidelines for the entire team.

The idea is to keep agent self-scoring fair and consistent and used for agent performance only. By keeping the process as judgment-free and safe as possible, it encourages agents to keep up with the process and remain engaged. If the self-scoring becomes too harsh and critical—because it’s combined with other QA—it can harm confidence and throw agents off track.

5. Use Self-Scoring in Training and Coaching

The entire idea behind agent self-scoring is to open up conversations and drive employee development. The only way to do this is to use agent self-scoring as a way to evaluate performance and work towards better outcomes through training and coaching.

Agent self-scoring should be compared against official quality scores and then used as an engagement tool to help agents understand how they stand up to certain standards. From there, these self-scores can be used to have conversations about their impact on the business as well as career development opportunities. Agents who are genuinely interested in their careers will seek out coaching and training to improve their performance.

6. Keep the Process Open and Transparent

When done correctly, agent self-scoring can help make agents more open and receptive to improvement initiatives. By evaluating their own shortcomings, they are less likely to feel unfairly judged or compared to others. The key is to make this process as open and transparent as possible.

Agents should have the ability to access trainers and coaches who can help them gain insight into their evaluations. They should also have the opportunity to voice their hopes and plans for development, which increases their motivation and improves their performance.

Create an environment where agents are encouraged to develop their own action plans based on self-assessment; this produces stronger and longer-lasting results.

7. Analyze the Gap Between Agent Self-Scores and Actual Customer Feedback

The key problem with quality assurance for almost every call center is closing the gap between actual customer feedback and in-house QA. Few call centers accurately perceive their impact on customer satisfaction. Agent self-scoring can help change this by getting the agents on the floor to evaluate how good they are at helping the customer.

At the beginning, when agent self-scoring is first implemented, there will be a massive gap between NPS/CSAT and agent self-scores. However, once managers and trainers review the agent self-evaluation and provide feedback that brings it more in line with customer satisfaction, each subsequent evaluation will be more and more on target.

Once you understand what the customer wants, and then build your agent self-score card around what that, you can adjust agent perception to match up with customer perception. This will then allow you to improve performance to close the gap.

Promote Agent Engagement Through Self-Scoring with Scorebuddy

Scorebuddy lets you selectively give agents their own login to view scorecards and to self-score their interaction. This not only re-enforces positive behaviors while increasing employee engagement through transparency and trust, but also gives your agents a clear understanding of what the business needs to provide better customer experiences.

Sign up for a free trial of Scorebuddy's solution to see first hand how easy it can be to improve agent engagement.

Increase agent engagement with self-scoring

Tags: Quality Monitoring Scorecard, Call Center Management