Unlocking the Power of Quality Management: Enhancing Agent Performance and Retention in Contact Centers

Shweta Kedas

May 15, 20238 min read

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Picture this: You're trying to resolve an issue with a product or service and call the customer service hotline. You're greeted by a friendly voice on the other end of the line who understands your issue and offers a timely and effective solution. How did that happen? Well, the customer service agent you spoke with was likely part of a contact center with a well-implemented quality management system.

Quality management systems are designed to monitor agent performance in real time, identify areas for improvement and provide targeted coaching and training. It can also help identify top-performing agents and provide incentives and rewards to encourage continued high performance. This can boost agent morale, leading to better retention rates and ultimately reducing the cost of replacing employees. Additionally, quality management can provide a mechanism for quality assurance calibration, ensuring that all agents are evaluated consistently and fairly and that they are held to the same standards.

With the right focus on quality management, contact centers can become an engine for employee growth and success, providing exceptional service that leaves customers satisfied and loyal for years to come.

Table of Contents

What makes agent performance and retention crucial for contact centers to thrive?

Agents play a pivotal role in shaping the overall customer experience, as they represent the company's brand and are customers' primary point of contact.

Agents who are knowledgeable, professional and courteous agents can provide a positive experience for customers, leading to increased customer loyalty and higher customer satisfaction ratings. Conversely, agents who are unresponsive, rude, or poorly trained can damage the customer experience, leading to lost business and negative reviews.

Agent performance also contributes to the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the contact center. Agents who are well-trained and equipped with the necessary tools and resources can handle customer inquiries and issues quickly and effectively, which can lead to shorter wait times, reduced call abandonment rates and increased first-contact resolution rates. This, in turn, can help to reduce operational costs and improve the overall productivity of the contact center.

On the other hand, in the fast-paced world of contact centers, agent retention is a major challenge for managers and team leaders. The high pressure and demanding nature of the job can lead to high levels of agent turnover and attrition, which can significantly impact the overall success of the contact center.

Agent turnover refers to the percentage of employees who leave their job over a given period. Attrition, conversely, includes all departures, including voluntary resignations, retirements and involuntary terminations. Contact centers typically face a high annual turnover rate of up to 60 percent, while even the best-performing companies may experience a turnover rate of nearly 20 percent annually.

A line drawing depicting three consequences of agent turnover results, namely, dissatisfied customers, high operational costs and understaffed contact centers.

The cost of agent turnover and attrition can be significant. When an agent leaves, the company incurs expenses associated with recruiting, training and onboarding a replacement agent. Each new agent hire is estimated to cost the contact center between $10,000 to $20,000 in direct recruiting costs, training and lost productivity during the ramp-up period.

However, the cost of agent turnover and attrition is not just financial. When an agent leaves, the company loses knowledge, skills and expertise that are difficult to replace. The departing agent may have established relationships with customers, resulting in a loss of customer loyalty and trust. This can impact customer satisfaction and the company's bottom line.

Low agent retention rates also impact team morale and productivity. Employees who see their colleagues leaving may question their job security and become demotivated. This can lead to decreased productivity and poor performance, which can further exacerbate the issue of agent turnover and attrition.

How sprinkling the magic of quality management can do wonders in enhancing agent performance and retention

Let's dive deeper into how quality management can help improve agent performance and retention:

Objective Way to Measure Agent Performance

A clear understanding of performance expectations is crucial for agents to consistently deliver high-quality customer service. Through a QM system, performance standards can be defined, outlining what is expected of agents regarding service quality, efficiency and compliance. KPIs can be identified to measure the effectiveness of the agents' performance, such as call handling time, first call resolution rate and customer satisfaction score.

Targets can then be set for these KPIs, helping agents to understand what is required of them and what they need to do to meet or exceed the performance standards. This can help improve their confidence, motivation and job satisfaction, leading to better retention rates. Moreover, clear expectations can help agents identify areas where they need to improve, allowing them to seek feedback and support to enhance their performance.

Empower Agents with Dispute Flow

When agents are given the power to review and dispute evaluations through quality management, it can be a game-changer for their job satisfaction and sense of ownership over their performance. Allowing agents to voice their concerns and collaborate with quality managers to address evaluation discrepancies can lead to a more positive and constructive work environment. This, in turn, boosts agent morale, reduces the risk of attrition and ultimately drives success and growth for all parties involved.

Improved Agent Training and Coaching

Quality management can obtain valuable data to identify areas of weakness in agent performance and develop targeted training and coaching programs to address those areas. The data can consist of metrics such as call volume, call length and customer satisfaction scores. By analyzing this data, businesses can recognize patterns and derive actionable insights.

For instance, if a business observes agents spending excessive time on calls, they may consider providing additional training to improve their call-handling efficiency. In addition, real-time monitoring can help agents feel more supported in their interactions with customers, as managers can quickly identify and correct any issues that arise, ensuring a positive experience for both the agent and the customer.

Incentives and Rewards

Incentives and rewards are an important part of a quality management system and can improve agent performance and retention.

Using quality management data to identify top-performing agents, managers can provide incentives and rewards that recognize and celebrate their achievements. This could include bonuses, promotions, or other meaningful rewards to the agents. By acknowledging and rewarding high performance, managers can help to improve agent morale and motivation, which can, in turn, lead to better retention rates.

Quality Assurance Calibration

Quality Management tools can provide a mechanism for quality assurance calibration, allowing businesses to ensure that all agents are evaluated consistently and fairly. This can help businesses maintain a high level of quality and ensure that all agents are held to the same standards.

By ensuring that evaluations are consistent and fair, quality management systems can help to prevent bias in the evaluation process. This can help to ensure that agents are evaluated on their performance rather than factors such as personal relationships or other non-performance-related factors.

Integration with Other Systems

Integrating quality management tools with other systems, such as Workforce Management (WFM) systems, can greatly improve agent retention in contact centers. One of the key ways it can do this is by enabling better scheduling and workload management for agents. By having a holistic view of agent performance and workload, businesses can ensure that agents are not overworked or underutilized, which can cause dissatisfaction and lead to high turnover rates.

For instance, if a WFM system shows that an agent is consistently overwhelmed with a high volume of calls during peak hours, Quality Management tools can help identify the root cause and provide solutions to reduce call volume or increase the number of agents during those hours. On the other hand, if an agent is consistently idle, Quality Management tools can identify gaps in training or recommend additional tasks to help them stay engaged and productive.

Now that we understand how quality management can help improve contact center agent performance and retention, let's look at the steps to implement an effective quality management system.

  • First, define quality standards and identify key performance indicators that will be used to measure agent performance.

  • Second, develop targeted training programs to address areas of weakness identified through quality monitoring.

  • Third, implement a feedback and coaching system to provide regular feedback and coaching to agents.

  • Fourth, identify top-performing agents and implement incentives and rewards to encourage continued high performance.

  • Finally, continuously monitor agent performance and refine the quality management system to ensure it remains effective.

Unleashing the potential of Sprinklr's quality management

Are you tired of manually evaluating contact center agent performance and struggling to identify areas for improvement? Look no further than Sprinklr's Quality Management!

With its intuitive interface, customizable evaluation forms and AI-powered analytics, Sprinklr's Quality Management offers a seamless experience for users. You can view case conversations, AI scoring and case information on a single screen, simplifying the evaluation process and saving you time.

But that's not all - It also identifies agent strengths and weaknesses, allowing managers to develop targeted training programs to boost performance. Think of it as a wise mentor who can help agents become their best selves.

With AI analyzing 100% of daily conversation data, you'll gain actionable insights that can help refine your quality management system.

And if you're worried about inconsistencies in evaluation standards, Sprinklr's Quality Management has got you covered. It facilitates calibration evaluations, ensuring all quality managers are aligned and evaluating agents according to the same standards.

So what are you waiting for? Give Sprinklr's Quality Management a try and experience the benefits of a streamlined, efficient and effective quality management system for your contact center!

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