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Definition of call center performance review
Well, it is actionable feedback related to customer service representatives' performance provided by a call center manager to an agent. To say more, it is a great opportunity to discuss customer service representatives' strong and weak sides, imperfections, and directions for future self-improvement both as professionals and as individuals. The operator is a team player, so his actions and connections with customers influence the whole call center performance. Regular performance reviews exist to track agents’ work in a live mode and notice the progress. Performance evaluations are significant because they influence agent behavior and employee performance, point to development opportunities, assist in achieving company goals, and upgrade the scores of resolving customer requests.
It is not a secret that every contact center’s team player has to have a special pack of interpersonal skills, such as communication skills, and creative thinking, as well as bear position-specific competencies. Employee performance depends on the customer service skills mentioned above, so it is vital to track agents’ abilities during interpersonal communication. Regular performance reviews deal with this task because of the personalized model of providing and ability to discuss all aspects of agents’ work in a transparent atmosphere. But to learn more about the implication of performance evaluations, let’s go further.
What is so vital about performance evaluations?
Performance reviews are the checkpoint for agents’ work. They exist to help agents get feedback about where they do right, and where they need to put more effort or get a coaching session or learn more theory. It is impossible to construct strong customer service teams without guiding team members in the right direction. Agents sometimes just do not comprehend their weak points, so the manager’s supervision is required to help them be on the right path to providing excellent service. Operators’ interpersonal skills, time management abilities, and communication skills often need to be improved under the rule of experienced mentors, so just tracking agents’ conversations with clients isn’t enough - you need to discuss these cases and say where the imperfections lie. Some workers don’t get the company goals so an explanation is required too. The position-specific competencies and company-specific competencies may not be learned without the guidance of managers, so pay more attention here. There are also numerous other reasons for the significance of performance reviews:
- Customer satisfaction is the most crucial score for all customer service teams, so all operators should be tracked to discover which of them can provide the adorable service, and who needs more training sessions to be on the same level.
- Feedback providing is not only a moment to discuss what should be improved, but it’s time to teach the employees and provide them with new knowledge. So take it not only as a control point but as a part of the coaching process.
- Reviews fix operators’ performance at the moment it is provided. Regular feedback furnishing sessions build a long-way imagination of employees’ processes during the period of researching.
- Reviews point to problems and mistakes. If you see that some agents’ have problems with providing service or reaching the KPIs, maybe the reason is wider than just personal imperfections. Think of it to get a full picture.
- Deal with burnout and attrition using feedback as an instrument. Workers who are honestly evaluated during their work and get praise for their productivity will not have reasons to leave.
- Find new approaches to grow. When all metrics are monitored from day to day, you receive a deeper understanding of all processes which take place in the contact center. With a bit of creative thinking, you will be able to find new opportunities.
What benefits does the review providing propose?
As we already comprehend the feedback furnishing importance, it is time to find out the benefits which are offered by this technique. If the impact received by operators is clear enough, what does the call center as a structure get from furnishing the reviews to the operators?
In short, reviewing the workers can positively affect customer satisfaction, the overall customer service team’s productivity and performance, and behavior towards colleagues' quality. The more you talk with the agents about their work, the more they will be engaged and motivated to do better. But to apprehend the overall influence of the performance reviews, we will describe it as the list of exact benefits on exact metrics or processes.
Beat the turnover rate
It is proverbially that contact centers suffer from the highest turnover, burnout, and attrition scores across the market. These cases have many reasons, such as permanent live communication with various people (and some of them are too toxic to be dealt with), low salaries, and inflexible schedules. But the most influential factor is a lack of professional growth and a huge amount of routine work as well as a little number of challenging tasks. The right feedback strategy can beat the trouble - agents become more acknowledged of the company goals and principles, gain more new skills, raise as individuals cause of soft skills improvement, and get rewards for exceeding the KPIs.
Providing reviews is a double-edged sword, so let workers give their reviews and thoughts about the department’s work. Maybe they bear some fresh ideas to boost the outcomes or make changes in customer service. Another great option is coaching the agents to set up the SMART goals, so they can choose what to do and build long-lasting strategies on their own. It is a great fundament for future career development too, so don’t avoid this opportunity, especially according to the money saved thanks to a lower turnover score.
The team is a totality of various individuals and their professional and personal skills and abilities. Permanent feedback furnishing may assist in discovering unique strengths and comfortable environments of every team member. Some agents may be very skillful in working with the live chat, while others can show the highest effectiveness in providing client retention or dealing with calls that are going to be escalated. Such skills as conflict extinguishing and adaptability may be the strong sides of some operators, while others can have deep knowledge of technical issues and beat them without the technical unit’s support. Do you see the opportunity here? Shuffle agents to make them work with the tasks they do the best, so you will have complex specialists for every field of potential problems.
Improve the cooperation between agents and overall service level
Permanent feedback furnishing helps to boost the cooperation between team members and different departments, both in contact lines and documentation. Agents grow not only as individuals but as parts of a big squad, where all members are irreplaceable and bear strong input in collective success.
Call center performance reviews help to avoid problems that can take place in communication or behavior towards colleagues during the scaling-up process. When employees know where they’re going and why they start to understand each other intuitively and the possibility of misunderstandings or communication breakdowns decrease.
Link business’s goals with personal ones
Call center management is an ongoing process where catching some processes is sometimes problematic. While overall goals and objectives aren’t stable, personal goals are also changing according to every agent’s professional development and growth. But here is also an opportunity to connect the company’s targets with the agent’s goals, so every operator’s actions will bring not only personal impact but also collective.
If operators are acknowledged of where the firm is moving and what are the long-term goals, they can set their objectives in purpose to become nearer to collective goals. This means that there will be fewer unnecessary actions and objectives, while the company’s scaling up speed will raise. Such goals as improving customer satisfaction or average response time are both focused on boosting agents’ and firms’ performance. Learning new company-specific competencies can influence a single operator’s quality of service furnished, but also influence customer satisfaction rate.
The scheme of customer service review
The model of any review can be divided into four blocks, and we are going to describe each of them in detail. Such an explanation is easier to understand, can be useful in projecting customized models, and is ready to use without any preparations. It can be defined as performance review templates for customer service teams. Such examples of performance reviews are a great solution for constructing a wise, complex, and thoughtful pack of benchmarks for such situations.
First step: Preparation
Don’t be unexpected, people can’t take part in a serious and complicated discussion without any awarenesses. Let the employees know the date of the conversation to let them be ready to hear your arguments and tell their thoughts. If you are going to focus attention on some crucial scores or KPIs, tell this to the agents and ask them to prepare for this discussion. Address also the importance of agents’ own opinions about their strengths and weaknesses, imperfections, and well-done tasks - it is vital to comprehend their point of view about the work and their duties. Ask them to construct a list of questions for you.
Second step: The review itself
Accumulate the recordings: if you want to have a detailed and argumentative discussion, allocate the time to listen to operators’ recordings of real conversations, which have taken place recently. It is essential to have a clear apprehension of how employees deal with their direct responsibilities, which skills are their strengths, and which need improvement. If possible, use contact examples from different communication channels to see how operators perform on various platforms.
This approach permits to see the case in detail, apprehend the tendencies of agents’ enactment and select the potential improvement strategies.
Check the metrics: use all possible metrics to discover the areas of the more and less qualitative undertaking of the workers. Such rate as First Call Resolution points to agents’ problem-solving skills, while customer satisfaction scores may show the operators’ adaptability and communication skills. Don’t forget about Average Handle Time and Average Call Duration metrics, they also powerfully influence the customer experience and satisfaction.
Use the sandwich model: this trick is created to reduce the negative consequences of telling negative feedback. Begin and finish the review with praises, especially if taking into account that no employee has only weak sides. The essence of constructive feedback lies in integrating both types of feedback - negative and positive. On the contrary, workers will be more motivated if they hear that it is only a few aspects to be improved than if they attend to the criticism.
Use customer service performance review phrases: these are several chosen retorts that exist to have a more positive influence and motivate employees, as well as increase feedback’s productivity. We’ll provide such examples in the next section.
Third step: Tips for enhancing the enactment
Think about the directions of self-development: let the operators answer you about their weaknesses. They have a right to sit down and produce some strategies for improving the areas where it is needed. Once they are all set, carefully listen to the proposals and assist in creating the final version of the strategy by doing changes where necessary or pushing employees to think in the right direction.
Use the SMART model: SMART goals are must-have options if you want the workers to be independent, high-skilled, and ready for any challenges. Teach them to set such goals on their own. Every operator should have skills in the correct goal setting as well as determining the areas of required improvement. There are a few characteristics that should be used for goal setting - they should be short-term (in the wide understanding of this definition), easy to calculate and track the progress, and individual. Another important nuance is their link with the business’s goals, so the operators’ self-development should go in coordination with moving to collective objectives.
To ease the comprehension of SMART goals, use these samples:
Boost A rate to B score per C term
Teach D skill for E term and get an F mark on a test
Fourth, the final step: Mentor them
When the goals and objectives are set up, it’s time to become a mentor and supervisor for agents’ path to success and reaching the targets. Let the agents come with samples of plans and help them upgrade the plans until they become perfect and complex. Let agents identify you as a personal coach who can be asked for help, advice, or recommendations. If you see that they need specified training sessions, offer so or make them ask for training on their own.
Set the dates of the short, medium, and long one-to-one meetings where you are going to discuss the progress and review the goals or strategies. Make them understand that these activities exist to make their career move further. Create a permanent process where review sessions will take place regularly.
The customer service performance review phrases samples
Even for very experienced and qualified managers providing reviews to the agents can be a difficult task. Emotions, the duty to say negative things, and the unexpected essence of agents’ potential reactions can scare even first-class professionals. But to be honest, there is no magic trick to avoid this process - the only thing you may do is prepare the right words, intonations, and tactics for providing feedback. We compiled the performance review templates for both negative and positive cases of review furnishing. Remember, that all customer service teams vary by numerous factors, and no one but you knows the employee's characteristics and preferences. These performance evaluation examples for customer service departments should ease the task and make it less stressful for you to furnish the reviews, as well as reach higher productivity of feedback provided.
Ten retorts to compliment the operators
- “That’s right, I’ve seen your performance in this field. Your progress makes me feel proud”
Stating that an employee is right when talking about his achievements is a strong motivating factor. People love when someone shares their point of view, especially when this person is their boss. It is maybe the most powerful sample of praising the worker.
- “I can say even more - I’ve noticed your progress in other areas, so you are underrating your success!”
Play ahead: when an employee says he is successful in boosting one of the rates, praise him for the positive results in over areas. A complex compliment can be even more motivating than you could imagine.
- “Your progress here has brought us nearer to our goal”
Make the agents feel that their successes have a strong influence on the whole business and its success too. When employees feel important, they are more willing to perform better.
- “Tim told me that you’re doing well in the field of…”
Let workers know that other managers notice their improvements and discuss them with each other. It is a strong strategy that motivates agents to go above and beyond to make other managers see their effort and its results.
- “You’re on the top of the ranking this week. If you keep performing like this, I think we can talk about your future career perspectives”
Integrate two strong arguments: comparison with colleagues and perspectives of growth to empower operators to jump out of their comfort zone and work for achieving personal goals.
- “I know how difficult it was for you to learn this, but now I see that results are overpaying my expectations!”
Praise workers for their hard work and let them see and feel that you get how tough it is to get new skills or improve the enactment. People want to see their efforts valued by the bosses to have the motivation to spend time and energy again.
- “If you keep going this way, I promise you that we’ll take a look at potential career jumps for you in the nearest future.”
Another example of using career growth opportunities as a motivating factor - say that professional elevation is nearer than the agent thinks, so he will be over-motivated to get the awaited raise as soon as possible. But remember - no false promises, say only things you are ready to do.
- “I’m really glad that you followed my recommendations and now your progress can be seen with a naked eye!”
This phrase has a bit different influence: agents will see that following your instructions generates praises and positive feedback, so they will keep doing so.
- “Your performance, in that case, was the key factor of our success in…”
Another sample of showing agents’ efforts as a fundamental part of collective success. This tactic not only motivates the employees but makes them feel a big responsibility for the team.
- “That client has positively evaluated you. Here is his quote.”
Use customer reviews as a strong tool to make operators keep improving their skills to get more positive reviews from customers - as it is a strong factor that influences your reviews of agents’ performance.
Five examples of negative review phrases
Now it’s the turn of the tougher part of the task - how to furnish negative reviews and avoid misunderstandings, affronts, and employees’ frustration. Thank God, there are also some universal phrases for negative reviews which can decrease unwanted consequences and make employees take the feedback without any sediment.
- “I think we need to focus on this aspect. Let’s work as a team and create an improvement scheme together!”
Let employees breathe easy and get that you aren’t going to shout at them. This phrase may transform a “bad case” into a “case of improvement”, which isn’t understood as something that can’t be dealt with. Stating your will to help is also vital to making the agent feel supported.
- “You will be a rockstar if you learn this skill. What would like to start from?”
Ask operators’ opinions about where to start the coaching process - to be direct, they will be coached, not you. If they see your willingness to hear their thoughts, they will do everything you ask for to prove the trust given.
- “We can work on improvement of this skill, but please tell me what exactly you want to boost?”
Let agents tell where they want to improve. If we talk about soft skills, they can have an even better understanding of what are the weaknesses and strengths. Be ready to let them say it.
- “Tell me about the real situation where you felt the lack of…”
Discuss examples. Such a personalized approach can make agents tell more about their characteristics, fears, and wishes.
- “Would you like to boost the service knowledge? It will increase your rates to the sky!”
Be polite - anyhow, they can’t refuse you. But to start talking about learning new abilities, find a motivating factor that will make this process not a duty, but a wish.
How to hover feedback providing process
It is a real art to furnish review in the right way to both motivate agents and avoid negative consequences like frustration or bitterness. There are some tips to do so and be sure of the positive ending of such a conversation.
Firstly, start by asking agents an open-ended query. This sets up the dialogue direction and mood.
Secondly, give positive feedback about where agents do well and can continue to do so.
Thirdly, say what could be a good thing to start doing to make operators feel more comfortable as this doesn’t relate to their imperfections - it is just a recommendation.
Finally, you may say what should be done differently or just be improved.
To end the conversation, use another portion of the praise to beat the feelings caused by a negative saying.
Another part of furnishing the reviews is to make agents talk too. Ask questions or motivate operators to do the same thing. We are going to propose some universal questions for you to ask the workers.
Nine great queries to ask during the review discussion
- “Where should I assist you additionally?”
No managers are ideal, and employees’ issues are often caused by management mistakes. Keep in mind that this statement is scary for agents to be said. Let them have such an opportunity and show that you are open to being criticized.
- “What do you want to change in your work to be satisfied enough?”
Agents often suffer from problems with workspace, poor scheduling, or lack of internal communication. They can also have personal wishes. Allow describing these things.
- “What would be the most motivating factor for you?”
Every one of us has something personal that motivates us the most. Operators are unique individuals, and knowing their motivating points can give you a powerful tool to boost their performance.
- “What is missing in the working atmosphere?”
The atmosphere and environment are powerful factors of workers’ mood and emotional conditions. Ask them what is good or bad in your working area.
- “How do you want to use your strengths?”
Every person has strong sides, and the wise using of them can be a point of a great performance upgrade. Agents can explain where they think they can be more effective.
- “You are a vital part of a squad. Where do you think you pay the biggest contribution?”
Every work should have a goal and a purpose. Put effort to know how to do these two things comprehended by the operators.
- “What is your favorite part of the job?”
If you know agents’ preferences, you will know what they love to do. And there’s nothing that is done better than the loved work.
- “Whom do you want to become as a professional?”
A big problem of a customer support agent’s job is its poor career perspective. People leave this job because they don’t see how they can grow. Let them say who they want to become and give them such an opportunity.
- “Are your efforts evaluated right?”
Agents often suffer from a lack of recognition and praise, so let them know it is a problem for you too.
- “Let’s meet again at…If you need any help or advice between now and the next conversation, just let me know!”
Agents should know that your attention to them isn’t a one-time event. If such understanding exists, they will be in shape to perform better permanently. It also can teach them time management skills.
Feedback providing is an irreplaceable option for any contact center. It offers many benefits - from lower turnover rate and higher agents’ motivation to faster achievement of business’s goals. Operators’ performance reviews have a special scheme that helps to avoid misunderstandings and get the most out of such dialogues. Yes, we haven’t slandered - review provides should be a dialogue, not a monologue. Let workers ask queries and provide evaluations too. There are also some phrases to provide feedback on the right path.
But the best way to build warm relations with workers is to communicate with them regularly, and here you need such options as internal chat and live stats that can point to aspects of operators' work that has to be improved.
Contact us to discuss your needs and see Voiptime Contact Center in action!