Improving Performance: Two Types of Standards

The cornerstone of an effective quality observation process is documenting specific, observable behaviors and tailoring coaching accordingly.

An effective way to consider performance (quality) standards is to categorize them as either “foundation” or “finesse.” Foundation standards measure whether something was done, and can be assessed with a simple yes or no. For example, the agent uses their name in the greeting. They verify the customer’s identification. They use spellcheck in written communication. They code the contact correctly. Yes or no—these things either happened or they didn’t. Foundation standards are objective, consistent, and accomplished the same way by every agent. They are, as a rule, easy to understand and easy to score.

Finesse standards, on the other hand, measure how something was done. They are more subjective, allow for style and individuality, and require interpretation. For example, the agent listens carefully and effectively prompts relevant input. They demonstrate professional courtesy. They upsell or cross-sell appropriately. They guide the customer to convenient online resources. They capture needed and useful information for product, process or service improvements. These standards require clear guidance on what is expected, but performance is along a continuum.

Learn more about performance standards in the fourth edition of Contact Center Management on Fast Forward by Brad Cleveland.

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