Quality-Productivity and My Role as CEO

Call_Center_001Quality-Productivity is an extremely important concept in our company. Increased productivity, by itself, is not a desired outcome. There are many ways to increase productivity and unless there is a quality component, things can go wrong. In our business employees receive a base salary plus a bonus based on the number of transferred calls they make that meet our clients’ criteria. We want that number to be as high as possible. Toward that end, we ensure our technology is the best we can afford and working efficiently. We also hire mostly experienced agents and have a robust training program. Our salary structure is at the high end of the pay scale in Pakistan, well above the industry average. But, that doesn’t mean we will get optimal performance from our team members.

Like many organizations, we utilize incentive programs to motivate employees to increase individual productivity. Sometimes all these programs do is increase the number of less than acceptable transfers to clients. Taking shortcuts and/or transferring calls that do not meet criteria is not good for our clients, their customers, and our company.

What we’ve learned is that we need to closely monitor the quality of our transferred calls. So we went from one part-time QC specialist to two full-time employees who monitor all conversations and provide feedback to our agents. The increased monitoring and feedback has improved the quality of our transfers.

Determining how much monitoring we should do was a conscious decision. The research on accountability indicates that too much monitoring will cause people to be less productive and less accountable. Too little monitoring will cause people to think they don’t need to be accountable. By adding the feedback piece we were able to get better results and employees became more aware and accountable for meeting our quality standards.

But that wasn’t enough for me. I met with our new Director of Operations and asked him to prepare a report. We have monthly incentive programs that are intended to increase productivity. But as I looked at our monthly production YTD, I noticed that there weren’t any significant differences that could be tied to these programs. Our production was fairly constant. In my mind this meant that our incentives weren’t working as intended. We need to change our thinking about them and come up with better solutions.

Call centers generate a lot of data. I’m learning that I need to pay closer attention to them and hold my production team leaders more accountable by asking them to explain their thinking, planning, and implantation strategies. They are learning that I will ask about things they haven’t considered. That’s my job now, building the capabilities of my leadership team, improving their thought processes, and teaching them about accountability. It’s a great experience. I love it.

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