agent scorecards - what to include (and what to leave out) for better agent performance

The Do’s and Don’ts of Agent Scorecards

Regular doses of agent feedback are like taking daily vitamin C. Each dose puts your agents on track for healthy performance. And, with every piece of feedback you give, your agents get stronger.

You see, I’ve taken this year to focus a ton on my health and wellness. I let problems bubble up rather than doing the preventative work to ensure a healthy life. And because I let things slip, I got stuck with a whole host of issues. Some of which I could’ve avoided if cared for myself, first. I can thank genetics for the rest.

Now, I’m on a regimen to get my health back on track. I take my daily vitamins, do my breathing exercises, and go for a walk outside every day. Because of all this upfront work, I’m able to once again enjoy my favorite activities – like hiking, biking and being a connoisseur of tacos (carnitas, please!)

Just like caring for yourself takes an upfront commitment, so does caring for your team. Putting in the time to coach and train your team ensures you stop bad agent habits in their tracks. It means you offer the support and feedback your team needs, so they don’t push themselves to the brink of exhaustion (I learned a lesson or two on that).

As you listen to agent call recordings, review transcriptions and score interactions, you offer the daily dose of guidance your agents need to improve their skills and maintain healthy performance. And, when they continue to improve and do well in their roles, they become more invested in their work and do more for your customers. 

But, how do you, manager, with heaps of other work to do, stay on top of these daily supplements for your agents?

With so much to do, it’s tough to find the headspace, let alone the time, to think through how to coach your agents regularly. Today, we’re walking through how you can use pre-crafted agent scorecards to simplify the agent feedback loop, save yourself time and improve coaching in your contact center.

What are agent scorecards and how do they help performance? 

Agent scorecards are feedback tools to help you put intention behind your coaching moments. Done well, they track a mix of questions and measurements for your agents, so you can pay mind to their entire experience and get a crystal-clear view of their improvement along the way.

The questions on a scorecard fall into two categories: objective and subjective.

The key metrics you track are objective. They don’t depend on the opinion or bias of whoever is scoring an agent’s scorecard. Instead, the objective metric is a hard data point you use to quantify pieces of your agent’s performance. If an agent’s Average Handle Time is two minutes and you set a target for handle times of two minutes and 30 seconds or less, then the agent gets a positive mark on their scorecard. 

scorecard tools

But simply using objective, quantifiable measurements on your agents’ scorecards fails to tell the full story of what’s happening in your contact center. It’s too narrow and misses other key aspects of your agent experience and the satisfaction they bring to your customers. 

[Read Next] Why average handle time can be misleading when viewed in a vacuum

Your subjective questions score things like the personality and friendliness of the agent during an interaction. And, they look at the overall quality of the conversations your agents are having with your customers.  

You have to have both question types on agent scorecards to really understand your center. But, if there’s too much of one or the other, the scorecard might miss out on pinpointing your agents’ strengths or areas where they need help. Instead, a smart mix of questions gives you in-depth insights about your agent experience and performance. And, it helps you coach to improvement based on what you find.

To help you find that perfect mix, we put together a list of agent scorecard do’s and don’ts.

DO look for outliers.

Looking at an objective measure like Average Handle Time alone isn’t a useful judge of any single interaction. But it can help you identify patterns and isolate outliers, like the time Janet stayed on a call for an hour because the customer wasn’t tech-savvy and needed handholding.

Instead of zeroing in on one interaction at a time, bundle data from multiple interactions to get a better look at each agent’s overall performance. Consider outliers, like the occasional one-hour phone call, as you grade your agents. 

[Read Next] How managing and coaching to agent performance amplifies call center ROI

It’s also helpful to keep the performance of peer groups in mind as you evaluate your agents. Do your agent performance tiles (like these) tell you that one agent consistently sits at the bottom of his peer group on important metrics like AHT and FCR? Does one agent consistently handle interactions much slower than others? Faster? Your data serves as a useful barometer for performance management and employee development as long as you don’t view it in a vacuum.

DO weigh different metrics appropriately.

Not every metric is equal. Failing to resolve a ticket is much more serious than going 30 seconds over your AHT during a call. As you pick measurements for your agent scorecards, consider their lasting impact and the weight they have in your customers’ journey. 

Look to your historical data to spot trends that signal what matters most to your customers. Do you see CSAT scores tanking after customers have to call in for help three different times for the same problem? Then, give more weight to FCR on your scorecards. Or, do you see customers moving to competitors after heated conversations with agents? In this case, heavily weight your subjective questions, like the friendliness and tone during interactions. 

DO calibrate often.

Much like agent performance, scorecards shouldn’t be static. As your team goals and expectations change, revisit your scorecards to make sure they reflect your evolving targets. A successful team is constantly innovating and adapting to achieve better results. And, a successful leader keeps agents informed about what’s expecting of them and how they’re tracking toward each of their goals. 

[Read Next] How to set 90-day goals your contact center agents can meet

DO let your team leads or supervisors score interactions.

Personal feedback is crucial to your agents’ success. But one person’s opinion doesn’t offer enough perspective to really nail down where your agents struggle and where they excel. 

Rope in your team leads or supervisors to review a handful of interactions weekly and offer up a new viewpoint. Your agents have their own personalities and styles, so getting different opinions on those subjective pieces of the puzzle will smooth out potential biases.

DON’T use a pass/fail scoring system.

A good agent scorecard is a tool for improvement, not a stamp of approval (or disapproval). Every measure on every scorecard is a kick-off point for future conversations about critical aspects of your agent’s role. If you mark agent scorecards with a simple pass/fail sticker, you’re not giving your team feedback that’s actionable and relevant. 

[Download Now] Get real about coaching your agents with these 7 methods

How does your agent’s individual scorecard compare to the rest of the team’s? Has your agent’s score gone from a passing score of 70 to a passing score of 95? There’s a big difference between those two passing numbers. And your agents deserve to know exactly where they stand. A binary score doesn’t give your agents enough information to grow. Get specific with the grade you give, and always follow up with relevant pieces of feedback to help agents turn constructive criticism into action items for future conversations. 

In-line feedback for your agents

DON’T measure something unless it supports overarching customer goals.  

How many times did the agent say your customer’s name? What about the company’s name? How many seconds did they spend off-script? These anecdotal pieces of a conversation don’t measure your agent’s tangible results, nor your customer’s true experience. When you choose what to measure during each interaction, be consistent and pick questions and metrics that always point back to your contact center’s most important goals. Focus on outcomes over everything else.

DON’T wait too long to score interactions.

In-the-moment feedback has a bigger impact than you might think. In fact, 43% of highly engaged workers receive feedback from their managers at least once a week, compared to only 18% of employees with low engagement. Don’t let your agents’ interactions pile up before you coach. Squash the chance of repeat mistakes and don’t let bad behaviors turn into bad habits. And, jump in regularly to encourage your agents after positive moments during interactions, too.

Performance data is valuable, but your agents can’t improve without the right coaching. You’re the lever they need to improve performance and your customer’s experience. 

Use the information you gather during interactions to develop your agents and optimize your customer journey. Performance data gives you the tangible info you need to keep growth conversations alive, have regular training sessions and build a culture of open feedback. Start today.

[Learn More] Still using paper scorecards or a spreadsheet to share feedback? There’s a better way. Sharpen’s quality & performance management tools let you build scorecards, deliver them to your agents and even flag specific interactions with inline feedback on the call recordings or transcriptions.

We originally published this post on March 5, 2018, and we updated it on November 5, 2020.