Home // Blog

Great Quality Scores Sabotaging Member Happiness?

I met with a large health insurance client recently who has achieved enviable quality scores in their call center supporting a Medicare plan.  Month in and month out the documented quality monitoring process in place is yielding scores around of 96% on average.  Impressive.

I reviewed the quality scorecard, and it appeared very robust.  There are 50 – 55 questions that seem to ask all the right questions like agent accuracy, compliance, good communication skills and effective call handling.

What struck me when I listened to the actual calls from customers was that quality scores might very well be at 96%, but I could tell that those customers are not 96% happy.  Perhaps 65% happy is closer to reality.  It’s certainly subjective, but the true representation of the customer’s experience was off.

The client noticed too.  He characterized one specific call as “OK, and in total compliance — but it wasn’t special in any way.”  The call may have resulted in a satisfactory experience and outcome for the customer, but it wasn’t a great call – – just a good call.  This particular call scored a 92% using the quality scorecard.

What’s true about quality monitoring scorecards in most every call center, anywhere is that they are very good at identify the really bad customer experiences.  But how can one decipher between the good and the great customer experience? What’s missing?

In my experience, taking a good service program to the next level requires:

  • Educating the customer when they need it. For example, how well does a call center agent explain to a senior Medicare plan member why moving out of their current zip code might mean that they need to choose a new primary physician.
  • The right style.  How well an agent adapts to the customer’s style of communication can determine the success of the connection made during the service experience. Do the Medicare member’s statements indicate a desire for a quick, transactional call, or more of a conversational experience?
  • Ownership.  How well does the agent convey that I am here to help you get a solution to your problem, not just to administer the processes I’ve been given to support you.

Transform a Good Call into a Great Call

To change a good call to a great call, an agent will round out information with good explanations. He will match the member’s conversation style and he will convey that that he is going to go the extra mile to take care of that member.  Most scorecards don’t rate these items at all, or certainly not to the extent that the scores are weighted enough to make them stand out.

So what might we do differently in quality monitoring?

  1. When quality scores in a service program reach 95% on a sustained basis, change the scorecard.  If we don’t, we are missing opportunities to coach, and in lieu of coaching, the customer experience is proclaimed a success, and it does not get improvement attention.You can augment quality monitoring forms with attributes related to adaptability and empathy.  Then you can coach agents on how to identify a customer’s level of understanding in order to fill any gaps, and match their style of communication.
  2. Magnify subtle soft skills by weighting them heavily on the new scorecard.  If accomplished agents begin to fail the quality test, that’s ok.  We’ve just identified specific opportunities to coach and improve.Consider adding scale to your scoring system rather than just a pass/fail check.  This can enable a change from mediocre performance to one where customer delight is achieved. And the agent will be able to evolve to better service on an incremental scale, rather than a pass/fail in a more ambitious model.

All this adds the ability to identify the higher level skills the call center needs to move a good customer experience to a GREAT one while keeping your scorecard from sabotaging your member’s happiness.