To Improve Agent Performance, Quantify the Qualitative

Three people with call headsets on. Person in foreground is wearing glasses. All three people appear to be typing.

Consumer finance is a complicated business. Operations leaders have to break the work down into processes that produce their required compliance, experience, and revenue outcomes —  and it can be difficult to discover what those processes should be when you don’t have a lot of data on the antecedents to those outcomes to begin with. 

Specifically, leading agent performance indicators seem to be missing from the mix. If agent KPIs involve only quantitative metrics such as number of calls made or wrap time, can anyone really expect to make qualitative progress? Operations leaders need to be able to quantify qualitative agent performance to move forward with meaningful insight. 

You might be surprised to hear that a lot of that qualitative insight lives inside of agent call notes. Automation and standardization of those notes lets you access that insight with so much less work from your agents.

Here's an example report card. The rest of this post will tell you how you can get here.

Actual anonymized data derived from using ProNotes.

Uncovering Agent Performance Data

A number-of-calls metric isn’t so bad. It lets agents accomplish measurable, clear goals and seems to somewhat correlate to other goals, such as total collected or right-party contact percentages. We’re not saying you should forget these indicators — just that there’s so much more beneath the surface. 

And that’s the qualitative stuff. The stuff of conversation. Of course, you can’t analyze every conversation to discover exactly what was said on every call, and then relate that back to a result. Can you?

With call note standardization, you absolutely can. Let’s run through some examples. 

Imagine tracking first-call resolutions (FCRs) in a healthcare contact center. This KPI is important not only because it supports a shorter revenue cycle and patient experience, but also because it can reveal where agents struggle. But it only has that power if you can see and easily quantify and surface the qualitative data by agent. 

In that case, an operations leader might discover insights like: 

  • Agent A never gets a first-call resolution when Insurance Provider X is mentioned. 
  • Agent B always gets a first-call resolution when Insurance Provider X is mentioned. 

Then you can dig further. Now that you know some details of Agent B’s FCR metric success, you can look into their responses within those call types. What script are they using? Do they have a specific connection? What other things happen on that call? What isn’t Agent A doing that they could be doing?

This type of insight lets you segment your agents so they can develop their strengths and overcome their weaknesses. Agent B’s success can become Agent A’s success. And FCRs will jump up overall. 

OK, how about this one: Financial experiences are fraught and agents must express empathy. Do RPCs or FCRs tell you the whole story?  Standardized notes allow you to easily understand the consumer’s experience relative to each agent. If Agent C gets a compliment on every call, you might want to know why. What if it turned out that Agent C had a perfect script for supporting their contact through the conversation? You’d likely want to quickly replicate that behavior. 

But even if you don’t bring your agents’ skills to the whole team, you can at least evaluate their performance effectively. Standardizing and reporting on note data takes you from from qualitative information to quantifiable behaviors and trends, and from quantifiable KPIs to qualitative understanding.

To start reporting on all of it:

Step 1: Implement an automated notes and summarization solution.

Step 2: Define your top KPIs and the categories they fall into. The possibilities here are endless; they should be based on your overarching goals, and do not have to remain static. 

Step 3: Select an interval and scale at which to view your insights. Discover what’s happening at scale (e.g., satisfaction scores are low in comparison to last year across the board), in a given timeframe and segment (RPC calls fell this month in this segment) and at an individual level (Agent A’s payment rate is down long-term.).

Step 4: Generate your reports. If you chose Operations, Payments and Customer Experience as your top goal categories and included success metrics for each, as well as areas of strength and weakness to designate, your next agent performance review could include the report card from the top of this post.

Insights for Action

With a report like this — but featuring your specific reporting section categories and metrics — your contact center can address a lot of new options and opportunities. The best part is that all of this comes from data you’re already creating and “using”: your call notes. 

Want to learn more about how you can become more productive, compliant, and customer-focused, all by enabling your agents? Talk to our team using the button below.

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Brian Reed

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Karin Krisher

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