Quality management is critical — and the fact that contact center agents are working from home makes routine performance monitoring even more important. But for those contact center leaders navigating many moving pieces with remote work and higher than normal call volume, quality management is often one of the first processes on the chopping block.

But what happens when we pause quality management? Customer experience can suffer mightily because agents aren’t receiving regular coaching to fuel continuous performance improvement.

Instead of pausing quality management indefinitely, what if we use this as an opportunity to improve the process and get more effective and efficient? Here are seven recommendations.

1. Reduce the load if needed but keep going

Are you in the habit of pausing quality because of unforeseen circumstances? Sure, contact centers go through busy seasons, and supervisors are inevitably pulled in different directions. Instead of pausing quality altogether, consider reducing the number of interactions you review, not eliminating altogether. Also consider introducing a performance-based model where top-performing agents receive less feedback, allowing more time for lower performers.

2. Slim down your quality form

Now is the time to review your quality form and the amount of time it takes to complete a quality evaluation. Consider trimming it down to the most essential behaviors required on every customer interaction. You may also want to adjust your scoring method from that complex rating scale to a simple gauge of whether or not agents meet the standard. Check out this article with the most essential items to consider for any quality form.

3. Select the right interactions using speech analytics

You’d be surprised at how much time is spent looking for the right customer interactions to review. It can take a while to find calls that are not too long or short but this approach is wrong on a couple of levels. First, it’s inefficient, and second, it misses an opportunity to coach agents on those interactions that don’t fit the average.

Reviewing interactions on the longer end is a great opportunity to help agents get more efficient and address knowledge gaps that result in extensive hold time for customers. Short interactions, on the other hand, reveal instances where agents aren’t giving customers enough time and effort.

Speech Analytics can add some efficiency to the interaction selection process, allowing you to set up predefined searches to quickly find calls about trending issues and containing important keywords, agent over talk, and negative or positive customer sentiment. These interactions are more likely to contain important coaching opportunities.

4. Use live monitoring and screen recording

For some contact centers, a good portion of quality management occurs side-by-side with agents — observing live as they interact with customers. Seemingly impossible when agents are remote, this is where the ability to monitor and record the agent desktop is so powerful. Supervisors can observe how agents navigate their available tools and multiple monitors during both phone and digital customer interactions and offer coaching more insightful coaching.

5. Get specific with your feedback

Typically when supervisors review interactions, they note their feedback in the moment. A disconnect occurs when they later go over their feedback in a coaching session and the agent has to try to recall a single conversation amid their sea of daily customer interactions. A quality management platform with the ability to highlight specific moments in calls and tag agents so they can go listen to the interaction themselves and read supervisor comments is a much more effective way to deliver feedback.

6. Coach using video meetings

A temptation when agents are remote is to forsake the typical one-on-one conversation to review interactions and instead send them an email. While this may work for some, it’s not a great long term strategy. Coaching conversations allow supervisors to model the correct behaviors — even roleplaying and practicing certain scenarios. Use video meetings for those one-on-one conversations with agents to boost the quality and effectiveness of the coaching they receive.

7. Spruce up quality management reporting

There’s no time like the present to get your quality management reporting in order. Typical reports like the overall average score and the number of interactions monitored, while important to ensure that quality management activities are occurring, don’t do much to actually improve quality.

Instead, look at reports of how agents are trending on the behaviors expected of them. This is a reflection both on their ability to improve and the quality of the coaching and training they receive. Use this reporting to strategize future training and coaching to see the greatest impact on overall agent performance.

Looking back through this list, I can’t help but note that most of these recommendations would improve quality management efforts even if all agents were located in the same brick and mortar contact center. But specifically for those navigating remote work and/or seeing significant spikes in volume, pausing quality management and coaching indefinitely is dangerous. Instead, use this opportunity to monitor, coach, and improve more efficiently.

And finally, don’t forget that quality management is essential to improving the customer experience. Learn more about this relationship in this free guide: How to Leverage Quality Management to Transform Customer Experience.