How many customer interactions should we review on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis in our contact centers? That’s the next question to ask after completing a quality form and determining who’s responsible for quality monitoring.

If you do a quick Google search, some sites prescribe reviewing somewhere between 6 and 8 calls per month per agent and others might break it down into a weekly requirement. My answer to that question? It depends — on a bunch of different factors.

Quality Management is about reviewing AND coaching

But before jumping into those factors, I batted this topic around with Justin Robbins, Contact Center Expert and Content Marketing Strategist at 8x8 and he advised:

Score as many customer interactions as you can deliver coaching on and don’t fall into the trap of treating it as a one size fits all program. Justin Robbins

This advice cuts to the heart of what’s important about quality management which is reviewing customer interactions and then coaching agents. To review a ton of interactions and never deliver feedback to help agents improve is a waste of time. Sure, you will gauge the quality performance of the team, but without consistent coaching, you miss out on the opportunity to improve quality.

Now, let’s jump into my really-long-non-prescriptive answer to how many quality monitors you should complete in your contact center. The answer lies in a series of questions.

What’s your volume of customer interactions?

Understanding the total number of interactions your contact center handles in a given time period allows you to determine a representative sample size. This is the number of interactions you should review to be confident in the team’s quality performance.

Without diving too far into the weeds on statistics, use a sample size calculator, set your “Confidence Level” at 95%, “Confidence Interval” at 5, and enter the total number of customer interactions for a given month in “Population.” This calculates the “Sample Size Needed” which is the number of quality monitors to complete for the month. Divide this number by the total number of agents to determine monitors per agent. Note that increasing the confidence level and reducing the confidence interval (or room for error) significantly increases the sample size.

When you look at this number, does it seem like your leadership team can sustainably review and coach this many interactions? Or did you experience major sticker shock? If the latter, let’s weigh some more options.

What’s your channel mix?

It’s also important to understand how channel mix impacts sample size. For contact centers that solely focus on phone, agents handle one call at a time so the sample size may be fairly reasonable.

Centers that handle chat, where multiple chats can be worked concurrently, or asynchronous messaging (email, social, text) where multiple messages are sent before an issue is solved, this may significantly increase your sample size.

One tip when looking at interaction volume is to focus on entire cases as opposed to individual messages when determining your sample size. And, in an omnichannel world, be sure to review the entire interaction which might include a phone call and a follow-up email or another similar combination.

How complex are the customer interactions?

One might assume that text-based interactions are quicker to review because they don’t require listening to an audio recording. While the work in some contact centers is very quick, making quality monitoring quick, I’ve worked with email teams where a significant amount of investigation and administrative work went into every message sent. I’ve worked with other teams who were spending 20-30 minutes on average with new customers helping them use a product for the first time. The length and complexity of interactions often determine the time it takes a supervisor to review and coach.

Who’s reviewing interactions?

Leaders need to think about the team structure and how many agents report to each supervisor. This will help determine how much time can be spent on quality assurance in balance with other responsibilities. Where the agent to supervisor ratio is around 10:1, it may be sustainable for a supervisor to monitor quality, but for ratios of 20:1 or more, the supervisor might need the help of team leads or a dedicated quality team.

How predictable is the work in your contact center?

I’ve worked with many teams that said, “Call volume spiked unexpectedly this past month so we were unable to complete any quality monitors.” In those events where it’s all hands on deck for contact center leadership, quality can be one of the first things to take a backseat unless there are people dedicated to the work. The better your team can plan for emergencies and spikes in volume, the more likely quality monitoring is to occur.

Are you contractually required to review a certain number of interactions?

Perhaps you work at a BPO (outsourcer) and quality monitoring is spelled out in the contract. Or perhaps you’re in financial services or healthcare and your regulators or partners require quality to be at or above a certain threshold for compliance purposes. This is a natural place where quality management tools enter the discussion, adding significant efficiency to the entire process and allowing supervisors to use speech analytics to quickly identify compliance issues.

Do all agents need to receive the same number of monitors?

Yes and no. All agents should be regularly monitored for quality, but let’s work smarter, not harder. I recommend adjusting your model based on performance. For those agents who are consistently knocking it out of the park, reduce the number of monitors they receive and instead focus coaching time on other areas of their career development. This will allow more time to review and coach the middle of the road and low performers to help them improve.

Did I sufficiently answer your question? In short, there are a number of things to consider when it comes to how many quality monitors to complete in the contact center. If you remember nothing else, remember that the complete process of reviewing interactions and coaching agents is what truly drives quality in your contact center. If you need help narrowing down what that number looks like, how to structure the team, and where technology can help, please contact us. We love helping companies such as yours deliver better customer service!