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When auditing a quality assessment scale or QA scorecard in call centers, I commonly find that there’s no allowance given for an element to be “not applicable” (NA). For those experienced in quality assessment, this may seem like basic common sense, but my experience has proven that it is a frequently overlooked element when scoring or analyzing phone calls. If you’re not already doing so, here’s why you should immediately alter your methodology to include an “NA” option:
  • Because it’s accurate. Typically, when the NA option is not given, the Customer Service Representative (CSR) is given credit for the element even though it doesn’t apply. So, the resulting score doesn’t accurately reflect what happened in the call. Some elements truly aren’t relevant on a given call. If your QA program is going to have integrity, it needs to accurately reflect what actually happened on a phone call. If an element wasn’t a factor in the phone call, it shouldn’t be a factor in the score.
  • Because it’s fair. Some CSRs would argue that it’s not fair (especially if they’re used to receiving falsely inflated scores), but the NA option is fair is because only those elements that do apply had an impact on the customer’s satisfaction on that call. It’s fair that you are only held accountable for the elements that were relevant to the call, no more and no less.
  • Because it raises the level of accountability. Let’s give a hypothetical. Let’s say you had twenty elements on your QA scorecard and, on a certain call, only ten of them really applied. (I feel like I’m writing a story problem) The CSR missed two of the 10 applicable elements. Without the NA option, the CSR gets credit for all ten non-applicable elements. The result looks like he missed two out of twenty (90%). If you take out the ten elements that didn’t factor into the call he now has eight out of ten (80%). Which is more accurate?

When the NA option is not given, it’s common to find poorly performing CSRs sitting back on their laurels, confident that they are doing well when their scores don’t reflect their true performance.

It’s vital that you make the “not applicable” option applicable in your scoring methodology!