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Seb Anthony

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We currently ask Call centre staff to undertake a written test, after being with the company for 3 and 6 months, to check their knowledge. It is becoming increasingly difficult to asses, yes we have a pass mark, but sometimes the staff member hasn't fully understood the question. At the moment we are using a system where lots of codes have to be entered so these make up some questions however by the end of the year we are introducing a new booking system where codes will be a thing of the past. I would like some ideas on what you guys do (if anything) to check that staff are at a level of competency by 3 or 6 months. Tests for me are a thing of the past and it doesn't measure I don’t think if someone is giving good customer service or able to sell which is also part of their jobs, we monitor them with mystery shopping and coaching on a weekly basis but its the knowledge of what they are selling/advising customers that we need to pinpoint.
Any ideas would be great to get me started on something new I can introduce.

Natasha Cloke

3 Responses

  1. Bloom!

    The first question I would start with is ‘What level of understanding should they have?’
    Have a nosey at Blooms taxonomy and the Bloom rose for guidance of the different levels. Once this has been decided you can begin building evaluation methods. If you are already assessing their behaviours through mystery shopping and coaching, their knowledge of products and service I assume is also evaluated by the mystery shopper so the only thing left to evaluate is the skill level of the employee, this can be done by auditing their work for errors or cut corners and so on. One thing that might be more helpful than remembering codes would be to give them ficticious case studies and ask questions based around those.
    Hope this goes well!

  2. How’s about …
    Hi Natasha

    Firstly, I agree with you about using written tests. A bit past is sell-by date.

    Secondly I agree with Emma about creating a meaninful and useful basis for the process before you do anything else.

    Apart from that it isn’t very easy to answer your question because you haven’t really told us much about the HOW of your current testing.

    On that basis please excuse me if I’m “teaching my Granny to suck eggs.”

    I would take the answer to Emma’s question and create a number of idealised scenarios, each of which would have 4-8 required actions, depending on how complex the process is that you are yesting. These actions would include asking relevant questions to assess the customer’s need, the customer’s perception of how they were being treated (valued customer/polite but not personally involved/interested in meeting the customer’s needs/gave clear and relevant details/knew what they were talking about/etc.), and whether a sale was made (on the last point, presumably the mystery shoppers don’t actually make a purchase – but they can estimate whether they would have if they were making a genuine enquiry).

    In other words, you do much the same as you are doing now, but in a very focused way. This might be all the better if you invlve some of your best call staff and get them to help you to set the standards. (Of course that depends on whether you trust them to keep their deliberations to themselves.)

    Finally, it occurs to me that you probably (going only by your question) NOT using a very successful recruitment process, or the situation shouldn’t be as difficult as you seem to be saying.

    If you care to contact me at

    [email protected]

    I might be able to make some useful suggestions.


  3. testing
    Both posts have been really helpfull. I think the way forward would be to look at scenarios and testing them on how they would deal with each one. This definately gives me something to look into and put forward.



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