Barriers to effective agent evaluation in a bilingual call center

In order to ensure productivity in a call center, managers must be able to come up with an effective performance evaluation program that will help them assess the strengths and weakness of their agents. In a bilingual outsourcing firm, such as a Cantonese call center in the Philippines, this knowledge is important because it enables leaders to immediately identify errors and correct them before they even cause bigger problems.

Since bilingual call centers cater to diverse and wide customer bases, client expectations are definitely much higher. Training and coaching efforts must always be designed based on the gathered evaluation results. Performance evaluation, however, is not just about conducting live call monitoring or post-call surveys. There must be guidelines set in place to make sure you do not commit these mistakes when assessing your bilingual call center agents’ performance:

•     Lack of agent orientation

Informing your agents about the specific procedures of the evaluation program can make them appreciate its worth. They must be able to understand the benefits of the program and see it as a necessary tool to improve your call center’s quality of services. The last thing you want to happen is making your agents feel that they are being closely monitored because you don’t think they’re good enough. This can impose unnecessary burden among your agents and can seriously affect their morale and performance.


•     Setting poor evaluation criteria


Performance evaluation must not be limited to just answering “yes or no” questions. Was the bilingual call center agent courteous? Did the agent speak in Cantonese proficiently? Was the issue resolved effectively? These black or white questions do not permit evaluators to fully explain their assessment. As a result, your agents don’t get the complete descriptive details of their call handling skills. They can also assume that only a little effort is needed to pass the performance evaluation.


•     Not recognizing hard work


Your agents must understand that the purpose of the evaluation program is not just to nitpick their mistakes, but to assess their performance holistically. Failure to make your agents aware that you also want to acknowledge their strengths can make the evaluation process intimidating for them. A good assessment program must consist of incentives for agents with exemplary performance.


•     Failing to base training on evaluation results


An effective evaluation program must produce results that can be used in modifying the strategies you use in training your agents. The findings must be comprehensively discussed during your coaching session with your agents. Your agent must take an active role in designing an action plan that will correct the identified mistakes. Your refresher courses and training efforts must take into consideration the commonly identified weak performance areas of your agents.


The goal of improving your bilingual call center agents’ skills can best be achieved by diligently monitoring their performance. Only then can you come up with concrete plans on how to act on their weaknesses and reinforce their strengths. Avoiding these mistakes when implementing an agent evaluation program can therefore help you manage your workforce well and lead your agents to a more productive path.



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