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Dalbar Introduces New Quality Tool For Contact Centers

November 1, 2019


Dalbar Introduces
New Quality Tool for Contact Centers

In the “Age of the Customer” experiences matter. This is particularly true for telephone interactions which is where, from the customer’s point of view, the personality of the organization resides. Unfortunately, the telephone is among the most challenging channels. Each customer brings their own issue and their own unique viewpoint to the call, making a one-size-fits-all approach impractical. An over-reliance on scripting comes off as inauthentic. 

Call quality programs are tasked with addressing these challenges, providing coaching to representatives as well as input for incentive compensation. Traditional call quality programs rely on supervisors and/or designated call coaches to evaluate representative calls and then sit with the representative to discuss their findings and how to improve service on future calls. In the financial services industry, which puts a premium on call quality, we see an average of 9 calls reviewed for each representative per month. While that may seem like a lot, it still represents less than 1% of the calls most representatives are handling. That is a pretty small sample size when you consider that call quality makes up more than one half of the representative’s scorecard. Feedback from these reviews is typically delivered in one or two feedback sessions per month, limiting the representative’s opportunity to reflect on their own performance. What’s more, when call volumes increase, quality is often the first thing to go. 

By only brining the representative in at the end of the process, they often go into coaching sessions defensively. This can create animosity between coaches and the representative and gets in the way of constructive learning.

DALBAR, Inc., a leading independent expert for evaluating, auditing and rating customer experience (“CX’), designed the CXA iCoach self-assessment tool to address these challenges with a more efficient and effective approach to call quality. This innovative approach leverages the proven benefits of self-directed learning to improve representative performance. 

CXA iCoach is a self-assessment interface which integrates call evaluation and coaching into a single, extremely efficient, process through a smartphone app or web-based tool. CXA iCoach asks representatives to put themselves in their customer’s shoes and streamlines evaluations by focusing on the behaviors that matter most for each individual user. It supports the quality team by reinforcing positive behaviors between in-person coaching sessions. By relying on representatives accessing calls on their internal recording system, CXA iCoach does not need access to recordings or customer data.  

 “The two biggest challenges faced by call quality teams are finding the time to complete reviews and getting representative buy-in.” says DALBAR Director Brendan Yeager. “The CXA iCoach system is designed to address both of these. Representatives completing a portion of their own reviews allow call coaches to focus on where they can add the most value, coaching. Reps want to do a good job. Involving them in the process and giving them the tools they need to excel increases their engagement.” 

How it works

At the heart of the CXA iCoach System are three key concepts: focused evaluations, the test-train-validate cycle, and an independent third-party review.

Focused Evaluations

If you are focused on everything, you are not really focused on anything. CXA iCoach takes this maxim to heart. By limiting the behaviors tested to each individual representative’s biggest opportunities for improvement, they are able to increase their awareness, better appreciate how their actions impact customers, and build positive habits between coaching sessions.  

“Forming positive habits is crucial for representatives to consistently deliver a superior standard of care. Once positive habits are built, CXA iCoach moves on to other behaviors; allowing those to be mastered as well,” says DALBAR Director Brendan Yeager.

Focusing evaluations on a handful of key behaviors reduces the time it takes to complete the assessment, allowing them to be completed during even small increments of down time. 

Test-Train-Validate Cycle

One of the keys to the efficiency of the CXA iCoach system is that it integrates evaluation and coaching into a single process using the Test-Train-Validate cycle. A guided process asks representatives about behaviors observed on their own calls, while at the same time stressing the impact of those behaviors on the customer. Explaining the “why” behind specific behaviors makes it easier for representatives to integrate them into their day-to-day and increases buy-in. 

If a behavior is repeatedly missed, the representative is directed to short training module on that specific behavior within the CXA iCoach interface. This training is then validated by the representative earning credit for that behavior in future assessments. Once a behavior is mastered it is replaced by a new behavior, starting the cycle over again. Mastered behaviors are re-tested periodically to validate that they are still being displayed; If not the cycle will repeat for that behavior. 

Independent Third-Party Review

Reliable statistics are a cornerstone of any quality program as they provide a basis for oversight, rewards and intervention as needed. A “fair” process increases representative accountability and buy-in. CXA iCoach ensures reliability by increasing sample sizes, employing random sampling, and by having Dalbar’s expert quality analysts review representative’s self-assessments. The Dalbar analyst review is particularly important, as it overcomes the potential conflict of interest inherent in any self-evaluation. 

The CXA iCoach Value Proposition

The CXA iCoach system is an extremely efficient deployment of resources. By taking advantage of even small increments of down time, it allows managers to increase quality reviews without committing additional resources. 

Integrating evaluation and coaching on a regular basis optimizes the process. Putting themselves into the customer’s shoes and building positive habits empowers representatives to consistently deliver top-notch customer experiences. Being active participants throughout the quality process increases representative engagement.

With much of the mundane task of evaluating calls being handled by the representatives, supervisors and call coaches are able to focus more of their time on value-added coaching. This is what really moves the needle on customer satisfaction.

Managers benefit from reliable dashboards for their representatives, teams and contact center. Increased representative engagement and accountability improves the customer experience, differentiating companies from the competition and building a sustainable competitive advantage.

For more information on the CXA iCoach self assessment tool for contact center quality control and coaching, email



 1 Dalbar 2018 Financial Services Contact Center Trend and Best Practices


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