ChaseData Call Center Software Blog

The BARS Method: Perfect for Call Centers or a Perfect Storm?

Posted by Ahmed Macklai on Sep 25, 2019 7:30:00 AM

agent performance evaluation

Contact center managers are always on the hunt for new approaches to agent performance evaluation. While there is no right or wrong way to assess your employees, there are some methods that may be better suited to your staff and facility than others.

If you’re looking to shake up the way you appraise your employees, you may want to try a method that views and assesses your team members as individuals rather than simply numbers on a list - and gives them meaningful feedback on how to improve and enhance their approach to workplace excellence.

Enter the BARS Method

BARS - Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scales - are one of many ways that conduct agent performance evaluation. It is seen by many as a more modern approach, since it focuses more on employee behaviors and the employee as a person, rather than simply the straightforward productivity and output of the staff member while they are at work.

This method dives deeper than most appraisal methods. Instead of providing a general list of items that can be checked off and compared across any position within the company, it focuses on behaviors to evaluate individual performance within the specific position each employee works. This offers a highly accurate, in-depth picture of how each staff member is performing and what improvements need to be made.

The scale used for BARS assessment is an easy-to-understand 1-5 scale, with five being the highest level of performance and one being the least desirable. They are officially listed as follows:

  1. Unsatisfactory performance.
  2. Marginal performance.
  3. Fully competent performance.
  4. Excellent performance.
  5. Exceptional performance.

This scale can easily be applied to nearly any industry and setting, making it excellent for making applications.

Applying the BARS Method to Call Center Agent Performance Evaluation

Because of the tedious and impersonal feel of working in a call center, applying an appraisal method like the BARS approach can be very refreshing for your employees. There are several key features of the approach that make it great for performing evaluation when quality and a deep understanding of each employee is your end goal, including:

  • Behavior basis - Rather than just focusing on the raw output that a person delivers at their desk, this appraisal method focuses on how they do their work. What is their attitude? How do they perform the tasks they are asked to do? What is their workplace behavior like? These are all evaluated during their assessment and feedback is offered to help them enhance or correct these behaviors to improve performance.

  • Ease of use - With very little practice and study, this appraisal method is generally accepted as easy to perform by managers and easy to understand by employees. This makes it more useful to your company overall.

  • Equitable - With a focus on fairness, this is a type of evaluation that your agents are likely to favor.

  • Action-oriented - When providing your employees with one-on-one feedback on both their performance and their behaviors, you empower them to change and improve both of these. By doing this, you give them the chance to take matters into their own hands and take action toward their own achievement and success.

  • Individualization - While the focus is on the individual, this can really help promote a cohesive company culture and enhance the consistency of great performance between agents.

Potential Drawbacks and Adjustments Necessary with BARS

Perhaps the biggest sticking point for many employers when considering utilizing the BARS method in their facility is the individualized approach it requires. Especially in larger companies, this simply isn’t practical in many cases. While breaking down agent performance evaluation into departments or groups can help work around this issue, it can still be difficult to adequately focus on each person and their behavior on an individual basis the way the method requires when you have hundreds or even thousands of employees on-site.

The use of the method can also be rather high-maintenance and demanding of managers, especially if one person or a small group are expected to conduct the majority of the appraisals. Since each person being evaluated needs individual attention, it becomes necessary to break the task up between larger groups of management team members. This is perhaps one of the only ways to make this method work properly in the contact center setting; otherwise, evaluations might take all year to finish!

Lastly, because of the individual attention required in implementing this method - and the large number of people required to do so properly - it can be costly. These additional costs can be a killer for smaller to medium businesses and very inconvenient for the budgets of larger companies. Regardless of your company’s size, needless expenditures are always harmful over time.

To protect your bottom line, look for ways to streamline the evaluation procedure and make appraisals part of the regular workday for those performing assessments. This can help you keep costs under control and make the BARS method possible for your contact center. Rest assured, though: If you feel that these adjustments cannot be made to create a suitable fit for your center, there are always other evaluation methods to try!

Using Technology to Bolster Your Agent Performance Evaluation Methods

To ensure that you’re conducting the best and most effective types of call center agent performance evaluation, it’s important to be sure that your team is using the best technology. Today’s call center technology can be used to help you gather information, catalog and organize it, analyze and process that information, and use it to determine how agents are performing. Figuring out who is meeting their goals - and who is falling short - is simple when you have the right software on your side.

The industry leaders at ChaseData have the technology you need to outfit your operation with the tools to do all of this and more. Make your agents better performers and keep tabs on how they’re doing - all with the same technology. Give ChaseData a call today to learn more about what’s available.

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