Call Center Performance Management Learning Guide

Performance management skills are essential, yet they aren't easy to master. As a call center manager, you are tested on all aspects of monitoring agents in the call center, including call center planning, developing agent skills, rating agents based on metrics and rewarding agents based on performance. In this guide to performance management, you'll find articles, white papers, advice and resources to help you through each of these steps, resulting in effective call center management.

Performance management is an integral part of managing the call center. It incorporates many management aspects,...

including call center planning, developing agent skills, rating agents based on metrics and rewarding agents based on performance. According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, performance management includes:

  • Developing agent objectives and setting expectations
  • Continually monitoring call center agent performance
  • Training agents on a regular basis and developing customer service skills
  • Rating agent performance in a summary fashion
  • Rewarding exceptional performance

In this guide, you'll find articles, advice, chapter downloads and other resources to help you through each of these steps, resulting in effective call center management. This is your best resource for performance management information. Drop us an email to let us know what you think of this guide and what other learning guides you'd like to see on

Performance management spotlight

2007 Contact Center Performance Management Market Report
This report by DMG Consulting provides an in-depth analysis of all aspects of this market, including vendors, product functionality and technology, customer satisfaction, market trends and challenges, benefits and return on investment, market share, adoption rates, growth projections, and pricing.

Performance management terms to know

The following definitions are presented by, powered by

Vendor news

  • Contact center WFO market mature but growing, report says>Article (12/13/07)
  • Verint hopes to optimize the call center, closes Witness deal (5/30/07)
  • Microsoft to buy TellMe's speech technology>Article (3/14/07)
  • Call center consolidation continues as Verint buys Witness >Article (2/12/07)
  • Call center brings it together with WFO>Article (8/31/06)
  • Call center market consolidation tricky for buyers>Article (8/15/06)
  • Verint buys into call center with Mercom acquisition>Article (7/14/06)
  • NICE buys IEX, Performix>Article (4/28/06)
  • Aspect records quality monitoring buy>Article (4/5/06)
  • Speech analytics: Invest now or wait?>Article (3/24/06)
  • Blue Cross makes healthy call with speech-enabled IVR>Article (3/14/06)
  • Witness, Aspect advance call center integration>Article (9/27/05)
  • Workforce management, quality monitoring continue to converge>Article (4/25/05)

Management strategy

Call center planning means setting performance expectations and goals for groups of agents and individual agents to channel their efforts toward achieving the overall objectives for the call center and the organization. It's a good idea to get agents involved in the planning process early, to help them understand the goals of the organization, what needs to be done, why it needs to be done, and how well it should be done.

  • Voice-of-the-customer program begins with performance management at call center>Article
  • How can our call center balance call volume and off-phone requests?>Ask the Expert
  • Personalizing the contact center>Article
  • The contact center performance management market is on the rise>Column
  • New call center agents -- top 10 pitfalls>Ask the Expert
  • Motivate call center agents: Eight tips for success>Ask the Expert
  • Call center at Virgin Mobile gets personal>Article
  • Using call center metrics to evaluate outsourcing>Ask the Expert
  • Virtual assistants make real call center impact>Article
  • Quality management as a call center industry standard>Ask the Expert
  • Building a business case for remote call center agents>CRM ROI series
  • Building a business case for contact center technology>Ask the Expert
  • Hosted call centers: pros and cons>Ask the Expert
  • Tips for managing remote agents>Ask the Expert
  • Evaluating quality monitoring vendors>Ask the Expert
  • Best practices in managing customer data>Article
  • Number of at-home agents to skyrocket>Article
  • Pulling a call center 'Houdini'>Article
  • Contact centers hung up on quality metrics>Article
  • Speech being heard in the contact center>Article
  • Reinventing Your Contact Center>Chapter download
  • Call center management and planning basics>Chapter download

Tracking agent performance

Monitoring performance is imperative to not only determine the agents who are excelling in the call center, but to encourage correct processes and reinforce valuable customer service behavior. To be effective in monitoring, call center managers should provide ongoing feedback to employees and share progress with groups of agents as well as identify methods for reaching their goals.

  • Tips for ensuring high quality and productivity without burning out call center agents>Ask the Expert
  • Analyze call center agent performance to lower average handle time (AHT)>Ask the Expert
  • Quality monitoring: How to get started>Ask the Expert
  • Customer satisfaction falls despite call center efforts>Article
  • Developing a quality assurance form for evaluating call center agents>Ask the Expert
  • Customers: The best judge of agent performance>Article
  • The power of real-time customer surveys>Article
  • Workforce management provides winning formula for Bell Canada>Article
  • Quality management can help analyze average talk time>Ask the Expert
  • Train call center agents on using case numbers>Ask the Expert
  • Absenteeism in the call center>Ask the Expert
  • Is AHT a good CSR performance metric?>Ask the Expert
  • The promise of performance optimization>Ask the Expert
  • Reducing call center hold time>Ask the Expert

Training call center agents

In the call center environment, it is just as important to train inexperienced agents as it is to develop skills of experienced agents through continuous training. Call center managers should provide agents with all the skills they need to do their job effectively, through training as well as giving assignments that introduce new skills or higher levels of responsibility. By providing training and encouraging skill development of call center agents, managers strengthen competency and help agents keep up with changes or the introduction of new technology.

Metrics-based performance management

As any call center manager knows, it is important to identify the best performers in the organization. To accomplish this, managers often look at performance over time and and compare performance among various call center agents. When it comes time for formal appraisals, managers should evaluate individual agent or group performance by comparing performance metrics against the agent's original goals to then assign a summary rating.

Agent recognition and rewards

Recognition is a natural part of call center operations, but effective call centers must learn to use rewards well. Rewarding means recognizing call center agents, individually and as members of groups, for their performance and acknowledging their contributions to the goals of the call center or organization. Recognition and rewards can and should be both formal and informal.

  • Call center salary: How to reward agents based on a performance appraisal>Ask the Expert
  • The decision maker's guide to contact center quality management>Article
  • The guide to contact center quality management (part two)>Article
  • Finding that special agent>Article
  • The do-it-all agent>Article

Agent retention

Retaining your employees is essential to improving performance in the call center. Experienced agents are more likely to be invested in the goals of the organization and will work hard to achieve those goals. So what's one key to keeping valuable agents? Keep them happy.

  • Call center agents -- six simple steps to help motivation>Article
  • Reducing absenteeism in the call center by determining the root causes>Ask the Expert
  • Call center agents -- how to maximize skills, efficiency and motivation>Ask the Expert
  • Measuring agent retention translates to the bottom line>Article
  • Contact center employee satisfaction>Article
  • A happy agent is a productive agent>Article

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