By Leslie O’Flahavan, E-Write
When managers score agents’ email quality in a “gotcha” fashion, or when they score agents on writing skills that haven’t been explained, taught, or coached, they can damage agents’ writing skills. Yes, it’s true. An ineffective or punitive email scorecard can make agents’ writing skills worse.
One of the most common errors is taking points off for every incident of the same error. Let’s say you use a 100-point scorecard. Agents can earn—or lose—up to 15 points for correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar. One of your agents, who we’ll call Tracy, made eight egregious comma errors, so you deducted 8 points from the 15 points she could have earned for this standard.
This punishing approach to scoring for correctness is going to backfire. Dinging Tracy over and over for the same error isn’t going to help her use commas correctly; it’s just going to show her that the hammer comes down hard when she makes a mistake. Deducting eight points may communicate, “Your ineptitude with commas is a big problem” but it doesn’t do anything to help Tracy correct the problem. If you want to build Tracy’s writing skill, you have choices:
- Show her how to use a comma correctly
- Ask her to use online punctuation practice to brush up on comma rules
- Pair her with a colleague who’s great at punctuation
If I were Tracy, and I’d lost 8 of 15 points because I made the same comma error 8 times, I know what I’d do. I’d stop using commas! You can’t get punished for something you didn’t do, right?
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