Power Tools for Technical Communication:
First-Pass Review

In this lab, you perform a "first-pass" review on an excerpt from instructions. (To do this lab, you need to have studied Chapters 18, 19, and related chapters from Part 1. Also useful are the online chapters on content, organization, and transitions.)
  1. Print these pages out so that you can make your comments in the margins with a pen or pencil.
  2. Study Chapter 18 of Power Tools for Technical Communication, paying particular attention to first-pass reviewing.
  3. Study the text carefully for problems involving the following:
    • Lack of content for the intended audience
    • Useless or incomprehensible content (from the intended audience's point of view)
    • Chunks of information not sequenced properly (organization problems)
    • Inadequate transitions
    • Weak or nonexistent introduction
  4. Make your comments in the margins of the printout.
  5. Write a review-summary memo (similar to the one in Chapter 22 of Power Tools for Technical Communication in which you summarize your observations about this document and make recommendations (be nice!).
  6. Put your name, First-Pass Review, and the date on both documents, and hand them in to your instructor.

Recommendation Report

This is a recommendation report for the Senior Quality Manager of GeneralMidcentral.net to change the way her quality-monitoring group is monitoring the GeneralMidcentral.net customer call center. I worked previously as a quality-monitoring analyst with GeneralMidcentral.net. On September 11, 2002, I received a job promotion and have been working as a quality-monitoring analyst with GeneralMidcentral. In my new job position, we use a different scoring system to monitor the incoming calls to the call center. Since I have worked in both positions monitoring the same group, I can give my feedback and recommendations as to why our monitoring process is a more customer oriented and efficient procedure.

Technical Background

GeneralMidcentral.net monitors its own incoming calls with its own internal data to judge the quality of its representatives handling of customer concerns. The company use its own form to give a grade between 0-100 for each representative. At the end of each month, the quality-monitoring analyst gives his or her individual and team scores to each manager in the call center. This is a very efficient process to grade each representative in the call center. Each representative is monitored 4 times each throughout the month and these scores will affect its job rating and pay increases each year. In addition, GeneralMidcentral monitors the GeneralMidcentral.net customer call center from its downtown Tuleta office. GeneralMidcentral monitors a total of 250 random calls into the call center. They do not have a quota for each representative and team manager. The 250 calls are selected at random and give the call center and overall score instead of giving each representative and manager an automatic zero.

Background on the Situation

GeneralMidcentral.net has just recently been monitoring its SDLA calls in its call center starting in September 2001. Previously, they were only monitoring the analog or narrowband customers in the call center. Since the Universal group merged the analog and SDLA groups together in August, a decision was made by upper management to monitor both groups together to provide constructive feedback to our call center representatives. The PCAN group downtown has been monitoring the SDLA group since September 2000. Since the PCAN group had a head start on the GeneralMidcentral.net Quality team, they have better knowledge on how to improve the overall quality of the team. PCAN scores are what GeneralMidcentral will ultimately judge the GeneralMidcentral.net call center on at the end of the year. GeneralMidcentral watches the PCAN quality scores very closely and will determine the future plans for GeneralMidcentral.net based on these scores. The quality scores that GeneralMidcentral.net monitors themselves with internally are not using the same guidelines that the GeneralMidcentral PCAN team is using.

Requirements and Criteria

Numerical values. GeneralMidcentral.net monitors itself internally with its own guidelines. The format used use is similar to the GeneralMidcentral PCAN team in most ways, but this organization does not judge themselves as strictly as the PCAN group does. Last month, the PCAN group gave the SDLA team an overall score of 61%. GeneralMidcentral.net gave itself an overall score of 87%.

Yes/no values. This is not an accurate score when you consider the way that GeneralMidcentral.net monitors its representatives. GeneralMidcentral.net breaks down its customer service scores categorically into 24 different fields. They assign yes and no values of between 3-5 points for each category. A representative will receive a yes or no score in each field and will receive full points for that category or a zero for that category. A GeneralMidcentral group the same 24 fields into 5 broad categories of about 20-30 points each. Again, a representative will receive a yes or no score in each field and will receive full points for that category or a zero for that category.

Ratings values. GeneralMidcentral.net gives its representatives score in each of these fields and the score will be tabulated at the end of the call. The different fields have a maximum point value of 5 points. There is one exception to this rule. The category named 'Works to Save Customer' has a point value of 25 points. If a customer calls us to cancel its account and the representative does not make an attempt to keep the customers account active, they will receive an automatic 25-point deduction for that call. The highest score possible for that call would be a 75 if the representative did everything else correctly. The PCAN group would score that call an automatic zero. There are 4 other ways that the PCAN group would use to give a representative an automatic zero. GeneralMidcentral.net does not give automatic zeroes in any situation unless the representative is abusive or hangs up on the customer. This is the main reason that there is such a difference in the scores between GeneralMidcentral and GeneralMidcentral.net.

Discussion of the Options

GeneralMidcentral.net can continue to use its monitoring format and receive a score between 85% - 90% each month. This will not impact the score format that the GeneralMidcentral PCAN team uses and will not change however. GeneralMidcentral will base its business decisions towards its SDLA product based on its internal PCAN scores. GeneralMidcentral.net needs to change its monitoring format to PCAN if it want to train its representatives how to properly take care of its customers. The SDLA representatives have not been trained properly due to the different format that they are using to internally monitor its groups. Adopting the PCAN form will teach them how to properly handle its incoming customer calls in the call center.

Category-by-Category Comparisons

GeneralMidcentral PCAN monitoring also tracks other categories for its own internal purposes. They track how many times the customer has had to contact us within the last 30 days. This is strictly for auditing purposes. The primary difference between the GeneralMidcentral PCAN format and the GeneralMidcentral.net monitoring method is that the PCAN group focuses more on customer affecting issues and will give automatic zeroes to agents that fail in these categories.


The GeneralMidcentral PCAN is busy working on ways to take care of customers needs by working on driving the customers toward its website for its more basic questions. This will decrease the high call volume and increase overall customer satisfaction, as customers will not always have to wait on the telephone to speak with an agent. The incoming calls will soon become more challenging, as only the customers with serious issues will be calling into the call center.

Primary conclusions. GeneralMidcentral PCAN monitoring will closely examine the scores that GeneralMidcentral.net agents are receiving with its customer base. GeneralMidcentral will base a large part of its budgetary decisions on the PCAN scores. GeneralMidcentral.net must stop using its monitoring forms to internally score its agents because they do not accurately reflect the level of customer service they are giving to its consumers.

Programs and information provided by hcexres@prismnet.com.