Productivity and efficiency is what an organization wants from a customer service team. In a call center, there are super stars, top performers, middle of the road workers, and low performers. It becomes a finely honed combination of quantity and efficiency developed by knowledge of the product, understanding the needs of customers, training, and the support tools available to the customer service team.
In an example of the correlation between quality and quantity is an interesting story of a customer service representative who is very detailed oriented, amazing with customers, and received outstanding reviews from managers as well as customers, however she performed low in quantity; she spent too much time on each call. During her monthly review, the customer representative defended her position stating quantity of calls should not be a reflection of her work and reminded her supervisor of her nearly spotless record. In addition, the workload was becoming increasing more difficult, and she was feeling the pressure of the job affecting her personal and professional life.
So how was this issue addressed? Of quantity and efficiency, efficiency is part of quality. Since this team member only completed half as many calls as the rest of the team, it was time for some coaching. The team leader was able to help the representative with proven methods to cut call time by typing while listening, learning the call system better, and being able to employ more of the tools, answering questions quicker, and having a better knowledge of the company's products.
Efficiently handling customer service calls doesn't mean spending 25 minutes with one customer. Customers are much happier receiving the answers they need in three minutes, rather than ten minutes. Solving someone's issues with courtesy, honesty and efficiency breeds quantity also.
While there is no disagreement that focusing on quality is number one in customer service, when employees are given the proper training, personal development, goal setting, and prioritizing tools, quantity closely follows.