Let’s say you were building a house, but every carpenter on the job site was using a different sized tape measure. The results would probably be pretty messy because there was no quality program ensuring accuracy and consistency, right?
The same holds true for your call center agents and the call monitoring processes you use. If everyone’s proverbial tape measure is a different size, it’s impossible to have meaningful conversations about customer service quality and what can be done to improve it.
So what’s the answer? Call calibration.
What is Call Calibration?
Call calibration is an important strategy to ensure managers, supervisors and QA teams are able to effectively evaluate agent performance and improve customer service.To continue the metaphor from above, call calibration makes sure everyone is using the same tape measure when conducting quality assurance.
Call calibration consists of a meeting between contact center agents, their supervisors, and the vendor that’s been appointed to monitor agent performance and deliver quality scores. During this meeting, the participants listen to real customer calls, both live and recorded, and rate the level of service the customer received. The purpose of these call calibration sessions is to make sure everyone is on the same page about how quality is being measured and whether scores are being assigned appropriately.
The call calibration process is an important one to ensure that all stakeholders—including the agents themselves—are able to effectively review the level of service being provided and make continuous improvements to it. It’s key if you want to establish a reputation for excellent customer service.
Ideally, call calibration should be conducted at least once a month, if not weekly or bi-weekly, as well as any time you introduce or make changes to a channel or its standards.
5 Tips for Live & Recorded Call Calibration
1. Establish Ground Rules Prior to the Session
Before the call calibration session begins, lay some ground rules to make sure everyone is comparing apples to apples. Your quality assurance manager should take the lead here, giving all participants a primer on what the evaluation form will include and what the process will entail.
It’s important for participants to feel as though they can be open and honest with their feedback, so you don’t want to be too specific when setting expectations; rather, it’s about making sure everyone is on the same page about what they’re listening for and how they’ll convey their impressions.
2. Listen Without Interruptions
Whether the calls you’re using during your calibration session are live or recorded, you should listen to them in their entirety, without interruptions the first time around. Each party should be given the chance to independently formulate an impression and record their feedback, without first discussing amongst the group. This preserves subjectivity and ensures that no one person’s views are coloring the outcome of the session.
Only once everyone has had a chance to hear the full call and record their thoughts should you begin discussion or playback of relevant portions of the call.
3. Prioritize Consistency
Now, it’s time to review the input of your session participants. The goal here is less about the quality findings for any one particular call and more about the consistency of results among the different parties.
For example, do the scores given by your floor managers and your quality assurance managers agree most of the time? Or, do they have divergent views about what makes for a good quality call? What about between your managers and your agents?
This can take some practice, as it’s easy to get bogged down discussing the nuances of a single customer interaction. Remember–the purpose of this session is to focus on the standards for measuring quality, not the techniques that agents are using to meet those standards.That can be addressed with coaching later on.
4. Examine Deviations
As you compare notes to see how your quality standards stack up against one another, pay close attention to the deviations, like particularly high and low scores. For these scores, ask the rating party to talk more specifically about what influenced their scoring.
Was it the language the agent used? The tone of voice? The method of service delivery? The length of the call The technical quality? The angles that come up may surprise you.
This is perhaps the most important part of the call calibration discussion because it will allow you to zero in on any disconnects that exist between your quality scoring vendor and your internal team and find out what’s behind them.
5. Review Quality Standards With Every Session
Finally, it’s time to take action on the findings of your session. If you identified discrepancies in your scoring, make the necessary corrections and incorporate them into your updated scoring standards. Specifically, identify what’s changed from the last session and what steps should be used moving forward to ensure consistent ratings.
The quality standards that result from your call calibration sessions should be shared regularly with your full staff. This is important because it ensures agents know how they’re being judged and enables managers to coach them more effectively. All of this adds up to a more consistent customer experience, which leads to improved business processes and a higher level of customer satisfaction.