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Conducting Effective Quality Calibrations

Calibrations should be a part of any relevant quality program, but they are often overlooked or placed on a back burner. Regular calibrations ensure that everyone has the same understanding of what is being measured and validates that responses are consistent from everyone on the team.

Commercial Quality applications offer calibration and reporting capabilities that highlight areas of discrepancy with very little effort, but it’s not necessary to have a commercial application to hold an effective calibration session. It just takes a little more effort to tally results.

It can be daunting deciding where to start if there is no current calibration process in place. These five steps can help any quality program get started with a formal calibration process.

Contact Center Quality Calibration

1.    Select the calibration team: The Quality Assurance (QA) team is an obvious choice for calibration, but it’s a good idea to include supervisors and leadership in the calibration. One or two senior agents and trainers can also be beneficial to include as they often bring a fresh perspective to the process.

Gather the team for a kickoff meeting. Plan enough time to select a calibration leader and determine the criteria for the calibration. The leader will be responsible for selecting calls, tallying results and running the calibration sessions. Be sure to discuss timelines and expectations during this session. This is also a good time to decide how many calls will be included in the calibration.

2.    Select the calibration calls: If calls are recorded, preselect several calls that represent different agents, lengths and types of calls. Provide them to the calibration team in advance for scoring. If calls are not recorded, schedule time for the team to live monitor calls together so calls can be scored in real time.

3.    Calibration timeline: If calls were preselected and provided to the calibration team, set a deadline for completion of call scoring. Be realistic with the deadline. If the calibration is to be performed live, set aside time for one or more live monitoring sessions to complete the number of calls decided upon during kickoff.

4.    Compiling results: Scoring the calibration is where a commercial application will shine by producing complete reporting capabilities on the results of the calibration. If the calibration is being performed manually now is the time to compile the results. Commercial applications will easily identify patterns; however, a sophisticated spreadsheet user can also create graphs and tables to manually identify patterns as well.

Once the results are tallied, bring the team back together. They will be instrumental in assisting with the data analysis. It’s imperative that they are included in this part of the process so everyone is clear on the results and how they were achieved.

Analyze the results as a team to determine if any patterns are noticeable. If scoring patterns are emerging, is there a secondary pattern? Is it a particular section that is in question, or is it a subset of the team? For example, if your team of agents scored differently than the rest of the calibration team then there’s an underlying issue that needs to be addressed, and it may take a bit more digging to determine what’s causing the discrepancy.

This is a great time to not only analyze the results, but to evaluate the efficiency of the “form” and ensure everyone understands what is being measured and why. In addition, corporate goals may have changed since the last calibration, and it’s the perfect time to ensure goals are aligned with the company and the QA program is measuring what matters.

5.    Take action: The results are in, and they’ve been exhaustively discussed with the team. Now it’s time to determine if action needs to be taken. If there were serious discrepancies in scoring, the analysis in the previous step should indicate what needs to be fixed to reduce the disparity.

Changes in corporate direction, focus on new or different KPIs and consistent goal attainment are also actionable and should be considered at this time and worked into the action plan. The involvement of leadership in the calibration process will be invaluable if this is the case.

Once the plan is in place, don’t forget to report the results. Be open and honest about the results of the calibration, the action plan and timelines. Transparency is the key to getting buy-in from agents, supervisors and leadership.

The calibration process is not only about making sure everyone scores every call exactly the same way; that can typically be addressed by asking one question at a time with only yes/no responses. It’s about making sure everyone is on the same page, what’s truly important is being measured and everyone understands why those KPIs are being scored.

Topics: Coaching And Quality Management