Author Interview of the Worst Call Center Common Practice


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An ebook titled Eliminating the Worst Call Center Practice: Quality Monitoring Calibration, is an extraordinary and unprecedented look into one of the most utilized processes in a call center. This ebook exposes a level of ignorance in the call center industry that is so wide-spread it will amaze you.

When you read this ebook, you will see why the light bulbs go off in the heads of so many as they connect their struggles with quality monitoring call calibration and the flaws into their call calibration processes.

This fact-based case study report was authored by call center anaytics expert Carmit DiAndrea. I had an opportunity to interview Carmit about her book, here’s the transcript:

Hi Carmit thanks for the interview. Let’s begin by talking about your ebook, Eliminating the Worst Call Center Practice: Quality Monitoring Calibration. What’s the main idea behind it?

Carmit: The main idea behind the ebook is that most call centers are doing call monitoring calibration wrong. And many call centers are paying consultants to teach them how to do it wrong. So wrong in fact, that it contributes to employee job dissatisfaction while wasting management’s time. Popular calibration practices don’t deliver on the intended outcome –accurate call scoring.

In a short sentence, who should read your e-book? What kind of advice/information should they be looking for?

Carmit: This ebook is for anyone who works in a call center or whose life is directly or indirectly affected by call center quality assurance programs.

On the other hand, who shouldn’t? What will readers NOT find in Eliminating the Worst Call Center Practice: Quality Monitoring Calibration?

Carmit: What you won’t find in this ebook is a magic bullet. Call calibration is a rigorous process that must be ongoing in order to deliver consistency and accuracy in call scoring. If you’re looking for a quick fix, this ebook is not for you!

How did you get started in this area?

Carmit: During my last year in high school and subsequent 4 years of college I worked at a market research company, first as an interviewer and then as a supervisor and quality monitoring analyst. That experience led to my first post-college job for a third party call monitoring company.

Most memorable quality monitoring call calibration session?

Carmit: I actually have two:

1) Back when I started in third party call monitoring, the monitoring activity was facilitated by a Quality Assurance staff member at the call center. One of the Quality Assurance Analysts I worked with quite often for a mutual telecom client was named Moses. Moses had the uncanny habit of connecting me to an agent and then walking away. It was not uncommon to walk by my office during those sessions and hear me yelling “Mosses!” into the phone receiver.

2) Everyone has at least one client who might in certain circles be called difficult. One such client had the habit of publicly berating the Quality Analysts on my team on monthly calibration calls. Not surprisingly, the Analysts on my team dreaded these calls and would do nearly anything to get out of them. To prevent these calls from becoming a free-for-all, I’d cover the walls in my office with static paper and make the analysts draw their feelings (instead of expressing them to a mute button). One such picture had my analysts in a frying pan …. and yours truly in the flames.

What is the biggest mistake you see people making with quality monitoring programs? What suggestions would you give them to improve?

Carmit: I would actually highlight two common mistakes:

1) Assuming that consistency = accuracy. Just because everyone agrees on an answer does not mean the answer is right. In the calibration process, someone needs to be the ultimate judge on what is right and what is wrong, based on what the client/company would most likely want.

2) Assuming that a discussion of right and wrong is sufficient. People have limited memory space. Instead of assuming everyone will remember the outcome of a heated discussion about a call monitored 3 days, weeks of months ago, document the discussion and the ultimate decision, along with the call ID.

Why do you think so many quality monitoring programs are unproductive?

Carmit: Many quality monitoring programs fall into the failure of assuming consistency = accuracy. Then, when “improved calibration” among the Quality Assurance team does not lead to improved performance among agents, the calibration process is blamed and abandoned.

What advice you think is wrong and makes you mad when you hear someone giving it?

Carmit: The recommendation to use variance or standard deviation as a measure of calibration effectiveness makes me mad, mostly because it sounds so very “legit.” Anyone who has taken an introductory statistics course knows that both variance and standard deviation are measures of dispersion or spread. And we all know that variations in process are bad. The problem with using these measures as the only measures of calibration is that they assume that the central point of the data, the mean is right. I think that given the amount of time and money spent on calibration we should test this mean as opposed to assuming that it’s right.

What are, in your opinion, the ingredients for a fantastic quality monitoring program?

Carmit: Measure the right things (accuracy & consistency), using the right people at the right frequency. And to borrow a saying from one of my favorite clients “rinse and repeat.”

Any additional comments or thoughts?

Carmit: Like many important things, call calibration takes time. Don’t be shocked by the figures you see coming out of your first calibration session when you implement the accuracy component. With the right process, people and time allotment, those numbers will improve, along with management, Quality assurance staff and call center agent buy-in into the process.

Contact information:


Thanks for the interview!

Jim Rembach
Linked In:

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jim Rembach
Jim Rembach is recognized as a Top 50 Thought Leader and CX Influencer. He's a certified Emotional Intelligence practitioner and host of the Fast Leader Show podcast and president of Call Center Coach, the world's only virtual blended learning academy for contact center supervisors and emerging supervisors. He’s a founding member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association’s CX Expert Panel, Advisory Board Member for Customer Value Creation International (CVCI), and Advisory Board Member for CX University.


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