Call Calibration for Consistent Scoring and Coaching

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This is the third post in a series on iden­ti­fy­ing per­for­mance gaps in call cen­ter agents. The first post focused on how to cre­ate a bullet-proof mon­i­tor­ing form, the sec­ond on how to develop a com­pan­ion Call Qual­ity Guide. Once these two tools are cre­ated and tested, ongo­ing call cal­i­bra­tion will be the key to your success.

In a call cal­i­bra­tion ses­sion, par­tic­i­pants lis­ten to calls—either before or dur­ing the cal­i­bra­tion session—and score them accord­ing to the Mon­i­tor­ing Form and Call Qual­ity Guide. Scores are shared and any dis­crep­an­cies are rec­on­ciled, either by refin­ing the forms if they’re newly cre­ated, or pro­vid­ing addi­tional train­ing for par­tic­i­pants. The goal of call cal­i­bra­tion is to assure that those respon­si­ble for scor­ing calls do so in a con­sis­tent manner.

If you’ve recently cre­ated or changed your Mon­i­tor­ing Form and Call Qual­ity Guide, hold­ing a cal­i­bra­tion ses­sion will help you fine-tune the forms.

If every­one doesn’t agree that a Stan­dard has been met, per­haps the Stan­dard doesn’t have a yes/no answer and either may not be a Stan­dard, or it needs fur­ther def­i­n­i­tion. If not every­one scores an Objec­tive the same way, ask­ing why will help you be more spe­cific in how you state the behav­iors that com­prise each score. If your team doesn’t score calls the same way imme­di­ately, don’t despair! It often takes sev­eral hour-long ses­sions before every­one will begin to score a call in a uni­form way.

Once your forms are fine-tuned and those lis­ten­ing to calls are scor­ing them the same, ongo­ing cal­i­bra­tion ses­sions are cru­cial to hold—every week is not too fre­quent. Ongo­ing cal­i­bra­tion ses­sions pro­vide the fol­low­ing benefits:

  • They assure that every­one who mon­i­tors and scores calls has a thor­ough under­stand­ing of the per­for­mance stan­dards and objections
  • Super­vi­sors and QA mon­i­tors apply stan­dards of eval­u­a­tion uniformly
  • Behav­ior is mea­sured consistently—no mat­ter which call is mon­i­tored or which per­son scores the call
  • Agent sat­is­fac­tion is improved as they get con­sis­tent feed­back no mat­ter which super­vi­sor or QA mon­i­tor pro­vides it.
  • Because everyone—agents and lead­ers alike—know what is expected, coach­ing can focus on rec­og­niz­ing good per­for­mance and iden­ti­fy­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for improvement.

How to Con­duct a Call Cal­i­bra­tion Session

Fol­low­ing are some best prac­tices for hold­ing call cal­i­bra­tion sessions:

  • Sched­ule an hour for each session.
  • Select calls that are rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the major­ity of the calls you receive, or calls to illus­trate a par­tic­u­lar issue. For some cal­i­bra­tion ses­sions, lis­ten to calls at random.
  • Deter­mine an accept­able vari­ance in scor­ing. If you’re scor­ing newly cre­ated forms, if you’re scor­ing with newly hired super­vi­sors or QAs, or if you’ve recently changed your forms, you can accept a wider variance—perhaps 10 points. Once you’ve held a few cal­i­bra­tion ses­sions and fine-tuned under­stand­ing, 5 points might be the accept­able range. Don’t expect to achieve per­fect cal­i­bra­tion imme­di­ately! It may take sev­eral ses­sions before you’ll achieve a small vari­ance. Focus first on cal­i­brat­ing Stan­dards, as those are the behav­iors most crit­i­cal for job success.
  • If calls are recorded, send them to the peo­ple attend­ing the ses­sion, ask them to score them inde­pen­dently before com­ing to the cal­i­bra­tion ses­sion, and record their scores, either in call mon­i­tor­ing soft­ware or by send­ing their mon­i­tor­ing form to you. This will allow you to see which par­tic­i­pants may need indi­vid­ual help.
  • Review the Call Qual­ity Guide at the begin­ning of each ses­sion to be sure that every­one under­stands what makes up a suc­cess­ful call.
  • If you sent recorded calls, post scores flip-chart or white board so that you can see the vari­ance. If you didn’t send recorded calls, play the selected calls (or lis­ten to live calls) and ask par­tic­i­pants to score them one at a time. Dis­cuss after each call.
  • Ask one per­son to sum­ma­rize the call.
  • Review each Stan­dard and ask par­tic­i­pants whether the Stan­dard was met, or not met. Dis­cuss until each mem­ber under­stands why the Stan­dard was met, or not met.
  • Review each Objec­tive and dis­cuss the scor­ing vari­ances and ask par­tic­i­pants to explain why scored as they did.
  • Do the same with the next call until you’re close to the end of the hour.
  • At the end of the ses­sion, sum­ma­rize lessons learned.
  • Cre­ate notes from the ses­sion and dis­trib­ute to par­tic­i­pants for future reference.

Expect a lively dis­cus­sion dur­ing your cal­i­bra­tion ses­sions. Be sure to cre­ate a non-confrontational envi­ron­ment where every­one feels safe shar­ing his or her opin­ion. The goal of the ses­sion is not to prove who’s right or wrong, but instead, to be sure every­one under­stands the cri­te­ria for eval­u­at­ing whether there are gaps in employee per­for­mance so that good per­for­mance can be praised, and per­for­mance gaps can be addressed.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Peggy Carlaw
Peggy Carlaw is the founder of Impact Learning Systems. Impact helps companies develop and implement customer service strategies to improve the customer experience. Their consulting services and training programs help organizations create a customer-focused culture while producing measurable business results. Peggy is also the author of three books published by McGraw-Hill including Managing and Motivating Contact Center Employees.

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