Measuring performance in your call center or customer service department is an ongoing, in-depth, enlightening process.
Once you implement a QA program into your everyday operations, you should be able to continually achieve improvements across your workforce, incorporating lessons learned from studying data to enhance all employees’ performance.
However, even after agents start adopting new techniques and approaches to their work, there’s still more to be done.
Your quality analysts, team leaders and even members of the management team have to decide which performance metrics will be utilized when evaluating employees. And a key part of that is conducting calibrations to maximize efficiency, effectiveness and accuracy of performance measurements.
Calibrations: Standardizing Evaluation of Performance
Launching a quality assurance program takes time and commitment. You can’t bring a team of QA analysts into your business and expect them to start driving your employees to all-new heights of excellence within a matter of days.
Instead, they have to get to know the company, the culture, the people, the way in which you all work. They have to understand your shared goals and values. They have to make sure they’re all on the same page when conducting their evaluations, or else your performance insights could be misleading.
Getting calibrations right
Calibrations don’t have to be complex. They can be as formal or informal as you like, with all the refreshments, good humor and relaxed atmosphere you want. But the important thing is that everyone in attendance comes to an agreement about how each performance metric should be evaluated and scored.
Calibration sessions should involve numerous people from across your workforce, including quality analysts, agents, team leaders, managers and admins. Just one or two of each can be enough, just to make sure there’s a fair balance. Everyone brings their own experience, skills, training and opinions to the table, which makes for an illuminating process.
A number of customer interactions should be utilized to calibrate, incorporating multiple channels — phone calls, live chats, emails and even social media if applicable.
Each type of interaction has its own format, but the quality of service should be consistently high across all of them. Why? Because 58 percent of consumers admit to being frustrated with inconsistent experiences from one channel to another.
Ongoing calibrations for consistency
While calibration sessions should be held at the start of your quality assurance program, they should be a fairly regular process beyond that too. Team leaders and managers should be looking at performance data supplied by quality analysts to determine where there may be room for improvement.
For example, a number of your customer service agents could be taking longer to complete interactions than before. Or perhaps Customer Satisfaction Scores have dropped over time.
Maybe ticket backlogs are growing and growing without any change in team-size or processes too, or your social-media interactions are falling by the wayside (a major issue, considering 53 percent of consumers expect a response within just one hour).
In any of these cases, team leaders and managers would recognize something has to be done and devise a strategy to improve performance. But the problem could be in the way in which the metrics are used too.
What does this mean? Maybe scores vary wildly from one quality analyst to the next. A slight difference is nothing to be concerned about, but when there’s a clear gap between two or more analysts’ scorecards, a calibration should be organized.
This would involve bringing a calibration team together to review the current scoring process for the specific metric, whatever that may be, and finding a new way to measure that element of performance. Relevant interactions should be available for attendees to evaluate and come up with their own rating.
Ensuring balance and accuracy
Giving analysts and others present for the calibration a chance to discuss the merits or flaws of particular interactions can shed light on oversights or mistakes leading to discrepancies. Standardizing the way in which specific elements of an agent’s performance are scored is incredibly important to avoid wasting time and energy collating confusing results.
Team leaders and managers should only make important decisions related to performance when they can be sure the data they have is reliable. This is especially true if one or more new analysts have been added to the team: without attending a calibration session, these newcomers may struggle to measure performance to the same standards as their colleagues.
Once you can be sure you have what you need for correct decision making, performance in the metrics covered should improve over time. This requires patience and a realistic approach, though: employees can’t be expected to transform the way in which they work overnight, particularly if the required changes are major.
Call centers and customer service departments can expect to see performance improvement through calibrating. Investing time and resources into holding fair, balanced calibration sessions should pay off when agents know where they’re going wrong and analysts measure performance in the agreed way.
Changing your metrics
It’s also worth bearing in mind that the performance metrics your business uses to evaluate and improve performance may change over time. You don’t have to feel as if you need to stick with the same exact group of metrics for years: you can implement others for a more comprehensive overview.
But calibrations should be held to standardize any new performance metrics being used. Everyone involved in this should understand the purpose of the metric and the impact it makes on overall performance.
Does it affect the quality of the customer’s experience? Can it help management boost productivity and eliminate unnecessary obstacles? Could the average cost per call be reduced as a result of focusing on this metric in the future?
Performance improvement through calibrating carefully is something all businesses should include as part of ongoing strategies. As a result, team leaders and managers can expect more correct decision making based on the most accurate data.
Performance and calibrations relate in a very clear, simple way: calibrations are vital to ensure correct decision making when implementing ways to improve performance.
Without calibration sessions for all metrics, your analysts may struggle to attain a harmonious view of your team’s work. This, in turn, means mistakes can be more difficult to spot and customers could receive weaker service than they expect.
Performance improvement through calibrating is worth all the time and energy you invest when employees continue to work better than ever and customer satisfaction rises.
What positive effects have you seen on performance results after calibrations? What tips would you share with others new to the process of calibrating? Let us know!