A good quality assurance program must be fair. Any bias or favoritism will only dilute the entire process, causing your QA analysts to present an unbalanced overview of your customer service team’s performance.
That’s simply unacceptable. Managers, team leaders and the agents themselves all deserve authentic data on the level of customer experience delivered. Without that, how can employees keep getting better and better at their work?
One key aspect of keeping your quality assurance program fair and accurate is undertaking proper calibration. This is vital to standardize your analysts’ evaluation and scoring process, while eliminating the danger of costly mistakes or oversights.
But just calibrating at the start of your quality assurance program isn’t enough — you have to repeat the process at regular intervals to ensure consistency. So, what should the standard calibration periodicity in your business be? What are the different roles in the calibration process?
Let’s find out …
The Impact of Company Growth and Increasing Workloads
Successful call centers and businesses’ customer service departments grow over time. More and more consumers discover your brand, your agents receive more enquiries and workloads increase.
That’s a good thing, of course: more customers usually means more revenue. But you’ll have to hire more employees to cope with the increase in queries you’re bound to receive as your customer base grows.
Furthermore, extra employees create extra work for your QA analysts. They’re responsible for monitoring and evaluating your agents’ performance, and that can affect their productivity if they’re simply unable to keep up with demand.
No call center or customer service department can afford to let their quality assurance program slip, especially as they expand. Calibrating according to team size keeps everyone focused and reading from the same page.
When adding new analysts to your quality assurance team, calibration sessions are essential to make sure all members know what they’re looking for during evaluations. They must be able to basically hit the ground running, and being well-informed will help them do that.
Keeping Agents Informed of the QA Program and Reassured of Fairness
Implementing a quality assurance process may cause concerns in your call center or customer service department.
Why? Because employees could feel as if they’re being watched at all times and their job is at risk if they don’t meet managers’ expectations. Trust between the workers and managers may be strained or even fractured if these concerns go unaddressed. 66 percent of workers would quit if they felt underappreciated, though this jumps to 76 percent in millennials.
That’s why honesty is so important when launching a quality assurance program: everyone must be informed of the goals, methods and actions involved. When agents know they’ll have access to the data gathered from monitoring their work, and what the objectives are, they’re likely to be more receptive.
Involving employees of all levels in quality assurance calibration sessions is part and parcel of this. Make sure everyone knows what calibration means, what effect it has on the QA program and cover the various roles in the calibration process. And establish a standard calibration periodicity in line with your recruitment and expansion plans too.
Taking a Balanced Approach to Quality Assurance Calibration
Each calibration can incorporate any number of people you deem appropriate, but all new quality analysts must be present. They should listen to or read a number interactions (call recordings, live chat transcriptions, emails etc.) and come up with their own conclusions.
How did the agent perform? What type of experience did the customer have? Did they seem satisfied by the end of the interaction or were they clearly frustrated?
Analysts will come up with their own scores and discuss their findings with more experienced colleagues, until they agree on an appropriate score. This will be the benchmark for evaluations undertaken in the future, giving QA analysts a framework to work from.
But it won’t just be analysts in the room: agents, team leaders and managers should be invited along too.
This diversity helps ensure a mix of views from across different areas of the business. Each can bring their own experience and insights to the calibration, identifying strengths or weaknesses some analysts may have missed.
One person should be responsible for gathering the scores and recording the different points covered during the calibration session. This prevents confusion or crossed wires: all members of the group can check what’s been discussed so far.
Agents participating in the calibration sessions should review their own interactions too. While this may seem like a bad idea — surely, they’d give themselves top marks, right? — it’s actually incredibly helpful.
The individual will be able to hear themselves working with some emotional detachment and surrounded by peers. They may become more aware of mistakes they made or where they missed opportunities to deliver great service. Hearing others’ opinions can inform their work in the future and help them improve.
Managers and team leaders, on the other hand, can gain an invaluable insight into potential problems within their workforce. For example, listening to multiple calls in succession might reveal agents’ scripts are in need of restructuring or that interactions are being dragged out too long at the cost of simplicity.
Employees at every level can understand their role better and perform to a higher standard after taking part in quality assurance calibration sessions.
Acting on Quality Assurance Calibration Results
Once quality assurance calibrations are complete, analysts can integrate the results into their everyday work easily with good QA software.
For example, they can build custom scorecards using metrics reflecting the priorities covered during the calibration sessions. They know what to look for during interactions, what factors are most important and what techniques are common among the highest-performing agents.
Did the agent introduce themselves properly? Were they sympathetic and compassionate? Did they follow standard processes to resolve the customer’s problem?
Using scorecards to measure performance is quick and simple, and as they’re based on points raised during calibrations, analysts can rest assured they’re relevant. Agents themselves will understand what matters most in interactions too, and provide customers with a better experience.
Analysts can evaluate agents’ work based on such factors as handling times, response times and failure rates more accurately too. They’ll know what’s considered ideal for each of these, and more, because of the calibration group’s shared views.
The standard calibration periodicity may vary for each business, but it should be undertaken whenever you bring new quality analysts and agents on board. It’s vital to keep your quality assurance team updated on the values and goals that matter to your brand most — otherwise, your agents could fail to meet expectations without your even knowing.
When you expand, keeping track of your customer service team’s performance is crucial: the more agents you have, the harder it can be to sustain consistency. Calibrating according to team size ensures your quality assurance remains fair, honest and accurate.
Make sure you understand what roles in the calibration process are essential and give everyone the opportunity to get involved.
What do you think the standard calibration periodicity should be? What approach do you take to calibrating according to team size? Share your thoughts below!