What It Is
Calibration is a way to uniformly rate agent performance. It improves monitoring, limits variation in interpreting performance criteria, and achieves consistency among the people responsible for scoring.
Calibration requires considerable commitment to master and keep the process going. It may take hours of discussion and practice before your team can begin to score a transaction in a uniform way. Once mastered, the rewards are considerable.
Everyone responsible for monitoring and scoring needs a complete understanding of customer service goals and performance standards. These individuals must be trained to participate in the calibration process, apply evaluation standards uniformly, and provide feedback to agents.
Involve senior management so they can see what standards have been established and understand how they are applied.
Why It's Important
Calibration eliminates both perceived biases and actual quality–scoring process corruption. It ensures all those involved in evaluating agent performance have a common understanding of the quality elements being assessed. When calibration is achieved, it will not matter who did the monitoring and scoring, because the outcome will be the same.
By applying the same criteria to evaluations, the coaching process can focus on recognizing achievements and identifying improvement opportunities. Successful calibration fuels the process improvement engine so organizations can continuously improve customer service and reduce operating costs.
Senior management must understand the journey to calibration success requires total commitment to a never–ending process that can help you attain high–performance status.
How To Implement
Your team must understand the criteria that define successful transactions, and be committed to recognize and resolve all interpretational differences to reach"fully calibrated" status. Here are a few suggestions that can help your calibration effort:
- Schedule at least one hour for each calibration session. Share five or six recorded transactions with your team before the session so each team member can come prepared. If recorded transactions are not available, you can listen to live calls together, and review chat transcripts and email responses in advance of the session.
- Before the first calibration session, the team should set an initial target variance for the score. When your team is just beginning the calibration process, set a goal such as overall call scores should be within five points (or 10 percent) of each other. In the beginning, scores may vary greatly, but you can gradually lower the target variance in follow–up sessions until the gap is reduced to an acceptable level. It may take many sessions to achieve the initial target variance and many more to get the quality monitoring team fully calibrated.
- Designate a facilitator to moderate discussions, take notes, and keep the team focused on the goal. Establish some facilitation ground rules.
- Have all participants use the same monitoring form to score the interaction. After all the participants are finished, have one person summarize the transaction. During the recap, identify the areas where points were subtracted and give a final score. Have all the participants take turns recapping so that everyone learns how.
- The facilitator should ask participants to share and explain their scores. Be prepared for a passionate discussion on score variance from the participants! It's not important that everyone agrees on a final score. The point is for everyone to understand the accepted criteria for a successful transaction, and apply that understanding consistently in evaluating future transactions. Quality monitors should provide feedback to the agents during their review/evaluation sessions on how the criteria are being applied so they can learn from the process.
- At the end of the session, the facilitator should review the notes, highlighting any changes or group decisions, and distribute to everyone who participated.
- Once calibration is attained, schedule periodic calibration sessions to keep the monitoring team sharp.
Establish ground rules and communicate them to all participants in advance, so sessions are positive and productive. Keep these tips in mind as you get started:
- Create an environment where everyone can feel comfortable sharing their opinions without fear of retribution.
- Avoid being confrontational and allow everyone's opinion to be heard. Allow people to finish explaining their thoughts.
- Talk about the facts, not feelings. The performance criteria should be defined by measurable tasks, so keep the discussion focused on what can be taught, not thought.
- When making decisions, consider what would be best for the overall success of the program. Do not make a decision just because everyone has grown tired of the discussion!
- Enforce compliance. It's critical to identify and warn anyone who uses their own standards while monitoring, rather than the agreed–upon standards.
- Do not give up when the process gets difficult and some people seem ready to quit.