Calibration: Driving Consistency in the Contact Center for Higher Quality Leads

By Mike StaffordMay 30, 2017

Quality is an important topic in the contact center. Building quality programs and developing Quality Assurance (QA) teams to oversee processes contribute to the overall effort to drive high quality leads.

And calibration is a key step. It’s a strategic process that connects QA teams, coaches, frontline agents, and clients.

Work Closely With Marketing Partners
Clients are too often left out of the calibration process. And that’s a missed opportunity.

Here’s what this may look like: Randomly select a call recording and then share the recording with your internal QA department and your client’s QA department. Have both departments grade the call independently and then come together to compare notes on a monthly conference call.

This simple process has major benefits. For one, it ensures that the contact center is always in sync with client goals — even as quality rules and standards change over time. It opens up a regular, focused dialogue, allowing your team to better understand growing client needs and further define expectations. In addition, it provides openness and transparency, something that is profoundly important in the lead generation industry. In all, it allows your contact center to not only strive for higher quality standards, but exceed them.

Develop Internal Collaboration
This process can also be used internally in two different ways.

There’s traditional QA coaching. A coaching schedule is determined for each agent. Agent calls are pulled by the QA team and analyzed. The coaches meet with the agent to provide feedback: what’s working well and a few areas for improvement. Coaches and agents discuss strategies for improvement and meet back to review future efforts.

And then there’s Agent-to-Agent QA. This is a peer session where agents review and grade calls from one another and share their findings in what’s often a less intimidating environment. There isn’t any “coaching” involved here, but there are all kinds of opportunities to learn and grow. Encouraging open dialogue means everyone can have a voice. It fosters heightened awareness and unveils new ways to address common call issues. It also allows agents to discover ways that they might be able to help one another in reaching client goals – and ultimately personal ones, too. Agent-to-Agent QA is an especially important tool for onboarding new agents. Seasoned agents are able to provide best practices to those without the same kind – or level – of experience.

Another noteworthy benefit is the ability for company leaders to learn from the frontline: Any new challenges that agents are facing? What’s frustrating them? Where are they finding the most success? These are important insights that can help fuel more strategic traditional QA coaching.

The calibration process is an ongoing cycle and is constantly refining what quality in the contact center truly means. And when these two internal processes are used in concert, it drives significantly higher quality and consistency across the board. 

Utilize Call Recording Technology
It’s also worth noting that true calibration can’t be done without the right tools, like sophisticated call recording technology. Without deep analysis of call activities, contact centers are missing out on all kinds of opportunities and not providing teams with the most accurate or best actionable insights.

All-in-one tools and recording technologies mean calls are transcribed to text and analyzed for patterns, keywords and affirmative answers. Real-time reporting takes it a step further. Where QA teams used to review data from the previous day, now the lag between a “serious” violation and a supervisor being notified might be as low as 5 minutes. This is a big deal since call centers are often monitoring a large number of agents and high call volumes. In addition to being able to address and correct compliance issues quickly, this kind of monitoring is exponentially more efficient.

Successful calibration means all areas of the contact center — QA teams, clients, agents, tools and more — are all moving forward in the same direction. The methods used to reach quality in the contact center will continue to evolve based on changing regulations, technology and growing expectations. But foundational principles — like transparency and open dialogues — will always be an important part of the calibration process.

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