Workforce Optimization Featured Article

Calibration of Call Quality Ensures Fairness

March 29, 2017

When it comes to quality monitoring in the contact center, most organizations engage in some kind of regular calibration process. Just as scales must be regularly calibrated against standardized measurements, so too do quality processes. Otherwise, a system emerges in which some quality scorers are more lenient while others are stricter, which does not help any organization attempting to build on a strong quality foundation. It’s also not fair to employees.

While it’s relatively easy to calibrate scales (the numbers are exact), calibrating call metrics can be a lot trickier, according to a recent blog post by NICE’s Lauren Maschio.

“While some metrics like call length are exact, others, like friendliness and professionalism, are more subjective,” she wrote. “The calibration of quality management processes is the best way to ensure that all those measurements of quality are fair, accurate and productive, but running an ongoing program can be challenging.”

The tools used to calibrate call quality (or the quality of other communications media like emails or chat) are varied. They’re a mix of machine (in the form of quality software or workforce optimization software) and human judgment. While calibration resources may come from different places, however, they need to follow a consistent process, according to Maschio.

“The most successful ones follow a similar process that includes distributing, reviewing and scoring interactions in advance; assigning a calibration leader, preferably a member of the QA team; setting ground rules, such as the session start and end times or a prohibition on interrupting; reviewing calls as a team, focusing on the highest and lowest scores; providing feedback; and reviewing and clarifying definitions of quality standards as needed.”

A solid process is the foundation, but it also needs ensure fairness and equity and have a process for using the information gathered to improve quality by optimizing coaching and ensuring strategies are effective. Data-driven performance-management practices such as the use of quality monitoring or workforce optimization software help? remove bias during employee assessments by choosing evenly distributed calls to monitor, creating side by side reports for easy comparison and evaluation and building an evaluation dispute system.

Going forward, calibrated quality process can translate to actionable coaching material to help agents improve their performance and match it more closely to company best practices. It can also help manage supervisors’ time better by identifying which areas employees need coaching and where they’re already doing well. Finally, the calibrated quality monitoring process should have built-in methods for fine-tuning strategies to ensure they continue to work well.

Employees are not static weights whose value can be calculated with a simple weigh-in (it would be easier if they were!) Calibration ensures a climate of not only quality, but fairness, that can help organizations achieve all their customer excellence goals. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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