Best Practice: Managing a Call Center Quality Assurance Calibration Session
Updated: Aug 28
Call Center Quality Assurance Calibration is an essential part of every contact center's quality program. QA Calibration happens when everyone doing QA and/or using the feedback from QA (e.g. frontline management) comes together to evaluate an interaction(s) in order to make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to meeting expectations. Typically, these expectations are documented in the form of standards of excellence, and it is this criterion that is used to measure the quality and effectiveness of an agent/customer interaction.
In a busy contact center environment, however, Quality Assurance Calibration can be challenging to organize and so it makes sense to do everything you can to make the experience effective, efficient, and as enjoyable as possible.
Here are 7 tips to make sure your calibrations run smoothly and get the buy-in they need to lift the performance of your call center agents.
1. Have an agenda
Here’s a handy rule: no agenda, no meeting. This applies to Quality Assurance Calibration sessions as well. Not only will the agenda help keep you on track, but you can use it to set a positive tone for the meeting. Outline what you plan to do and be sure to mention how it will move everyone forward. Giving your attendees a glimpse of a brighter future will ensure that they won’t spend the meeting worrying about what position they will be in by the time it wraps up.
2. Start (and stay) positive
Leading with what is working well gives your attendees the confidence to participate in the Quality Assurance Calibration. Reassured by their successes, they are less likely to be defensive, and more likely to buy into ideas and suggestions about how they can move from good to great.
3. Be genuinely curious
Ask questions to which you do not have an answer. Avoid testing. Instead of “What should the agent have done here?” Ask “What are your thoughts about what could have been done differently here?” The first question sounds like you’ve made up your mind and are looking for someone to agree with you (or else). The second query leaves room for maneuvering and gives the impression you’re interested in the contribution of others – which makes it a whole lot easier to answer.
4. Use the customer’s point-of-view
We got into customer service to make good things happen for other people – for our customers. Bringing things back to the customer’s point of view reminds us that our processes and procedures should not be about our comfort level or personal attachment to ingrained habits, but rather about doing what is best for the customer. Pointing out that we need to change something because of how it impacts the customer is much more likely to get support than asking a CSR to change their behavior to get a small uptick in metrics.
If you are struggling to gain consensus, it could be that you are 'listening' from different perspectives. Check out VereQuest's Coaching Check-Up™ to access e-learning related to these key skills.
5. Look to the future, don’t dwell on the past
This is a friendly way to say “don’t play the blame game.” If a team lead has dropped the ball, if a CSR has been underperforming, point out where the improvements can be made, develop a concrete action plan, and then move forward to implement it. Speak of where you’re going and how you will get there. Shame and blame will just undermine confidence and implementation.
6. Gain commitment
If something needs to change, make sure it does. Does a process need to be reviewed? Does a CSR need coaching? Do you need to reach out to an unhappy customer? Make sure the people directly involved know what you’re asking them to do, when you’re asking them to do it, and when you’d like them to report back.
7. Express Gratitude
Gratitude is a superpower. It helps you look on the bright side, it makes your team feel valued, and it re-fills the well. Tell your team how much you appreciate their effort and commitment, and those two main drivers of improvement will be renewed and rejuvenated.
These 7 guidelines can help turn those Quality Assurance Calibration sessions your contact center must have into Calibration sessions they want to have. And in changing just that mindset, most of your work is already done.
Kirk Dunn is the VP of Customer Engagement at VereQuest and a highly skilled coach, actor/writer, and textile artist.
VEREQUEST is a consulting firm specializing in driving and sustaining the quality of the customer experience in the contact center environment. We help our clients, each a leading organization in N.A., to strive to win the hearts and loyalty of customers through a wide range of proprietary tools and techniques.
Get in touch to get to know us better @ firstname.lastname@example.org