How to Boost Your Quality Monitoring with Calibration – And Why You Must

Diverse colleagues negotiate at business meeting expressing thoughts

When my daughter was 13, we re-did her bedroom to give her a teenage look. She picked out modern furniture from Ikea, lovely bedding and fun art that perfectly matched her style. Six years later my teenage son, now 16, pointed out, “You guys owe me a new room. Sissy got a new room when she was 13 and I’m 16 with the same room I had when I was little.”

My son felt we were being unfair to him by not redoing his room at exactly the same age as we did his sister’s. So, on Saturday night we went out and picked out his new room. We haven’t made the purchases yet, but the process is started! I didn’t think of the timing as being unfair, but that is certainly my son’s perception.

You, no doubt, have employees who notice the little (or big) things just like my son. This means you must take care to be fair and to be perceived as fair, particularly when it comes to performance feedback.

I remember managing a contact center and having an employee say to me, “Tammy does the exact same thing, yet the supervisor doesn’t take off points for her. I may not have a bubbly tone like Tammy, but I’m good with customers.” The employee was referring to the point distribution on her quality monitoring form versus Tammy’s points. Employees often came into my office to have discussions that were in one way or another just like this one. The problem was my people didn’t feel the supervisors were being fair. That was a problem.

It took me a short while, but I did eventually nip the unfairness dilemma in the bud. What I did is I began meeting weekly with my supervisors to calibrate. Calibration is simply:

  1. To check, adjust, or determine by comparison with a standard (the graduations of a quantitative measuring instrument): calibrate a thermometer.
  2. To make corrections in; adjust: calibrated the polling procedures to ensure objectivity.

Basically, to calibrate is to gain consensus, as a  team, on what a quality contact (phone call, email, or chat) sounds like, looks like, and “feels” like so that every “evaluator” is rating the calls/contacts the same way.

I had my supervisors meet with me on a regular basis to check, adjust, or determine by comparison with each other the standards set forth by our call center.

After about 90 days of regular calibration, here are some of the benefits we saw:

  • It improved the consistency among everyone who monitored
  • It helped protect supervisors against being accused of favoritism
  • It served as a quality assurance mechanism for improving the quality monitoring process overall – like a “monitoring” our supervisors for consistency/fairness, etc.

On August 9th I am hosting a webinar, Quality Form Development & Coaching. In this webinar I discuss exactly how to hold focused, fast and effective calibration meetings, I share my famous template “9 Steps for Coaching Customer Service Employees,” I provide sample monitoring forms I have designed for my own clients, and we explore scoring, and the best monitoring methods. If you want to get Quality Monitoring Right, join me for this special webinar. Even if you can’t attend, get the recording. We send it out the very next day.

Here are the details of this webinar.