BPA Featured Article

3rd Party Remote Call Monitoring: Achieving Call Calibration without Headaches

By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor
December 13, 2011

If you run or manage a call center, you'll know that 3rd party remote call monitoring is critical as it lets you know a number of basic things including are you serving your customers they way you want, are you serving your customers they way they want, are your agents effective, are they trained properly, what are their strengths – so you can better use them – and what are their weaknesses (so you can avoid putting them in those scenarios)? 

Rather than leaving these questions to chance and risk harming your customer relationships (or burning out your agents, which leads to costly turnover), regular agent monitoring is critical. Experts recommend that you monitor your agents no less than twice a week for basic monitoring and analysis and – to get the most out of your program – your agents should receive some kind of feedback on their performance on a daily basis. Constant reinforcement of the quality aspect of your call activities is paramount to their ability to become the agent you need them to be.

Quality assurance and 3rd party call monitoring company BPA Quality believes that it has something to do with the “Hawthorne Effect.” What's that? According to Wikipedia, the Hawthorne Effect is defined as, “An experimental effect in the direction expected but not for the reason expected; i.e., a significant positive effect that turns out to have no causal basis in the theoretical motivation for the intervention, but is apparently due to the effect on the participants of knowing themselves to be studied in connection with the outcomes measured.”

In other words, knowing they are being monitored causes agents to improve their performance. It's a bit of psychology, but an effective and powerful bit of psychology all the same.

However, it's more than agents knowing they are being monitored. They need to know they are being monitored fairly, which is where call calibration comes in. Obviously, it's not fair to agents to base their performance reviews on assessments performed by different individuals with radically different approaches to scoring. Some people are highly critical, others are more forgiving. Everyone has a bad day now and then. If you don't wish to forge a scenario in your contact center that's similar to high school, where everyone hopes they'll get the “easy” math teacher and avoid the tough and strict grader, then you'll need multiple scores, created in a uniform environment for agents to get an “average” that is fairer than any single score. This is where call calibration comes in.

Call calibration is built into BPA Quality's cloud-based call center quality assurance solution. The BPABuilder Calibration Tool allows the call center's calibration administrator to distribute a blank form of a call recording to all participants. Each participant sees only their own form which eliminates bias, and the call he or she is being asked to calibrate. Once everyone is done with their calibration record, the calibration administrator can lock the calibration, allowing everyone to see the uniform results.

The resulting report easily points out who got what wrong and where the problem areas may be. Each participant is given a calibration factor score (how many they got right) and each standard or question is given a calibration factor score (how many participants got the standard or question right). This allows the Calibration Administrator to focus on the problem areas, making for an efficient and effective calibration session.

The end product is an efficient, compact set of reports that allows calibration administrators to see where the team is calibrated and where they are not. And because the tool is cloud-based, it not only encourages increased involvement by participants, who use the same online tool to listen to the call and provide their scoring to be tallied with everyone else’s, it becomes easier to manage from any location.

Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jamie Epstein