QA calibration sessions are a common way to ensure that quality assurance analysts are on the same page when it comes to evaluating customer calls. During a typical session, analysts independently score a call and then discuss the results with end goal of becoming “calibrated” so that analysts will score calls similarly. It’s impossible to completely squeeze out all of the subjectivity from QA evaluations, but calibration sessions certainly help.

When organizations outsource their call center to a vendor, calibration sessions can take on an even higher level of importance. These sessions become an opportunity to ensure the vendor is in sync with QA standards, that the tone of the customer interactions is aligned with customer experience guidelines and that branding goals are being met.

If joint calibration sessions are a service your contact center vendor offers, here are some reasonable expectations:

1. A mix of good and not so good calls. The vendor will likely choose which calls to review during the session. Ideally, the calls will be representative of what’s happening on the call center floor – so there will be a couple of good calls in the overall mix. But if all the calls reviewed during the session are good, not only is that a red flag that your vendor isn’t being transparent, but it also degrades the usefulness of a calibration session. Your vendor should include a couple of rough calls in the session. (From a vendor’s perspective, this is a really uncomfortable thing to do and they are trusting their client-partner to keep it in perspective.)

2. Frank vendor feedback. The vendor participants, which may include a combination of QA staff, ops supervisors and/or account managers, need to be able to provide candid feedback about the calls. I have been in sessions where the vendor staff was much more critical than the client participants. But I have also been in sessions where the vendor staff held back a bit. Why the difference? It had to do with the relationship with the clients and how the clients reacted to suboptimal calls.

3. Better calibration over time. As with every calibration effort, the differences in how calls are evaluated should shrink over time. There should be noticeable improvement with the level of alignment between client and vendor. Make sure your vendor isn’t just going through the motions to fulfill a contractual obligation. They need to deliver results!

Calibration sessions with your vendor can be a powerful tool. To get the most out of them, create an atmosphere of trust so that vendor staff can be transparent and candid. Do this and the results should follow.

Aligning with our clients’ standards is something we continuously strive for at USA800. Find out more when you contact us for a free consultation.