Quality Assurance

Are You Calibrated with Your BPO?

Working with a business process outsourcer (BPO) such as Peak Support is a great way to scale your customer support quickly

And while many companies use BPOs to handle support tickets, an often overlooked benefit of BPOs is that they can also assist with your quality assurance program (QA). 

When using a BPO to run your QA program, one common challenge often arises: How do you ensure support tickets are being assessed in a consistent manner across your in-house and outsourced team? 

Fortunately, there’s a proven way to solve this answer: Effective quality assurance calibration with your BPO

Through working with your BPO to hold regular calibration sessions, you’ll reap the benefits of an outsourced QA team while minimizing the risk of creating an inconsistent agent experience. 

What is QA calibration with a BPO? 

Imagine a football game.

It’s the opening kickoff. The official’s whistle blows, the ball gets kicked high into the air…and every player on the receiving team runs in a different direction. One player happens to get the ball by pure luck, but the other players are scattered across the field and stand. 

It’s sheer chaos.

This is your QA program without calibration. 

You probably have many different people reviewing support tickets. The larger your team, the longer that list grows. If you’re working with a BPO QA team, then your list of reviewers likely includes the BPO team, your support managers, team leads, and perhaps even support agents doing peer reviews.

A football team needs a clear and agreed-upon playbook to win games. In the same way, your ticket reviewers need clarity and alignment to conduct consistent ticket reviews. 

QA calibration sessions are how you create clarity and alignment across your in-house and BPO teams. Each calibration session is part of an ongoing process and consists of multiple reviewers reviewing the same ticket(s). After reviewing, you meet together to discuss the discrepancies and align on exactly how you’d like to approach those troublesome areas moving forward. 

When working with a BPO QA team, calibration sessions should include everyone involved in the QA process, from your in-house team leads and managers to the BPO’s QA analysts and leads. To help implement this process in an efficient way, we recommend having someone take the lead, execute a demonstration of the expected outcome, and connect answers/questions to the knowledge base. 

The more calibration you do, the greater the likelihood that your reviewers will approach tickets consistently. 

Critical QA calibration scenarios 

While aiming for as much calibration as possible is generally a good approach, there are three critical moments to be aware of in your relationship with your BPO QA team. 

Starting your BPO QA program

Clear expectations are a huge piece of the quality assurance process. When launching a new QA program with your BPO, it’s important to get crystal clear on the expectations for everyone involved. 

If you’re kicking off a new program, you should always make sure you’re in sync with your BPO on the following items:

  1. What’s the calibration cycle going to look like? Weekly? Monthly? Something else?

  2. How will you ensure that the company is able to shape the approach to QA, while also letting the BPO QA analysts’ feedback influence the decisions?

  3. Are each of the categories on your QA scorecard clearly defined and understood by all parties? What are the parameters of quality the BPO team needs to be aware of?

Ongoing QA calibration sessions

As briefly mentioned above, regular calibration sessions are at the core of setting your QA program up for success. Your QA program should deliver a consistent customer and agent experience. The last thing you want is every agent receiving wildly different feedback and QA scoring, right? 

Treat these ongoing calibration sessions as an opportunity to refine your QA process. Hopefully you’ve done your homework and launched your program with a thoughtfully designed scorecard, but you’ll undoubtedly need to adapt it as you review more tickets and your business evolves. These calibration sessions will provide you with important feedback to make your program even more successful.

Focused calibration sessions

Every support team deals with unforeseen issues. From complex bugs to irate customers to new feature requests, you’re sure to find situations where a more focused QA review will be beneficial. 

Let’s say you launch a new product and notice the customer satisfaction (CSAT) on related tickets plummets. Upon investigating, you see the problem isn’t actually with the product itself. Rather, the problem is your support team is unclear on how to handle questions and issues about the product, resulting in an inconsistent customer experience.

This is a perfect situation for using focused QA calibration sessions. 

Any QA reviewer could look at tickets and uncover areas for agents to improve, but having your whole team calibrate across several related tickets ensures that everyone will be on the same page moving forward. 

After the session, you’ll have greater confidence that as your QA team reviews more tickets, your support team will receive consistent feedback and coaching to develop in the necessary areas and to drive your CSAT scores back upwards. 

Running a great QA calibration session with your BPO

The benefits of running regular quality assurance calibration sessions with your BPO are clear. But we’ve all sat in meetings that feel like a waste of time, and you’d never want to pull all of your ticket reviewers together regularly and not accomplish anything.

Although every support team needs to tailor their meetings in line with their company culture and priorities, all successful QA calibration sessions involve several common components: 

  • Use the same QA tool. Calibration sessions are meant to sync up your BPO QA analysts with your in-house ticket reviewers. If these two groups are reviewing tickets in separate tools, comparing reviews becomes significantly harder. Industry-leading QA tools like Miuros include features that make calibration across multiple reviewers a breeze

  • Ensure everyone reviews the selected tickets prior to the meeting. Your calibration session won’t go anywhere without completed calibration reviews. Treat the reviews as pre-work, and ensure that all participants are clear about what tickets to review beforehand.

  • Choose who will lead the session. QA calibration sessions are designed to be discussions. Your QA tool can highlight the key discrepancies among your reviewers, but from there your team needs to feel comfortable discussing their perspectives and rationale for the review decisions they each made. An effective meeting leader will facilitate a more fruitful discussion.

  • Focus on discrepancies. When you bring the team together, don’t waste time focusing on areas where there’s already consistency across reviewers. Drill down on the discrepancies, as those are your opportunities to craft a better review process. 

  • Document takeaways. Discussions can be hard to follow and remember, so it’s vital to document any key decisions or takeaways during your calibration. Choose someone to be your notetaker, and make sure to summarize these takeaways at the end of the meeting (bonus points for sending them out to the whole group after the meeting!). 

Maximize the impact of your quality assurance program

If you’ve spent the time and money to develop a QA program, then you’ll want to make sure it’s having the biggest positive impact it can possibly have. An exceptional QA program is a valuable source of feedback and coaching for your support team, as well as a fantastic tool to deliver a consistent experience for your customers. 

Whatever your QA calibration process has looked like in the past, it’s easy to revamp your approach and reap the benefits starting now. So don’t delay — choose some tickets for reviewing and schedule your first quality assurance calibration session with your BPO team today.