Understanding Pharma Call Center Quality Monitoring Performance Curves

Remember that professor you had in school who graded on “the curve”? In my experience, students love those professors because it gives the opportunity for their fellow classmates to set the bar instead of the standard grading scale.  Besides offering insights on the students’ performance, the bell curve, when trended over time, can be a good measure of the teacher’s effectiveness.

The Importance of the Bell Curve

Likewise, the bell curve is an important tool for understanding the results of your performance improvement strategies, as measured by your call quality monitoring program.  The bell curve provides two important pieces of information:

  1. The Mean falls on the x axis and is located at the “peak” of the bell curve. The mean is the overall group average performance score.  You want the peak of your curve to be as far right on the scale as possible.
  2. The Standard Deviation is the dispersion of scores that create the two “tails” on either side of the peak of the curve.  In a normal distribution, the broader the tails, the more variation among your agents’ scores.  A taller and thinner curve indicates greater consistency in performance.

Regularly occurring call quality monitoring efforts that are measured using the average performance score and score variance provide the best opportunity for understanding whether your performance improvement programs, such as training, coaching and performance management, are paying off.

That is, if the mean increases over time, your agents, as a group, are getting better.  If the standard deviation decreases over time, your agents are getting more consistent relative to each other. The key is working on the correct quality attributes that improve performance and consistency to improve both the mean and the standard deviation simultaneously.




4 Quality-Monitoring Tactics

They were able to achieve positive movement in their bell curve’s mean and standard deviation due to their commitment to these 4 quality-monitoring tactics:

1. Select the Correct Quality Objectives

The performance attributes on which agents are being scored should directly support to the overall program objectives. Take the time to understand the call center program objectives prior to starting your call quality monitoring.

2. Ensure an Objective and Independent Sample Selection and Assessment

Providing a representative sample of calls that are randomly selected for monitoring is key to ensuring performance is assessed accurately.

3. Conduct Frequent Call Monitoring Calibration

Reports that are generated monthly or quarterly may miss the window of opportunity for a more timely impact on performance. Our client, the call center vendor, and CenterFirst found that a bi-weekly report and calibration session, that incorporated listening to calls as a group, was most effective.

4. Deploy Effective Performance Management Strategies

Responding to the data and insights gleaned from reporting and calibration is critically important. Some best practices include:

  • Targeted and repeated monitoring of sub-par performers and removing repeat offenders

  • Timely coaching and feedback

  • Sharing agent best practices among the call center team to raise awareness and improve performance consistency

  • Regularly recognize and reward star performers


We would like to hear about your strategies for improving your call center bell curve. Please contact us any time.

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