Call scoring: Best practices for better agent coaching

Victoria Beverly

February 21, 2024

Contact centers are at the front lines of customer service, where every interaction with a customer represents an opportunity to delight or disappoint. Quality assurance (QA) teams work hard to review these interactions for quality by using a QA scorecard with call scoring guidelines. 

Call scoring is a QA practice that uses predetermined criteria to measure and score customer interactions. It’s most often used with phone calls but is sometimes used with other service channels like live chat, email, and cases or tickets. The resulting scores help in assessing how well an agent adheres to customer service standards and achieves desired outcomes.

This allows contact center leaders to meticulously evaluate quality through a thorough rubric-based assessment and provides a means to measure and improve agent performance. But are you maximizing the potential of call scoring for truly effective coaching, or is it just another routine checkbox exercise?

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The purpose, challenge, and benefits of call scoring in the QA process

Call scoring helps contact centers evaluate agents using consistent criteria and lets them measure performance based on what matters most to the business (note: different QA items may be weighted differently and combined to get the total call score). However, it’s easy for call scoring to become a “check-the-box” activity, and contact centers often end up focusing on criteria that are easy to observe in every interaction (e.g., “Did the agent use the proper greeting?”) rather than criteria that help them uncover meaningful coaching opportunities

It can be challenging for contact center leaders to ensure call scoring doesn’t devolve into just a box-ticking exercise.  Having the basics covered is important, but informing call scoring with insights from customer conversations allows for more consideration of the agent behaviors that positively influence the customer experience. Your system should evaluate factors like  expectation setting, advocacy or use of proactive language, and actual problem resolution, while also evaluating basic script inclusions like, "Did the agent mention the promotional sale?" Contact center leaders should focus on using call scoring as a dynamic tool that reflects the impact of agent behavior on customer sentiment and a way to provide meaningful coaching to their teams. 

Read on for five best practices to improve your contact center’s approach to call scoring so your organization’s supervisors and leaders can deliver better coaching to your agents and better service to your customers.

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5 best practices for effective call scoring

What's the secret to turning call scoring from a rudimentary checklist exercise into a transformative coaching tool? Here are the top five best practices that are essential for contact center and QA leaders to know.

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1. Establish clear evaluation criteria and relevant KPIs

It’s important to first establish clear and relevant evaluation criteria for scoring tied to your business goals and customer experience outcomes. When evaluating and scoring calls,  consider key performance indicators (KPIs) like average handle time, customer satisfaction, and first call resolution rate, and incorporate any agent behaviors that impact these KPIs into your scorecard. A set of clear criteria ensures your team is focusing on the aspects of a call that truly matter to your contact center and the organization’s mission. 

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2. Weight your QA items to reflect business priorities

Once you’ve decided on your evaluation criteria, you’ll need to decide what weight these items carry within the QA scorecard. Consider the impact each item has on business objectives and outcomes. For example, adding a QA scorecard item for “Did the agent disconnect the call before the customer?” is not as impactful to first call resolution in comparison to a statement like “Did the agent ask the customer if there was anything else they could assist with before closing?”  Therefore, the latter should carry a higher weight in the overall scorecard, as it would more heavily impact overall business objectives and priorities.

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3. Hold call calibration sessions 

Once your QA scorecard is in place, it’s important to regularly calibrate and evaluate the effectiveness of your call scoring. A good cadence for call calibration is once a month or any time there are changes made to QA metrics or call center KPIs. This involves meeting with contact center and quality assurance leaders to review and discuss the results of call evaluations and ensure they align with business goals. Call calibration sessions allow for open communication and transparency, helping to identify any discrepancies or areas for improvement in the QA process.

During these sessions, it’s also important to gather feedback from agents on their experience with the QA process. Agents are on the front lines interacting with customers daily, so their input can be valuable in identifying any gaps or pain points in the evaluation criteria. This feedback can then be used to make adjustments to the call scoring criteria as needed.

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4. Automate objective QA criteria to score 100% of interactions

A huge advantage of automated call scoring is its potential to automate objective QA criteria on your scorecard. This enables you to score 100% of your calls and uncover deeper insights into agent performance and improvement. Use the data you collect during evaluations not just to pat great performers on the back, but to construct targeted training that will improve the performance of your whole team.

Don’t let call scoring become a set-it-and-forget-it activity. Integrate it into your call center's overall quality assurance efforts, and keep updating it to reflect any changes in your business's goals or operating environment. Remember, a well-evaluated call touches on not only the customer experience but also your call center's adherence to compliance and regulatory standards.

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Going beyond basic call scoring

Call scoring becomes truly powerful when it helps contact center and QA leaders harness insights that can make a lasting business impact. This is best exemplified through the use of AI-powered QA platforms like Tethr, which allow you to automate quality and call scoring by delving into the words used in customer conversations. These platforms not only increase the accuracy and reach of your call scoring efforts but also broaden the scope of insights into each interaction.

Using a conversation intelligence platform like Tethr, you can gather a comprehensive and continuous flow of data about your contact center performance directly from all of the interactions taking place. With custom QA scoring, the Tethr Effort Index, and CSATai (Tethr’s proprietary predictive CSAT scoring model), you no longer find yourself at the mercy of limited data samples or manual analysis. CSATai and Tethr’s other customizable scoring models can complement your existing scoring criteria, giving another perspective on performance and quality. This gives you a 360-degree view of your contact center’s performance at scale. Integrating platforms like Tethr into your call scoring process can help you provide efficient agent training that isn’t just about scorecard checkboxes but about measurable positive performance and growth.


Ultimately, successful call scoring is about more than the numbers on a spreadsheet; it's about your agents and the customers they serve. By implementing these best practices and leveraging QA automation technology, your contact center can transform call scoring into an invaluable process that nurtures a culture of excellence and continuous improvement for agents.

It’s time call center and QA leaders take call scoring to the next level. Dive deeper, transform more conversations, and watch as your agents step up their customer service delivery. Call scoring informed by interaction insights doesn’t just make successful calls, but enables meaningful and memorable customer experiences that support organizational growth.

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