Finish Strong with Your Award of Excellence Results

Whether You Won the Award or Not, There’s Still More to Do

The ATSI Convention is over; the Award of Excellence Winners, announced. Hopefully you returned to the office to celebrate. Or maybe you returned dejected. Regardless of the outcome and your attitude toward it, there’s still more to do. It’s the most important part of the whole program.

The call recordings and judges’ scores are gold. This is the most valuable, comprehensive, and unbiased feedback you’ll get for your answering service’s quality. Don’t dismiss it. Instead mine the ore to find the gold. Here’s how:

Look at Average Scores

Start with the judges scores. Look at the average score for each category. Items with high averages provide a reason to celebrate. You excel in those areas. Make sure you maintain that strength.

Items with low averages suggest areas needing improvement. Pick the lowest area and develop a plan to turn that weakness into a strength. Once completed, repeat the process with the next lowest item. Continue until you’ve addressed them all. As you do this, don’t be discouraged. Every answering service has areas needing improvement.

When you seek to uphold your strengths and correct your weaknesses, you position yourself for a better result next year.

Evaluate Consistency

Looking at statistical averages is a great place to start, but there’s more. Evaluate the consistency of each category. (If you’re into math, this is called standard deviation.) Your clients will subconsciously judge you based on consistency. When you’re consistent they know what to expect, and you meet their expectations every time. However, if you’re inconsistent they have no idea what to expect, and you’ll fall short. Tomorrow’s poor call will negate today’s great one. That’s why consistency is so important.

For example, assume you have an average score of three for a category. If all your scores in that category are three, that means you’re highly consistent. However, if half your scores are fives and the other half are ones, your average is still three, but you’re highly inconsistent. This is bad. Being inconsistent will drive clients away and make extra work for your customer service staff.

Just as with averages, look for categories where you’re inconsistent. Pick the least consistent one, and develop a plan to become consistent. Then repeat the process for the second least consistent category.

Listen to the Recordings

Next, all management and support staff should listen to all recordings. The goal isn’t to critique the judges’ scores or form opinions about individual operators. The intent is to look for trends. If you repeatedly hear a good characteristic, celebrate it. Then make sure it’s reinforced through training and coaching.

Conversely, if you see a less-than-ideal trait repeat itself, look for ways to correct it. Start with coaching for existing operators. Then integrate the correction into training for new employees.

Have a Staff Meeting

Schedule an operator meeting to discuss the results. Celebrate categories where your averages and consistencies are high. Then share areas needing improvement and the steps you’re taking to fix them.

Last, play the recordings of all the good calls, the calls that met or exceeded expectations. Don’t play the other calls that pulled your score down. That will irreparably harm those operators. Seek to help them improve, not hurt them.

Provide Individual Operator Feedback

For each employee who took an Award of Excellence call, meet with them privately to go over their call. Play the recording, and share the judges’ scores. This isn’t a time for the operator to justify themselves or dispute the results. This is a time to celebrate successes and provide encouragement for one key area for the operator to work on. Make this a positive time, and your operators will respond well.


When you get home from the ATSI convention, don’t cast aside your Award of Excellence recordings and scores. They contain valuable information but only if you take time to follow these steps to get the most out of them.

  1. Look at average scores
  2. Evaluate consistency
  3. Listen to recordings
  4. Have a staff meeting
  5. Provide individual operator feedback

If you do this, you’re sure to have better results in next year’s Award of Excellence program. Even more importantly, the quality of your service will increase, and cancellations will decrease. But this will only happen if you take time to analyze the results and act upon them.

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