“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”
Peter Drucker, US Business Hall of Fame
The Voiptime Cloud company will show you that having 5 or 500 employees and more is so much easy to monitor. Who are we to say what to do? First of all, we’ve been around for more than a decade in the call center software market. Here, is where you can contact us now.
And we have a lot of things to share with you, including info about call center monitoring software. Despite that, we're constantly furnishing the small and mid-sized businesses with top-notch tools for inbound and outbound calls of any scale. Our idea is to make the life of entrepreneurs easy by providing independent counsel on the various topics in this industry.
Let's show you how to monitor call center agents fairly easily and consistently for the bigger profits.
There’s a universal principle on what is expected from the call center?
Before we'll talk about the phone call monitoring software, let's emphasize the real situation in the industry. It's essential to react in a way based on customers' expectations from the call centers around the globe. As one of the best business consultants in America, James C. Collins noticed “Good is the enemy of great”. In short, a good call center allows to customers achieve what they want and consequently profit. The full story sounds as follows.
Firstly, as a call center manager or a head of a call center department apply this rule. Focus on the actual results of conversations between the contact center agent and the customer.
Whether you’re in sales or customer support, the more emphasis on the agent's actions moved towards the results that are relevant for both the customer and business, the better agent performance and competitiveness of the call center. And remember that the long-term positive effect after the conversation is outperforming the short-term and vague decisions.
Now, talking about results, you seek only two kinds of customer satisfaction. First of all, they look for the practical and then emotional satisfaction of their needs. In your call center, the practical value stems from customer support issues, sales pitching, lead generating, settling down the escalation, etc. Surely to know what's happening, you'll use the call monitoring features of the wide range.
A call center’s practical results stem from:
Quick understanding of what customers want and need. That's regarded by the sales as well as the customer support teams. Agents or sales representatives must catch the gist and find the solution.
Teamwork. Frankly, a few decades ago, the picture was pretty much the same. Those call center teams that worked in tune with each other outperform the majority of the me-too competitors. While teams with the rules of the jungle usually fail or scratch the surface.
You don't have to be around all the time or even in the one office with agents
Call monitoring software gives you the option to check your agents’ activity, 100% remotely, yet not only that. There're plenty of principal solutions you need to create and check from time to time. And here's they are.
Once you’ve reached the main objective, move to the emotional one. Make yourself and your agents more gentle, affable, personable, understanding, and polite. Turn aggravation into calmness just with a few friendly phrases.
The professionalism of agents and call center supervisors means literally having enough knowledge on the subject and taking the responsibility for the decisions. Thus if someone commits mistakes they need to solve them as soon as possible. Below you'll discover exactly how call center monitoring strategy and call center quality monitoring programs can help.
One of the indications of taking responsibility is the use of the active voice instead of the passive. For example: “We haven’t delivered your product yet”, this is the active voice. And look at this sample: “Your product was not delivered at the date”, and this is the passive one. Take a look:
Confidence. Also notice that customers are more satisfied when you have strong confidence in your actions. Because confident people always achieve much more positive responses. If you lack confidence in some situations, at least be brave to face the challenge with everything you have. And confidence will come.
Knowledge base. Knowledge is the power for call center agents and the solid ground for higher profit. In fact, the more agents know about products and services, customer queries, solutions, and problems, the more revenue each of them generates for their call centers. Hint: You can’t avoid studying your call center’s niche, whether you’re in sales or customer support. The sooner you recognize it, the better for you.
Thus the user of the active voice means that you’re taking the responsibility, and customers appreciate it, even if you’re thinking that they’re not. Customers will feel that you care about their needs and reward you with even more.
On the other hand, using the passive voice is an attempt (mostly subconsciously) to escape responsibility. And as you may guess, customers feel it and blame you for it consciously. So be professional and make your employees be the same.
Yes, the top call center teams are those who mix the practical results, professionalism, and emotional-friendly attitude. Indeed, this kind of mixing worked for decades ago works now and will work for centuries ahead.
Plus, it increases the revenue of your financial potential by an order of magnitude. Thus make customers achieve the desired result and additional meaning of the feeling alive human being.
But the practical results come first, remember that so strongly, repeat this to yourself and your agents day after day, until this principle will be embedded in your subconscious.
Because with the emotional imperfection you can walk away, yet the practical incompetence will be punished by the customers, financial and image penalties.
Why does customer service quality monitoring matter?
Let’s face it, everyone, whether it’s a contact center manager, supervisor, or contact center agent, commits the mistakes, and this is not the problem. The problem is to fix mistakes with the zest and speed once they appear.
So if the senior person in the call center sees the mistakes through the monitoring, they can quickly educate employees on how to avoid them and deliver more value. Let’s say an employee committed mistakes yet the senior person can fix their guidance-system of to improve the future cases.
Notice that the lack of contact center quality monitoring and effective response to the problems, in the 99,9% of call centers, resulted in financial losses.
So, if you want astonishing agent performance, your first performance goal is to slash illusions of what your call center really is. Then, steady and confidently fix the weak sides by making them strong. Unfortunately, the majority of managers can’t fix the problem because they lack the real picture of what’s going on.
And once they go astray from the real picture, productivity, revenue, competitiveness, brand image, and numerous other important factors go down. Another positive effect is the reduction of the escalations to the manager or supervisor. The agent just settle the matter with their own efforts.
The Voiptime Cloud gladly share tips on how to quickly fix issues regarding monitoring and improve them in the long haul. Moreover, will tell you exactly how remote cloud-based call center solutions can help.
What goals and call center KPIs have paramount importance?
Mainly your concern is the growth of the company’s revenue by boosting the productivity and quality of customer interactions.
Even if your growth is slightly better today than in the previous year, you’re bound to score even more. The revenue velocity is the prime goal because it enables you to pay salaries, hire new employees and enlarge competitiveness.
One of the proven ways for reaching the revenue growth of the Key Performance Indicator (KPI) metrics. It sets the concrete agent’s activities measurements, and you simply observe the progress or the lack of it in the agent’s calling routines.
Since most modern call centers are cloud-based, call center KPIs are normally measured automatically using call center reporting features and monitored by real people with quality monitoring features.
Take a look at the metrics that require the most of your attention:
- Customer efforts. The number of customer calls conducted by the same individual in order to achieve one or similar results. The low effort from the customer’s side is 1 call per issue or similar issue. The hard effort is something between 3, 4, or more customer calls. Strive for the lowest possible customer effort score. Customers will achieve their objectives faster while you free up the agent’s time on the important tasks.
- First call resolution (FCR). It indicates precisely what it sounds like. Theoretically, all managers know that each conversation must end up with the final result. Yet the vast majority of call centers' customer loyalty suffers because they fail to provide a solution from the very beginning and are forced to call people over and over.
- Customer service call monitoring. The golden customer service standards in the industry suggest this: the average speed to answer or pick up 80% of calls must be in frames of 20 seconds after starting ringing. The idea is that 20 seconds is the time when your agents have enough time to connect with the live person without excess exhaustion during the shift. Now, picking up 80% of calls in 15 or 10 seconds can be stressful because agents are not always free. And even not necessary.
Plus, if you’ll move the service level towards 80% of answering within 30 seconds, it’s still a good enough service level. However, if you’ll force to wait in the queue longer. Then the percentage of call drops starts to rise. So, keep quality standard around 20 seconds or at least 35-40 at max.
- Abandonment call rate (ACR). Your outbound calls should always reach the customer before they drop. One of the reasons is that customers are frustrated with answering the call and waiting for someone.
The other reason is that in the US, Canada, UK, and other Western Europe countries, there are legal limits regarding the ACR that you need to comply with.
So, track down the ACR increasing pattern in your call center, whether your agents are too slow, you have not enough agents or software initiated too many calls at a time, or whatever. And make the ACR rate the exception, not the rule, in your call center.
- On-hold time. A little bit tricky metric. From one of the perspectives, the on-hold time must be a minimum because people don’t like to wait. On the other hand, if agents have a lack of time for the solution, they will make mistakes, deliver irrelevant information, or both of the issues at a time.
The solution is to quickly tackle the occasional issues and requests. While challenging, solves steadily and with patience, even if large chunks of time are necessary. As we mentioned above, the customer can forget the lack of emotional imperfection, yet practical incompetence is the reason for blame.
- Average handle time (AHT). The same story as with the on-hold timing yet the only rule is that you need to take AHT into the account when your queue line is increasing.
So if you have a lot of people waiting in the queue, you are forced to find solutions faster to reduce AHTs. Remember that the quality of solutions mustn’t decrease because of the long queue to eliminate callbacks on the same issues. Thus strive to reduce the AHT without losing the quality of the service.
- Call transfers. Yes, people aren’t like to be transferred from one agent to another. And with each transfer, they will be more skeptical and frustrated.
But sometimes, you’re forced to transfer because you need to put the customer to the relevant right agent. The solution is to organize your automatic call distribution (ACD) system wisely so people can reach the relevant departments or agents at once.
These are the main KPI metrics that are the most from actionable insight, and you need to constantly monitor and when necessary improve them.
What call center teams are starving from the monitoring?
Did you know the fact that the technical and customer support teams are the most frequent subject of the monitoring? And sales, surveys, fundraising, and quality assurance team achieve more from the direct example of experienced colleagues or managers.
However, neither the top teams nor the less experienced ones can fully operate, and deliver the constant cash without the planned, most importantly, real-time monitoring. Thus small and mid-sized businesses require constant and planned call center monitoring due to the heavy competition. But, the enterprise-sized call centers start to fail once the managers decide that everything is OK.
Seeing the problem must result in the live coaching session
Thus, call center employees are starving because of the deficit of contact center quality monitoring and, as a result, manager’s assistance or training purposes. Because once managers highlight the problem they need to respond to help solve the problem. Now, take a look at each monitoring feature:
Improving the service quality
If you set the right KPIs and take the time to ensure that the goals are met, you'll achieve better call center performance. You'll see both quantitative (the number of answered calls, the number of sales, etc.) and qualitative (first call resolution, abandoned calls rate, average wait time, etc.) improvements, which will lead to at least one major positive outcome - much higher service quality.
Bettering the customer experience
To reach a positive customer experience just follow rules listed below. As we've mentioned earlier, the call center is the face of your business. It's the single biggest factor that will affect what people think about your company. By optimizing service quality and monitoring the work of your agents. You make sure they adhere to the quality standard.
Reducing employee turnover
Unfortunately, high employee turnover is a serious problem for a lot of call centers. If combined with other measures, quality monitoring can help you improve agent performance and give them a sense of empowerment and job satisfaction. But the call center monitoring strategy and engaging training sessions help to boost employee morale.
What are the top call center monitoring features?
The first real-time monitoring sample is connecting to the call through one of the modes, such as silent mode, whisper, or barging in.
Modes for connecting to a call
Silent mode means exactly how it sounds. This call center call quality monitoring looks as follows. You just connect to the agent that is unaware of your attendance, can’t see you through the interface, can’t hear you. Yet you can hear what exactly the agents are saying.
Whisper mode. One of the favorite manager’s modes for the additional training of agents. This feature allows you to talk to the agent during the conversation with the customer. And the agent will hear you and the customer not.
Barging in. This is the type of conference mode when your agent, as well as a caller, hears you loud and clear.
Online monitoring of the whole call center’s agents
Here you can observe valuable insight such as how many agents are online, their current statuses, incoming or outgoing calls, and many more.
An additional window of information about agents
Here you can see the variety of the working activities in the detail regarding the calling, wrapping up, logging in, logging out, etc.
Here’s what the audio-recording statistic looks like.
All of the statistics for monitoring are provided with the date and time marks for easy search. The statistical data was stored for 12 months. You can return to the necessary calling activity, using the interface’s calendar and dive into the statistic or audio recording file.
And all of these and some other monitoring features you can have now by contacting us.
Call Center Quality Monitoring Process - How Do You Start?
Hey, implementing quality monitoring in your call center is not difficult as it may seem. Take a look at some steps you can use as a guideline if you're just starting out:
- Create a scorecard. It's a general report that tracks the performance of your selected call center KPIs and compares it with your goals. With the help of a scorecard, you'll be able to monitor the success and failure of your team's efforts.
- Start listening to calls. You can join the live conversation in call whispering or call barging mode if you want to add the elements of coaching into the process. The calls are recorded anyway so it's also possible to listen to them later.
- Check in with the goals. Use the scorecard developed earlier to see whether your call center team meets the company objectives. Once you determine the weak spots, you can take action to improve the situation.
- Analyze the obtained data. The software will provide you with sufficient data to evaluate the work of the entire call center and see how well it's doing. Based on that feedback, you might notice that some things need to be optimized or changed.
How to improve your agent monitoring?
There's always room for better call center improvement strategies. If you are not new to quality monitoring, check out some tips on how to narrow down your focus to the factors that really matter and get the most out of your call center.
Define success for your organization
Do you know what? As a manager or CEO, you’re the first who either gets the credit or the blame for the call center’s agents' success. Why? Because you are the starting point from which agents start to evaluate their performance.
If you have low-professional requirements so your agents will have low performance. And vice versa, the high-professional requirements triggers attract only the best.
Secondly and most importantly you should imply the idea of the final extent of your business and success. Literally, you need to set a mark of what your call center delivers. Let’s say you’re a real estate or insurance agency.
And you set the mark that your call center generates 1 million dollars of the net profit per year. Believe it or not, you can reach the 1 million net revenue, but not more. If you set 5 million, 10 million, etc., you can reach only what you’re striving for. No more of that. So, why not aim for the highest goals instead of bragging with realistic or unrealistic thoughts.
Unrealistic, perhaps you say. Well, you know if you study the Fortune 500, or Fortune 100 companies, you’d know that CEOs of these companies always marked unrealistic results. And eventually, they rich it. Sooner or later. If not go broke in the middle of the path.
Or perhaps your call center is the one that tackles the outsourced calling activities. Then mark your business goal as working for the Fortune 100 companies. And you’ll see that slowly you get to the goal.
As a result, the higher goal the manager or CEO of the company mark, the better the call center’s employees is the necessary and better performance they must deliver.
The basis of contact center analytics is your KPIs
Naturally, measure one of a few important metrics at a time. Don’t rush to set all of the possible or the vast majority of metrics. It would be too resource-heavy for your company, and it’s unnecessary.
Instead, choose to monitor the metrics that make sense for your business, and focusing on a few KPIs for a particular study period is enough. Here’s one important point we need to highlight anyway – don’t stop, you never stop.
Evenly after you determine the KPIs in your initial scorecard, you still need to go back to these metrics from time to time and check whether they align with the goals.
You’ll notice down the road that some of the KPIs are not relevant anymore. While other metrics are necessary. Finally, involve your entire team in this process. It will help you a lot in forming a positive company culture.
The right call center quality monitoring software can make a real difference and help your team achieve their goals much faster.
Besides, many organizations move their call centers to the cloud because modern contact center solutions like Voiptime Cloud have cloud-based call center solutions that are packed with useful features for maximizing the performance of your agents.
Some things to keep in mind while choosing the right cloud call center software are:
- Does it have all the features you need?
- Is it scalable? Can it handle your call volumes?
- Is it easy to use? Will it require additional training?
- Does it allow for software integration?
- Is it reliable and secure? Does the vendor provide enough support?
- And last but not least, is it affordable for your budget?
Compare several alternatives, schedule a couple of demos or sign up for free trials. Take time to make the right decision, and it will pay off.
Analyze all types of calls
Just like it's simply unnecessary to track every KPI, it's not feasible to listen to every single call, especially if you have very high call volumes. It would be a total waste of energy and won't bring any positive results. You might still want to record every call and keep it in an archive just in case any controversies arise.
However, you don't need to listen to them all. Rather than analyzing every single call, focus on different types of calls - the ones that might have a didactic value. Some examples are:
- very successful/unsuccessful call;
- very long/ short call;
- a call with several transfers, etc.
This practice is useful as it allows you to single out the best practices, detect common mistakes, and find areas of improvement in the work of your contact center.
Align business goals with customer's needs
It might sound like business 101 advice, but many companies forget about it. Call center quality monitoring is useless if you don't have a clear picture of what's important for your customers and what aspects are worth improving.
The business may suffer if the performance goals aren't synchronized with the customer's needs. For example, choosing Average Handling Time as a crucial KPI metric doesn't make sense for a company if its customers typically require a long detailed explanation.
Use your data to pivot activity
Collect data, analyze it, make improvements, and do it again. Your product or service will evolve, the market will expand, and customer behavior will inevitably change. Your organization will be testing and implementing new things all the time.
These quality monitoring steps should form an endless loop to ensure the ongoing evolution of your business. It might sound simple but in reality, it takes a lot of hard work to keep the process going.
The team should feel empowered and engaged; otherwise, you won't be able to pull it off. Therefore, continuous development should become a part of the company culture.
Involve agents in the monitoring process
Speaking about the company culture, there is no better way to increase employee engagement than actually inviting them to participate in the inner processes. Just like you can ask your agents to participate in choosing the KPIs, you can invite them to join the monitoring process.
It will be easier for them to adapt and accept criticism and suggestions if they understand how they are being evaluated.
Show them the examples of all types of calls and share your findings from the analysis of each. People learn from their experience, but they also understand a lot from observing the success and failure of others.
Your team is everything
“I was asked if I was going to fire an employee who made a mistake that cost the company $600,000. No, I replied, I just spent $600,000 training him. Why would I want somebody to hire his experience?”,
Thomas J. Watson Sr., the founder of IBM.
Even if you haven’t $600,000 to spend on the employee’s education, that doesn’t mean you can’t devote enough time to hiring and agent training.
You see, from the hiring, you invest in your company. That’s why you need to choose employees wisely because in the future you’ll make investments in this person. And the longer the agent work with you, the higher price of your investment.
Thus it’s too bad when employees are quit just because you hired the wrong person.
Remember this in call center monitoring
Let’s face it clearly and straightforwardly: the call center is the image of your company. If customers are satisfied with your agents and satisfied with the results. Then, however, you are around the boatload of cash. And the big deal of cash on a constant basis.
On the other hand, if the vast majority of prospects and customers are discouraged to have any kind of relationship with your company due to the lousy experience.
Then all you can expect is the average level which competitors fairly easily beat and prosper on your failures. If you let us help, we’ll not let that happen.
Call centre monitoring, specifically outbound and inbound campaigns are easy. The setting, and most importantly, reaching goals require your attention, and view of the calling activities and decisions you make on a solid base of facts.
If the unpredicted troubles in a call center occur, you absolutely remotely, within a few clicks observe the situation, listen to the conversation, and go back and forth in the statistical data, if necessary. Conduct planned and unplanned monitoring. Connect the dots of actual and desirable results. And finally, set bold goals and your revenue will soar. Here’s for contact.
First published on 01/08/2020, updated and extended on 06/17/2022