Call center monitoring: How to benefit your customers and your team
Call center monitoring is the continuous process of data collection, analysis, and feedback. First, you gather data pertaining to your call centre’s performance (employee efficiency, customer attrition, speediness of execution, etc.), then gain insight from it, and then implement change relative to that insight. Finally, you start over from the top.
A successful call center monitoring strategy directly affects customer satisfaction, employee retention, and your bottom line. Nevertheless, call center monitoring can be tricky to put into place. This guide will help you navigate the implementation of a functional call center monitoring strategy, both for your business and for your team.
What is call center monitoring?
The practice of call center monitoring can apply to both outbound and inbound call centers. Likewise, it can track the performance of human agents as well as the overarching quality of the calls themselves. This means that call center monitoring can affect your team’s happiness, your customers’ satisfaction, and your business’ well-being.
Though speech recognition software is growing by leaps and bounds, most call center monitoring is still performed by humans. The recording process is handled by dedicated software, but the analysis and decision-making are more often than not performed by professional data analysts. The analysts can be employees themselves, or a part of an external consulting firm. The latter option is often regarded as more impartial.
However, as virtual call center software becomes more accessible and more inclusive, the process is decreasingly restricted to large call centers with dedicated departments. For instance, call center phone solutions are becoming lighter, more agile, and available even to companies with very small call centers. Since this software often comes equipped with monitoring capabilities showcased in a unified and intuitive interface, even smaller call center managers are able to take advantage of the benefits of call center monitoring.
How to take advantage of call center monitoring
When it comes to the success of your operation, call center monitoring can prove essential. In order to highlight this, let’s look at some advantages of the practice.
Improve service quality
The main goal of any call center monitoring strategy is to ameliorate your call centre’s performance. While this can mean quantitative improvement, such as taking more calls, fielding more support issues, or closing more sales, you could also concern yourself with qualitative improvement. For instance:
- First call resolution is an indicator of the ease with which callers obtain a solution to an issue. This is valuable insight, since the less effort the customer expends whilst dealing with your business, the more likely they are to continue to do so.
- Call abandonment rate and/or average wait time factor into the performance of your team, but also give you an indication of customer satisfaction. No one enjoys waiting on hold, and high call abandonment is a symptom of that.
- Average time to respond to a missed call will also give you a sense of your ability to get back to customers and prospects in a timely fashion. Missed calls are a tremendous drain on any business’ bottom line so it’s clever to monitor this particular metric to gain an idea of your service’s quality and your potential for growth.
These metrics don’t form an exhaustive list. They are merely examples of taking a more qualitative approach to call center monitoring, in order to raise your level of service.
Better the customer experience
By improving your quality of service, you’ll cultivate customer satisfaction by bettering their experience. Your team’s phone presence has a direct correlation with the contentment of your customers, since it affects their experience of dealing with your business.
The customer experience is the newest competitive battlefield. We mentioned earlier saving your customers effort, but it’s also important to give them quick solutions to their problems, quickly answer questions, and swiftly provide counsel.
One good standard to consider here is the articulation of two metrics: Net Promoter Score and Average Length of Call. This will expose both the efficiency of your team, and the direct result of the interaction for the customer. Monitor the time it takes for Call Routing to direct callers to an available agent, and keep in mind the other markers of customer satisfaction.
These are examples of how call center monitoring can help you align your business objectives with your customers’ needs by improving their experience of your company. The most important aspect of monitoring for the customer experience is consistency: the right strategy will allow you to make sure that, once a certain level of service quality is achieved by your team, it can also be maintained.
Reduce employee turnover
Employee attrition is a plague for many call centers. Given the cost in both time and money of looking for suitable hires, vetting them, and training them, any means of reducing turnover is valuable.
We say that monitoring can give you insight on your employees’ performance and the customers’ reaction, but it can also give you a feel for your team’s morale and skill level. By monitoring your team’s “soft” and “hard” skills, strengths, and weaknesses, you can tailor your training material to your team’s needs and your business’ objectives.
Agent onboarding and regular training booster shots are absolutely necessary to empowering agents and reducing their chances of attrition. Call center monitoring helps managers and trainers pinpoint areas in which their agents are struggling, and involve them in the process of monitoring.
Challenges facing a successful call center monitoring strategy
Naturally, there aren’t just advantages to call center monitoring. Whether you’re refining your process or starting out, it’s tricky to pull off. This is mainly due to two pitfalls: handling large amounts of data, and bringing your team on board.
First, the activity of your call center and the measurement of its performance involve a tremendous amount of data. Not all metrics are equal, and not all strategies will work. Second, the implementation of call center monitoring will quite possibly put off your team, due to pejorative connotations attributed to monitoring: surveillance, secrecy, the worry of being caught making a mistake. Let’s explore these two main challenges to your call center monitoring strategy, and devise ways to overcome them.
How to handle the data weight
The first hurdle mentioned above is the collection and analysis of a potentially intimidating and unwieldy amount of data. Here are tips on narrowing your focus to what’s truly useful and beneficial to your business and your strategy.
Set priorities and define success
Before even setting out to implement a call center monitoring strategy, you need a game plan. Define what success will entail for your business, taking into account your specific goals, strengths, and weaknesses. Think in terms of what you wish to START doing, STOP doing, and CONTINUE doing.
It can be helpful to look into benchmarking studies, to see how your business measures up to others, similar in size, activity, or function. If you don’t clearly outline what you hope to achieve and what you wish to avoid, it’ll be that much harder to pick the right criteria to examine, let alone make any progress.
Identify your Key Performance Indicators
We touched upon this earlier, giving examples of winning KPI combinations. The previous step outlined the need for a game plan. Once that’s sorted, you’ll know which KPIs to track in order to yield the most valuable and actionable insight.
You cannot hope to track all the indicators at once. It would be too time-consuming for human analysts, and the volume of obtained data would be completely useless to examine. You’d miss the forest for the trees. Create a scorecard of performance aspirations and quality control, and focus on one or two KPIs for each study period.
Get the right software
Without the right tool, your call center monitoring strategy won’t be as efficient as it could be. When picking the right monitoring software, bear in mind:
- Does this software have the right features for your activity/your size/the use you wish to make of it?
- Is it easy and intuitive to use, or will you have to spend time teaching your staff to get the most of it?
- Will it smoothly scale with your business? Call centers change often, in both staff and call volume.
- Is the cost appropriate for your budget?
- Is the security adequate for your customers?
Don’t analyse every call, but all types of calls
Much like it won’t be feasible to track every performance indicator, it would be a waste of energy to record every call. Call center monitoring software may be able to record an almost unlimited volume of calls, but human analysts cannot hope to keep up.
So when picking which calls to record, think of their potential for didactic value. Record outlier calls that:
- went very well (in order to replicate the same success),
- went very poorly (to avoid repeating mistakes),
- ran very long,
- were very short,
- involved multiple transfers (to examine your routing system, or your team’s skillset),
- involved high-value customers.
However, make sure to record the entirety of every selected call. This is crucial to placing mistakes and good calls within their proper context for a fair and constructive evaluation.
Stay in the loop
The loop of collection, analysis, feedback, implementation should be continuous and in constant evolution. Call center monitoring allows you to find out in real or delayed time what the effect of your decisions are on your team and your customers.
Therefore, it’s crucial to keep testing new things, and strive to evolve alongside your client base. Don’t get comfortable. In order to pull this off, you’ll need an empowered and engaged team. Which brings us to the next point.
How to painlessly involve your team in call center monitoring
In order to pull off successful call center monitoring, you’ll need to involve your team in the entire process. Constantly evaluating, changing, and correcting is a group effort. So put everyone on your side.
Don’t make it a chore
The first reaction you may note from your team when the subject of call center monitoring is raised may well be dismay. Make sure that monitoring doesn’t hinder productivity by involving your whole team in making the process non-judgemental.
As a manager, remember to be involved. Jump in to calls if need be, provide additional training sessions. Position yourself as an ally and resource in your agents bid for improvement, rather than as a disciplinary figure.
Let your team have a voice
One way to involve your team is to give them a voice in the decision of what their eventual success will look like. Let your agents participate in the draft of scorecards, call scripts, and evaluation guidelines.
During evaluations and training sessions, encourage your team members to self-evaluate, or buddy up, or request help.
As much as possible, try to disprove the conception of call center monitoring as punitive. Evaluate agents by starting from zero and adding points for good performance rather than starting from 100 and docking points for errors.
Provide clear goals for your team, display KPI objectives to all, and perhaps even incentivise performance. Set a clear link between attaining defined goals, and obtaining a positive result.
These tips should help your agents get on board with call center monitoring, and let your whole team work as one towards a common goal.
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