What is Quality Monitoring for Call Centers?
Given its ubiquitous use in marketing copy, journalism and professional papers focused on the call center industry, one would think there was already a clear and mutually agreed upon definition for the term “Quality Monitoring.”
However, following a quick survey of various websites and a few search engine inquiries, it becomes clear that this is not the case. There are plenty of blogs and whitepapers delving into the benefits of quality monitoring and its challenges, but few seem interested in clarifying the term before diving into their talking points.
The Monet definition of quality monitoring is this: the integration of call monitoring (or recording) and quality assurance, to improve call center efficiency and customer satisfaction.
The next question is, “What is the best and most cost-efficient way to achieve this goal?”
While some call centers still monitor calls with onsite personnel, call recording software provides a much better solution. When a supervisor is physically monitoring a customer engagement, there is no way to know for certain if the agent’s performance is better than usual, because he or she is more focused during this scrutiny, or worse than usual because such intimate, direct monitoring can be unsettling.
Call recording software allows for random call monitoring, so the agent will never know which calls are being reviewed. Supervisors thus gain a window on the entire operation and are assured of reviewing a typical encounter between agent and customer.
However, call centers that introduce call monitoring should do so in a way that is open to agent feedback, and addresses any concerns about a “Big Brother” presence designed to catch them doing something wrong. It should be stressed that monitoring benefits both agents and customers.
Quality Assurance introduces a grading component into the call monitoring process. Recorded calls are randomly selected and measured against the guidelines and procedures at the call center.
Many of these are defined as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), such as how quickly the caller can reach a call center, how quickly they can reach an agent, how quickly their issue can be resolved and the call closed, and how long they wait on hold during a call.
Additional quality issues include agent courtesy, empathy with a dissatisfied customer, and the ability to follow procedures. While these will be more subjective than numbers-based KPIs, they are just as important to a successful call center. Best practices on these elements should be clearly defined so they can be graded accurately during a call monitoring session.
Quality Monitoring and Scorecards
The process of quality monitoring begins with the creation of a quality assurance scorecard that will be used to measure agent demeanor and performance as related to KPIs. This should be a company-wide process involving managers, supervisors, agents and even customers (through surveys ranking what is most important to them). If you don’t know what constitutes a “good” call vs. a “bad” call, this is one place to start.
Now the call review process can begin. Score each call based on the scorecard. Everyone involved in scoring needs to periodically evaluate the same call and compare scores to make sure scoring is standardized. Don’t expect universal agreement out of the gate – opinions on qualitative elements of each call may vary greatly, especially in the first few monitoring sessions. As goals become better defined, it will become easier to reach a consensus.
Scorecards are then analyzed to provide a clear picture of how well each agent and the call center as a whole is doing, and where additional training is needed. It also highlights where changes may be necessary to the scripts the sales team follows or to the procedures now in place. Even a small change in greeting or the insertion of a positive phrase or upsell effort can make a big difference.
Avoiding Feedback Fireworks
When it’s time to discuss the results of a quality assurance program with an agent, this is where he or she will worry that their worst fears will be realized. But this should be a supportive process that doles out encouragement along with criticism. Some call centers downplay one-to-one feedback in favor of group sessions, where managers and agents can share their observations and help each other.
When individual coaching is necessary, make sure this task is assigned to someone with the ability to effectively communicate ideas and skills. After the first few coaching sessions, managers should also begin to encourage agent self-evaluation, which saves time for managers and engenders a sense of trust and responsibility in the employee.
Don’t focus only on the negative; feedback sessions should also reward outstanding agents with company recognition, and perhaps a gift certificate or some other token of acknowledgment.
Integration: The Key to Successful Quality Monitoring
Quality monitoring works best when all the tools deployed for its achievement are both automated and integrated, including:
- Call assessment and playback
- Audio and video screen capturing
- Evaluation questionnaires
- Detailed reporting
- Coaching and training tools
When these features work together, the result is a system that increases productivity and improves adherence to corporate procedures, while also providing managers and supervisors with more time to focus on training and other techniques to further improve customer service and satisfaction.
Quality Monitoring from the Cloud
Several diverse components contribute to quality monitoring. So the best QM solution would be one that encompasses all of these components from the same source.
Monet Quality enhances quality assurance to deliver unprecedented insight into quality monitoring, performance trends and agent training needs.
Monet Quality includes:
- Call recording and playback
- Quality scorecards
- Customizable questionnaires
- Live monitoring
- Screen capturing
- Audit trail
- File management/archiving
And since this is a cloud-based service, the transition is faster while the costs are lower than traditional hardware and software products.
The goal of quality monitoring is to identify calls that fail to meet pre-defined standards and get to the root cause of why. The information captured by the metrics of a call center monitoring program are essential to the cost-effective operation of the call center and the collection of vital customer feedback on quality, performance, and service.
Using call recording and quality monitoring tools, such as those included in Monet Quality, it is possible to capture not only the call itself but the activity that took place on the agent’s screen and score 100% of these interactions, giving an accurate and comprehensive view of agent, team, and overall contact center performance. Fore more information, please download our Quality Assurance Strategy whitepaper.
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