When you first hear about call center monitoring, what comes to mind? It should be learning and training. But, often, we associate it with that pesky hold message — “We may record your call for training and monitoring purposes.”
What a lot of callers don’t know is that sometimes this monitoring is happening in real-time and there’s an entire analytics engine providing comprehensive data.
In this post, we’ll explore what is possible with call center monitoring and introduce some tools and tactics to add to your training program.
What is call center monitoring?
Call center monitoring is a practice of listening to sales or support agent calls in real-time or after-the-matter to check how well the call was handled. The practice of call center monitoring is essential to improve how agents communicate with your customers.
Call Center Monitoring = listening to sales or support calls in real-time or recorded
3 benefits of real-time monitoring
- Supervisors can jump in & help struggling agents
- Junior agents get hands-on learning
- Customers get help immediately, no follow-up needed
- More focused on immediate solutions for the customer
3 benefits of recorded call monitoring
- Easier to compare to your benchmark metrics
- Can be used to create agent performance scorecards
- Easier to identify gaps in agent knowledge or skills
- More focused on long term business improvement
To continuously improve your customer experience, you should assess how your agents are performing on a regular basis. You might do this yourself or it might be the responsibility of supervisors or senior agents. Or, you can use technology to manage call center monitoring for you.
But, it’s no good if your agents follow your script perfectly but don’t help your customers. This is where humans monitoring humans have a one-up over automated checks.
Making sure agents and customers are on the same wavelength ensures every party is satisfied. Let’s dig into tools that help with quality monitoring.
3 tools to help with real-time call center monitoring
Quality monitoring is one of the primary reasons to use call center monitoring. Better quality calls feed into your wider customer experience program.
TLDR: high quality calls = a better customer experience.
Here are some practical recommendations to consider when starting a call monitoring program for the first time.
- Live monitoring
Supervisors and managers can listen to live calls without interrupting the agent or caller. You can either select a call/agent to listen to at random or schedule live listening based on training and feedback.
Live monitoring ensures customers who are struggling to get their query resolved get help from supervisors jumping into calls.
Once listening, supervisors can take over the call or provide coaching to the agent without your customer hearing. This is often preferred as your agents feel helped rather than undermined.
Agents have the option to flag when they need help so supervisors can join difficult calls.
In comparison to standard call recording, live monitoring allows you to access supervisor features like call barge and call whisper.
Check for access to these supervisor tools when evaluating call center software.
- Peer to peer listening
It’s not only supervisors who can be involved in monitoring programs. Often, call centers “buddy-up” a senior and junior agent.
By pairing peers together, each agent gets to learn from people with relatable experiences serving your customers each day. Training from supervisors and formal courses is great. But nobody knows your customer like you.
For example, in a typical setup, your junior agent sits with the senior agent to learn how they deal with different types of calls. It may be impractical in tight office spaces or when agents are working from home, but with the right call monitoring software, it’s also possible for agents to buddy up remotely.
With access to monitoring tools, your junior agent can listen in to your senior agent’s calls from anywhere. Likewise, your senior agent can coach during live calls when your junior agents are handling their first calls.
- Group training
On a more broad scale, group training provides you the opportunity to get everyone together to listen to live or recorded calls.
The last thing agents want when dealing with sensitive customers is the fear of having their peers listening in case they make a mistake. It’s unhelpful to add unnecessary stress in an already pressurized environment.
A better option for group training is listening back to calls after the matter. You can cherry-pick calls that have different aspects as good and bad quality examples.
Here, you can also ensure everybody is aligned to your customer experience strategy. When everybody is singing from the same hymn sheet, customers get consistent help no matter the agent or channel.
Tools to help with after-the-matter customer service coaching
When assessing customer satisfaction, you may need to listen back to calls your customers flag as bad experiences or exceptional customer service.
For example, you may find a call where an agent took an angry customers and turned the situation into an upsale. Or the polar opposite may be true. An agent might have been pushing a sale too hard and upset your happy customer.
Unlike in real-time quality monitoring, you no longer have the opportunity to remedy the call in progress. But, you do have access to the call recording almost as soon as the call completes.
You can look for metrics that stand out (like longer than your average handle time) and dive into why a resolution took so much time to reach. This, and other benchmarks, can be used to identify which calls should be reviewed. Use these to inform agent scorecards and further training.
Once you start, you’ll soon see these feed into a continuous customer experience program.
When reviewing agent scorecards, you might see clear indicators of gaps in agent knowledge or skills. To set yourself up to catch these early, design an agent evaluation template specifically for which metrics you want to improve.
Where to start with call center monitoring software
First of all, make sure you know what metrics and KPIs you’re measuring. When you know what you are striving to achieve, you can work out how to use call center monitoring best. And then update your agent evaluation forms and templates with those KPIs.
Finally, make sure that your KPI metrics match the customer goals (what the customer is trying to achieve by contacting your support team) so agents and customers work together to find outcomes. (Less take and more give.)
To help get set up with call center monitoring, get started with Nextiva Call Center.